If you have a family member, partner, loved one or someone else you are close to who is going to rehab, you might well be wondering if you are going to be able to visit them. After all, many rehab programmes take 28 days or longer, which is a long time to be apart.
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In general, you should be able to visit a family member or someone else that you have a close relationship with while they are in rehab. There may be certain restrictions in place though and there will be good reasons for these, to do with the recovery programme and process.
It’s also important to remember that different rehab centres will have their own policies. At Action Rehab, we work with a variety of rehabilitation centres in order to match the right person with the right place based on their own individual circumstances and needs. Some might be quite relaxed about visitors while others might have more rigid visiting times and procedures.
Why Might a Visit not Be Allowed?
A rehab centre is not a prison. Residents are free to leave at any time but while there they will be expected to follow rules that are designed to facilitate the successful delivery of the treatment programme – for themselves and other residents. This will include receiving visitors.
Many rehabs will discourage or not allow visitors during the early settling in period (such as the first week). This will often also coincide with the detoxification or detox period, which can be very challenging and intense. Beyond that, there may be set visiting times, with visits not allowed outside these hours.
While visits from loved ones can be positive and beneficial for the person in rehab, this is not always the case. Sometimes the person in recovery might not want to receive a visit from specific family members or other individuals. In other cases, the person might want to receive a visit from certain people at certain times, but the therapist handling the case might not consider it to be beneficial at that time.
These decisions could be based on a number of factors, such as the visitor being someone who is not fully supportive of the resident’s attempts to change, or someone with whom they have a difficult relationship. Sometimes it might be deemed that the recovery journey is in a place where they would not benefit from seeing a certain person. The therapist will make their recommendations with the resident’s well-being and recovery as the primary consideration.
It’s worth noting that you do not necessarily have to be a family member to visit someone in rehab. Visits from partners, friends, colleagues and others the person is close to can also be valuable and therapists may make the decision on a case-by-case basis.
When it comes to involving children in visits, it may be a matter for the family – as well as the therapist – to decide. Some families may feel that they wish to shelter the child from what is happening but others believe it is best to be honest with youngsters, and a visit from children can be beneficial for the person in rehab.
Family dynamics can be very complex and relationships that the person in recovery considers to be normal may be toxic or problematic. Sometimes, structured family therapy sessions may present a better alternative to open visits, allowing family members to explore some of their issues in a structured and guided way. In other cases, organised family therapy sessions alongside regular visits could be seen as the best way forward.
How Long Can I Stay?
To avoid disruption, many rehab centres will operate set visiting times when family members and other approved visitors are welcome to visit. This could be every Sunday afternoon, for example, but again this will vary from one place to the next. Visits may last for most of a day, a few hours or less, depending on a number of factors. Routine and structure are very important in rehab, so it is important to stick to any routine visiting hours or arrangements for scheduled visits.
How Can Rehab Help?
Some common methods used to combat depression include medication, therapy and support groups. It may also be possible to attend a residential rehab that specialises in mental health treatments – often alongside treatments for substance misuse and addiction.
In one of these facilities you will be in a safe, secure and tranquil environment. This cannot remove stresses from your life entirely but it can help to reduce them, allowing you to focus on your recovery. You will have access to the finest care from trained mental health professionals and will take part in a tailored treatment programme designed for your own unique circumstances and needs. This will typically incorporate a range of psychological therapies and may also include prescription anti-depressants and other relevant medications.
Are There Any Covid Restrictions For Visitors to Rehab?
Rehab centres were encouraged to remain open during the pandemic due to the beneficial and sometimes potentially life-saving benefits they offered to recovering addicts. Visitations and external contacts were restricted or suspended at various times, but most restrictions have now been lifted.
There may be restrictions in place if you have symptoms, have recently tested positive for Covid-19 or are visiting particularly vulnerable residents. The situation may also change in the future, dependent on the situation. Please contact the individual rehab centre involved for further details.
Do I Need to Book a Visit?
You will usually need to book a visit, even if the centre has regular visiting times. The visit might also take place in a supervised environment, with oversight by staff members. As well as visits, residents will be able to receive and send mail. They may be able to chat electronically or make voice and video calls – although access to laptops and other devices may also be restricted to certain times.
What Not to Do on a Visit to Rehab
The most obvious thing to avoid when visiting a person in rehab is smuggling in drugs or alcohol, even (especially!) if they have asked you to.
Beyond that, it’s always best to bring as much positive energy as you can with you and not to dwell on negatives. People in recovery need bringing up rather than knocking down and harmful behaviours related to their drinking or drug use are probably best left for family therapy or at least for another time.
Talking of time, recovering addicts are often encouraged to live in the moments, taking their recovery one day at a time. It can therefore be unhelpful to talk too much about the future, especially questions about what they will do after rehab and how they will remain sober.