When you first go to inpatient treatment, you may have a hard time saying goodbye to your family. It’s natural to be worried about your loved ones and miss them. You may worry about them taking care of themselves while you’re gone, especially if you have children. But your recovery is the best thing you can do for your family. Many people who enter a rehab program want to know: How soon can you see your family after starting treatment?
The exact visitation policies will vary from rehab to rehab. You’ll generally receive information about them during the intake process. Alternatively, you can request information about the policies when speaking to a rehab counselor as you choose the right facility for you. You can expect to need a few days to adjust to the treatment center environment, and then your family will be included in the treatment process.
Seeing Your Family While in Inpatient Treatment
When a person has an addiction, their environment is a huge concern during their recovery. Family members make up the most influential part of the addict’s environment. As such, treatment centers consider the involvement of family members to be integral to future relapse prevention. You won’t be denied visitors during an inpatient treatment program.
You will have to wait a few days before you can have visitors, though. Usually the length of time is between 3 and 7 days. These policies are put in place to help you acclimate to the rehab environment. You’ll be extremely busy meeting the staff and other patients, going over your treatment plan, participating in activities, and becoming familiar with the facility. Seeing family members too early can break the immersion and have a negative effect on your progress. Once your counselors gauge that you’re ready, however, you’ll be able to see your loved ones.
The majority of your potential visits will be on the facility’s campus. Your family members will generally need to have their bags checked to make sure they don’t have any contraband. After they’re cleared, you can show them around the grounds, share meals with them, and talk about how home life is going.
The exact visitation policies vary widely from rehab to rehab. They’ll also depend on the type of program you’re in. A 30 day program will generally have less comprehensive visiting options than a 6 to 12-month residential program. Your visitation options may also be up to the discretion of your therapist or doctor.
With some programs, you’ll be allowed to see your family members daily during your free time or during meal times. Other programs allow weekly or monthly visitation on a predetermined “family day.”
Both types of policies have potential benefits depending on your circumstances. For people who have supportive loved ones and need to be in touch consistently, a daily visitation program might be best. This allows you to stay up-to-date on what’s happening at home, which can help ease separation anxiety as you work through your addiction.
For people who have risky home environments, though, less frequent visits might be a good option. This allows the addict to focus on their treatment without thinking about environmental stressors. Risky home environmental factors might include unhealthy relationships with significant others, loved ones who use substances in the home, or loved ones who haven’t yet let go of past conflicts.
Some programs will allow patients to have day passes to leave campus with their loved ones, provided they remain with said loved one for the duration of their stay. They’ll then return to the rehab center.
This type of pass isn’t common in short-term rehab programs, but it will often be offered for residential patients in rehab facilities. Residential patients have treatment programs lasting somewhere from 3 to 12 months. They tend to need more comprehensive care than people with milder addictions.
If you get a day pass, you may need to have your visit planned and pre-approved by the staff.
There are a number of other ways you can communicate with your loved ones. Again, policies will vary depending on the program.
Many treatment centers will let you use the internet and phone during designated times, although these may be monitored. You’re also allowed to receive and mail letters.
Certain facilities allow care packages to be sent, although the staff will have to go through them first to ensure all of the items are safe. You can ask an administrator whether any objects are prohibited from care packages.
Many facilities offer family therapy as part of a comprehensive approach to mental health treatment. Family members are also affected by the addiction, and they’re the most important support group for the addict.
The goal of family therapy is to strengthen the family bonds and ensure the addict will return to a supportive environment. Family therapy sessions are structured with the addict, their loved ones, and a trained therapist who can mediate the conversation.
Family therapy is a good time to set goals for the future. It’s also a time when old hurts can be addressed and mended. Unlike normal visitation, family therapy sessions deal with concrete goals and conflict resolution. It’s best for normal visits to stay conflict-free, and if there is unresolved conflict, to bring it up when a mediator is there to assist.
The process of family therapy is highly encouraged, as this helps reduce the chances that an addict will relapse after completing the program. Everyone works together to make sure the right support systems and healthy environments are in place. When families are integrated into the treatment process, it helps ensure that the addict will return to a home that has the resources they need.
You can ask about the family therapy options at your facility, along with information on how the therapy is structured. You can also ask about visitation policies. For more information about addiction treatment, our trained counselors are available 24/7 to answer questions at 866-754-9113.