Trusted Content

Can I Have Visitors While At A Drug Rehab Center?

David Hunter, MA.Ed, LPC

Medically reviewed by

David Hunter, MA.Ed, LPC

January 29, 2019

Visiting a loved one during treatment helps promote emotional healing, boost morale, and build trust, both for the individual in treatment and their loved ones.

Many inpatient drug rehab centers allow residents to have visits from friends or family members. These visits encourage healing, promote greater emotional health, provide positive reinforcement, and rebuild trust, all things which are beneficial to recovery. Emotional support from loved ones is a critical component of recovery from drugs or alcohol.

Many treatment centers also offer family therapy and support programs in addition to the option of casual visits. These professionally guided sessions help to heal past wounds, build healthy boundaries, and forge a more positive and engaging family environment.

The exact structure, frequency, length, and time of these visits is determined by each facility and also by the client. Visits and family therapy are not only appropriate when the patient agrees to it, but also when the therapist believes it will be therapeutic for the patient.

Preparing Yourself For A Treatment Center Visit

If you’re planning to visit your loved one during residential treatment, make sure you have their best interests at heart. Though your loved one is temporarily absent from your day-to-day life, memories of their addiction are likely not.

Anger, hurt, fear, blame, and mistrust may still weigh heavy on your mind, but remember: the purpose of these visits is not to confront a person about these things.

Constructively dealing with them in a positive way during therapy is another manner entirely, one which may occur during family therapy. Making your loved one feel guilty, shameful, pressured, or criticized can be very detrimental to their recovery.

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Things To Consider When Visiting A Loved One During Inpatient Drug Rehab

It’s critical that you receive permission from your loved one before you go for a visit. Sometimes a person may not want visitors during treatment, or for certain periods of time while they are there.

This truth can be hard for many people to understand, but for your loved one’s sake, it’s crucial that you respect their wishes. This is a deeply personal decision, one which was likely made with the guidance and support of their therapeutic team. Respecting their wishes can be the first step toward mending broken relationships and rebuilding trust.

Even the most well-intentioned friends and family members can create stress, tension, and negative emotions, all thing which can hinder the recovery process. While part of recovery is learning to overcome and cope with these things, in addition to healing wounded or dysfunctional relationships, in certain cases these elements may be considered triggers for relapse.

Some individuals need to completely remove themselves from their former environment, including contact with close friends or family members, to heal. Others may prefer to have visitors, but on the condition that they outline who is able to visit them. In addition to these personal preferences, the facility itself will have guidelines which dictate when, how, and for how long you may visit an individual for.

Beyond these considerations comes another concern: certain people may be negative influences, some going so far as to trigger thoughts of relapse for the individual in treatment. These individuals may include friends a person used with on a regular basis, or even a person they used with on a limited basis, but who still might trigger memories of substance abuse. It’s in the best interest of the individual in treatment to refrain from seeing these people.

Sometimes it’s hard to say “no,” but learning to set and enforce healthy boundaries is a large part of a healthy, successful recovery. One of the biggest benefits of inpatient drug rehab is the way it removes a person from harmful triggers; making these decisions helps to support this healthy atmosphere.

Deciding When To Visit Your Loved One In Treatment

Visitation policies vary from center to center, for this reason, it’s important that you familiarize with any rules or guidelines prior to visiting the facility. Many facilities have set hours, or only allow visits on weekends or during the evening. Beyond these guidelines, visitation schedules may be dictated by where a person is within the recovery process.

If your loved one requires a medically-supervised detox, there’s a high likelihood that visitors will not be allowed. This period is a very strenuous time, both mentally, emotionally, and physically, and because of this, facilities prefer that clients reside in the most stable, structured environment as possible.

Once a person enters a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, many facilities don’t permit visitation for a certain period of time after admission; this may be a week or longer. The first few days or weeks of treatment are an incredibly transitional time, and for your loved one’s recovery to be successful it’s important that they have ample time to establish confidence in the recovery process.

This period of time is an important part of recovery; during it, your loved one is building relationships with their peers and facility staff. These interactions help to teach recovery principles, increase confidence and trust, and increase treatment retention rates.

Take advantage of visiting hours; if you can’t visit your loved one in person, even a phone call can help to boost their spirits and let them know you care.

During, or in addition to, your visits your loved one and treatment staff may ask you to participate in educational sessions or family therapy and support program. Some centers may only permit you to visit if you agree to participate in these sessions. If you’re able to do so, involving yourself in these offerings can help your loved one build a stronger foundation for a drug-free life.

The Role Of Family Therapy And Support Within Inpatient Addiction Treatment

In addition to informal visits, many treatment centers incorporate family therapy and support programs into their client’s treatment plans. These sessions are most typically led by a therapist or counselor and draw heavily upon behavioral therapies and other therapeutic methods.

Like casual visits, these sessions usually only occur when permitted by the individual within treatment. “Elected family,” or persons not related through blood or marriage, such as close friends or godparents, may potentially be integrated into therapy and counseling.

Addiction can break down trust, communication, and create multiple negative mindsets like shame, resentment, fear, anger, and blame, all of which can hinder a person’s recovery and a family’s ability to be emotionally present and supportive. Choosing to take part in family therapy and support can greatly benefit both the individual and their loved ones.

Addiction is often referred to as a family disease, that is it deeply impacts not just the individual but those closest to them. Family therapy and support work to target these adverse effects so that family members have an opportunity to heal and learn to trust again, too. During this time, family members learn how to better support their loved one both during and after treatment.

Family therapy and support sessions build enhanced communication skills and coping techniques, foster positive growth and healing, establish healthy boundaries, and reduce dysfunctional patterns within the family or relationship which may contribute to the addictive state. Educational sessions about substance abuse, treatment methods, relapse prevention, and aftercare support may also be integrated into these programs.

Without this support and guidance, certain issues, stressors, and challenges within a family might remain. When confronted with these elements after treatment, an individual may consider coping with drugs or alcohol, thoughts which could then lead to a relapse. Selecting a treatment center with family therapy and support program can be a critical component of a solid recovery.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can support your loved one during the recovery process, or how to get them treatment at an inpatient drug rehab facility, contact today.

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