Support For You When A Loved One Goes Into Rehab

Support For You When A Loved One Goes Into Rehab

It is never easy for you to see someone you love go through an addiction or mental health illness. When they do go into rehab, it can be just as difficult for you. Find out the coping mechanisms you can take to support yourself, when a loved one enters into rehabilitation.

Entering rehab is seldom an easy process. For most addicts or alcoholics, getting into treatment comes at the end of a long and painful struggle with his or her addiction. Often there are mixed feelings from the addict. Do they really want to clean up and face a life without the prop of alcohol and drugs? Often the addict or alcoholic not only faces sobriety, but is accompanied by all the chaotic consequences of using – debt, job loss, health issues – to name but three.

Rehab can be bewildering. Most treatment centres offer in-patient treatment and usually recommend a minimum 28-day stay. There is usually a thorough admission procedure, where the patient can be monitored for withdrawal effects, and if necessary, receive medical attention.

It is common for personal effects to be removed and stored and all mobile phones and laptops taken away. Rehab is an intense process. Most centres believe it is vital for the addict or alcoholic to have no distractions from the serious business of his or her recovery.

What you need to do when a loved one goes into rehab

While the addict or an alcoholic embarks on a structured programme of rehabilitation, and is removed completely from their everyday life, family members and friends seem to have to “just get on with it”. As it is common practice not to make contact with the outside world, the patient’s family can often feel isolated or shut out.

Family members in particular are left dealing with the chaos an addict or alcoholic often leaves behind – bills left unpaid, jobs and contracts left unfulfilled, children, relatives and friends asking awkward questions. This can be an overwhelming experience for the family member. And family members of addicts or alcoholics are often already at breaking point.

For friends, there can be a similar array of difficult feelings. Many friends or colleagues of addicts and alcoholics feel displaced when their friend enters rehab. They may have spent months or years encouraging, cajoling, running around trying to find cures, alternative therapies, anything to help their friend. Sometimes they’ve lent money or lied or covered up and made excuses. Now it might seem that their job has gone and their friend removed.

This is a crucial time for the friend or family member. While all the attention seems to be turned towards the addict or alcoholic entering a treatment programme, it is vital that families and friends find their own support.

“It was such a relief when he finally went in,” says Catherine, from London, a professional in her mid-thirties with two primary school aged children. “I’d spent almost a decade begging him to get help. But when his company offered an immediate admission to treatment, I felt devastated. I had to carry on with work, with the children, and I had no idea what he was up to.”

Most treatment facilities liaise with family members and close friends when a patient is admitted. Making contact with the treatment centre and asking for information can be a very important step for the family and friends to feel included. Admissions team should give an overview of what the patient will be doing for the first few days, and let families know when they can expect to hear from their loved one. They should also give details of or an invitation to the first family support group or meeting.

All good treatment facilities should offer family support groups, open to family members and also friends and colleagues. These can be a lifeline for relatives, who are often bewildered as to how they should be supporting their spouse or friend, as they embark on recovery.

“It was great to have some first-hand information on what to do and what not to do,” says Catherine “but it was especially helpful to hear from other partners and families. No one talks about the huge mix of feelings family members have when a loved one enters rehab.”

She goes on: “I had so much anger towards my husband for all his years of drinking, for all the chaos I had lived with. I even resented him going into treatment,” she says. “I was struggling with the children, the house and the bills and he was suddenly whisked off and all the attention was focused on him.”

Catherine’s feelings are far from unusual. Many family members harbour anger and resentment towards the addict. Family support groups in treatment centres provide a safe forum for these thoughts and feelings to be shared and to be reflected back by other families struggling with the same issues.

Most treatment centres actively encourage friends and family members to go to their own 12-step support groups, such as Al-Anon, or other support services, such as Adfam. These groups not only offer support and identification, but encourage loved ones to adopt a whole new way of living around their newly sober alcoholic or addict.

“I had heard about ‘detaching’ and ‘letting go’ so often before,” says Catherine, “but I had no idea what it really meant. Al-Anon really taught me to keep the focus on myself and not keep obsessing about my partner’s drinking or about his recovery.”

Here are some tips for family members and friends when a loved one enters rehab:

  1. Breathe a sigh of relief – know that your partner, relative or friend is in a safe, specialist environment, where he or she really has the chance to get clean and stay clean.
  2. Engage with the treatment facility – what sort of contact can you expect and when.
  3. Ask what sort of family support programmes the treatment centre offers – when can you go to the first group.
  4. Build your own support network – Al-Anon, Adfam, as well as trusted friends and colleagues.
  5. Be patient with yourself and your feelings – relief and hope are often mixed with anger and resentment.
  6. Encourage the recovering addict or alcoholic to work their own 12-step recovery programme, then step back. We are powerless over another’s recovery, just as we are powerless over another’s addiction or alcoholism.


Nick Conn / 17th October 2018/ Posted in: Latest News

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    Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

    The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

    Medication is often required for alcohol detox. If you are dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is vitally important to seek medical advice prior to stopping. There is a long list of medications used when treating alcohol addiction and the exact medication given to an individual will depend on their needs/medical history. Some of these include;

    • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
    • Lorazepam (Ativan)
    • Diazapam (vailium)

    Librium and Valium are the most commonly used detox medication in the UK. All medication used to help with alcohol detox have been proven to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

    There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

    • Naltrexone
    • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
    • Nalmefene
    • Acamprosate (campral)

    Medication is always required for heroin detox. For someone suffering from heroin addiction, the thought of detoxification (detox) can be exceptionally daunting. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates, such as heroin, can be severe and include pain, vomiting, nausea and shaking.

    There are different ways that heroin detox can be carried out, most usually either ‘maintenance therapy’ or ‘full medical detox’.

    Attempting to switch from heroin to a heroin substitute, usually on a controlled prescription, is known as Maintenance therapy. Subsites used are most often methadone or buprenorphine.

    A full medical detox from heroin will always be carried out in a residential rehab setting and will allow the individual to switch form heroin to a substitute and slowly withdraw completing treatment free of all substances. Someone using a heroin substitute can choose to have a full medical detox at any time, however detoxing substances such a methadone can often add to the length of detox required. Drugs most commonly used to fully detox from heroin are, Subutex, Suboxone and Methadone. Much like alcohol, the exact drugs used will be dependent on the individuals needs/medical history.

    Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

    The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

    Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

    Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

    Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

    *based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

    There is no need for your employer to know that you are seeking help for trauma and addiction unless you choose to involve them with the process. All employers should have a policy that explains what you do if you cannot come to work due to illness – illness to include treating alcohol addiction/treating drug addiction.

    If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

    If you are absent from work for 7 days of less, for example entering rehab for a detoxification (detox) on a Saturday for 7-10 days taking a full week away from work, you can self-certify your illness by letting your employer work you will not be attending work for that period of time. Exactly how an individual would do this would be dependent on a specific companies’ policies on taking sick leave.

    Any time longer than 7 days it is likely an employer will require a note from the individuals GP certifying their sickness and a fit note on return. Most companies have a clearly outlined policy on sickness and receiving sick pay so the exact requirement can vary. A rehab will always be willing to advise on time off work.

    How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

    There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

    Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

    There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

    Local treatment

    Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

    Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

    Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

    Treatment Away

    Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

    As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

    When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

    There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

    Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

    There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

    Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

    Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

    Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

    Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

    Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

    Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

    How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

    The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

    Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

    Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

    Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

    You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

    The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0203 955 7700.

    There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.