Sending your child to any kind of rehabilitation center is a huge step in their recovery process. It is no small task, and it requires a lot of planning and preparation. If you have a child who is suffering from addiction or mental health issues and have decided to send them to a rehab center, here are some things that you will want to consider before, during and after they enter treatment and some of the things you may experience while your child is in rehab.
Finding the Right Treatment Center
Every treatment center is different, and not every treatment center is the right fit for every child. Here are some of the things you’ll need to consider while deciding on a facility for your child:
- No matter what, you will want a treatment center with a recovery program that is evidence-based and rooted in a medical understanding of addiction or mental health issues. Facilities that are science-based have more success than ones that are not.
- Like you would a college campus, take a tour of different residential treatment centers if possible. You will want to find out:
- What amenities will be available
- How often friends and family can visit
- What kind of academic support will be available
- Which medications will be administered, if any
- The success rate of past patients
- When it comes to treatment, you typically get what you pay for. The quality of sober living houses or state-funded rehabilitation centers is usually lower than privately owned substance abuse rehabilitation centers.
Stay Involved in Appropriate Ways
During your child’s stay in rehab, it is important to stay involved in the recovery process in appropriate ways. There is evidence suggesting that the more a family interferes with their child’s inpatient rehabilitation treatment, the less likely the treatment is to work. However, family involvement plays a critical role in the recovery process. You might be asking, “Where, then, is the balance between too much contact and too little?”
To answer that question, every treatment center has its own rules and guidelines concerning how often friends and family are allowed to visit or communicate with patients. It is important that you follow those rules and respect the authority of the staff and the choices they make concerning your child’s treatment.
Be Prepared for Your Child’s Reaction
Rehab is not a pleasant experience. It’s not supposed to be. Overcoming a substance abuse addiction or a mental health breakdown is very physically and mentally exhausting. Be prepared for your child to take issue with anything they can, including the facilities, the way they are treated, the food, the staff, to name a few. The odds of your child being disrespected and abused while in rehab are slim, and their complaints are likely their way of coping with the physical and mental stress they are under. Especially if your child was admitted to rehab against their will, they will struggle as hard as they can in an effort not to face their addiction or mental illness. It is important that you be prepared for this, and do your best to listen to and support them in the best way you can.
Take Care of Your Family
Your child in rehab is never the only person suffering. Addiction and/or mental illness affects all members of the family, and while your child is in rehab is the best time to take care of the rest of the family. Going to therapy, couples therapy and/or support groups is a great place to start. If you have more children, check up on them frequently and ask how they are doing. It is important that you not pretend like nothing is happening, as this will have a negative effect on the whole family. Discussing your child’s addiction and/or mental illness, and recovery process openly with the rest of your family will help you all to cope with what is happening and work together to heal as a family.
Prepare for Their Return
Before your child graduates from the program and returns home, there are a few things you’ll need to do.
- Rid the house of all tempting substances and paraphernalia and/or experiences and environmental triggers.
- Prioritize the aftercare plan. Every rehabilitation center provides its patients with an aftercare plan that outlines how they can best continue on the path to recovery after they leave. Make sure you get a copy of it and dedicate yourself to helping your child along the path as well as you can.
- Understand that things won’t be the same. There is a fairly high chance that your child will not be the same after drugs as they were before them. It is important that you release any expectations you have regarding their personality and your family dynamic, and adapt to the person your child is becoming/striving to be.