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Rehab is a tense environment. Here are some tips on what to do when visiting a loved one in rehab.

Dos and Don’ts of Visiting Someone in Rehab

Substance use disorder is difficult to overcome, and the treatment process can be challenging. If you know someone struggling with substance use disorder, you may experience having a hard time supporting them because you don’t know what you can do to help. But this shouldn’t stop you because the support of family, friends, and loved ones is critical to their recovery.

One way you can support them is by visiting them, whether they are in an Orlando drug rehab or a similar facility near you. When you visit them, you want it to be a positive experience for everyone. In case you have never visited someone in rehab before and need a few tips, here are some dos and don’ts when visiting someone in rehab.

Things to Do When Visiting Someone in Rehab

It’s always good to come prepared so you can make the most of the time you have together. Here are some things you can do to make the visit enjoyable:

  • Do come on time. Punctuality is very important when visiting not just because it is the polite thing to do, but also because being on time can positively affect their treatment. Part of their treatment program is establishing a healthy structure.
  •   Do ask them how they are. You can ask them how they are doing to begin the conversation. You can also ask how their treatment is progressing and just listen to them.
  •   Do stay positive. When they update you about their experiences in the rehab, affirm their hard work and tell them that you are proud of their progress. You need to bring positive energy when you see them.
  •   Do encourage them. In case they open up about the challenges they are having with their treatment, keep encouraging them. Remind them that they can overcome everything in time. This will help them continue to work on getting better. 
  •   Do keep the conversation light. You don’t want any awkward pauses when visiting them, but you also don’t want to make them feel uneasy by blurting out random things. Instead, talk about general topics like the weather, a recent book you read, or the series you are binge-watching.
  •   Do support them. If they open up about the things they regret doing, be supportive. Listen to them and allow them to express their feelings. Reassure them that those things are in the past and that they are getting better. You may also want to add that they only need to focus on their treatment and health for now.
  •   Do ask what else they need. It’s good to offer if there is anything else you can do for them to make their stay more comfortable like bringing an extra blanket or scarf.
  •   Do talk to the staff. Before you leave, make sure to introduce yourself to the staff and to acquaint yourself with them. This can help you become more involved with the treatment and get more updates about your loved one’s progress.

Things You Should Not Do When Visiting

Rehab facilities are designed not just to administer treatment but to provide safe and supportive spaces for their patients to recuperate in. As such, there are things you need to avoid doing or saying while visiting there, as these are considered as counteractive to the patient’s progress. 

  •   Don’t mention their appearance. One of the first things you may notice is your loved one’s physical appearance. They could have lost or gained weight since their bodies are going through some changes. Whether they appear better or worse, it’s best not to mention it. They may still be getting used to the changes and may feel embarrassed about how they look. If they open up about it on their own, you can address their concerns but keep your comments free of judgments.
  •   Don’t bring any negativity. This isn’t an appropriate time to share bad news or to tell them about how their addiction made you feel sad or angry. Doing so would only add to their stress and may affect their treatment progress. Being away from friends and family can make them already feel down, so try to boost their spirits instead.
  •   Don’t talk about money. Rehab treatments entail costs, even when using the most affordable options available. If you mention anything about finances, they might worry about being a financial burden. Instead, allow them to just focus on their treatment.
  •   Don’t mention family. While in rehab, your loved one will miss out on some family events and talking about it may make them feel guilty or sad. It’s best to stick to general topics.
  •   Don’t add pressure. They are already having challenges getting better, so don’t add more pressure on them. There is no need to remind them of the things they have done in the past. This will just affect their progress.
  •   Don’t preach them. For someone who has never had experience with substance abuse, it’s easy to say no to it. However, this is not the case for them. Instead of telling them what they should have done, encourage them to stick with their treatment and continue making progress.
  •   Don’t talk about the future. You don’t want to mention the future as they need to stay focused on the present, which is their treatment. If you talk about the future, it may overwhelm them.
  •   Don’t make promises you can’t keep. You may feel excited when you see your loved one getting better and you may end up promising things. It’s good if you can keep them all, but you want to be realistic and not overwhelm them with the future. You can just talk about the present and let them know you support them.  

Visiting someone in rehab can affect their treatment progress, so it’s very important to be aware of what you say and do while you’re there. You want to be supportive of the progress your loved one is making so make sure that your visit will support their healing and uplift their spirits.

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