The Do’s and Don’ts of visiting a Relative in Rehab

Published On 12-June-2019
By Tim Wood

does-don'ts

Do you have a family member or relative in rehab?

Visiting someone who is undergoing rehab is a different experience from visiting someone receiving treatment in a general hospital.

Listen: The person is likely to be stressed and often under a certain amount of pressure. They may have a limited time in the clinic and will have to stick to a certain treatment plan.

Don't Be Negative - Put a Smile on Your face

The worst thing you can do is to be negative. There are visitors who see addiction treatment as something very negative and shameful.

If you happen to feel that way, maybe it is better for you to stay away. However, if you feel you can cope, do go for a visit.

But don't forget to put a smile on your face. Smiling is the most important thing you should do when you visit a relative in a rehab centre.

Be Supportive - Don't Bring in Bad News

When you are undergoing addiction treatment, there could be a plethora of issues affecting your life at the same time. For instance, many addicts find themselves in debt as a result of not being able to control spending due to their addiction.

You may have some bad news which you feel you need to deliver, but this is not the right time to do so.

When a person is receiving treatment, it is a better idea to remind them you are more than their relative. In fact, you want to help them to solve any personal problems which could be affecting them outside of the clinic.

For example, perhaps you should even try to help them resolve their overdraft situation if that is the problem.

General Conversation Not Treatment Talk

The person you are visiting may want to talk about their treatment. Do let them tell you how they are getting on. But, after they have said their piece, it is better to talk about other subjects.

Staying in any rehab centre for a longer period of time can be challenging.

Inpatients often talk about feeling like they have lost touch with the outside world or are losing touch. Talking about current topics will help them to take their mind off what they are going through.

Reassure them that everything is okay, and give them a general update. It does not matter if you talk about what happened in the last episode of that series you are binge-watching on Netflix, or about the weather.

Just make them feel part of something which does not involve their treatment. It will make them feel a lot better.

What Do You Miss From Home?

When we are away from home, we often miss something. It could be anything from a favourite fleecy blanket to the chocolate cake you bake every week.

Ask them if there is anything you can do to make their stay more comfortable. If that means baking an extra chocolate cake that week, you should, by all means, do so.

Little things like your chocolate cake or the comfy fleece blanket they forgot to bring, can make a world of difference.

Maybe you will make them smile the first time for a week.

Photos of Nature - Not of Things They Are Missing Out On

Yes, it may have been Auntie Pat's birthday on Saturday but you should not bring in the family photos. The person receiving the treatment may start to feel guilty for not being there.

Seeing all of the family may also act as a sad reminder.

The last thing you want to do is to make your relative feel sad or even the slightest shade of blue.

What they are going through is bad enough.

One thing that has proven to cheer almost all addicts up, is photos of nature. It is a neutral topic to talk about and photos of nature can be simply stunning.

It can be of your bird table or the hedgehog which likes to visit your garden.

It will give you something to talk about, and at the same time, create a happy memory. Maybe even a nice story to share with other inpatients receiving treatment.

You should also try to make a friend of the staff at the treatment centre. At the end of the day, people buy people. The more the staff like you, the more help your relative is likely to get.

Don't forget to tell your relative that he or she is doing well. Also, mention you can come back any time they feel they need to see you.

Taking the next step

To learn more about alcohol treatment, contact Rehab 4 Alcoholism today on 0800 111 4108. We will conduct a short telephone assessment to allow us to match your needs up with treatment providers in your local area that offer treatment for alcohol, mental health problems and other addictions.


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