Anyone can develop an addiction to a drug and go to drug rehab for recovery. It is an emotional time for a person to see their loved ones going through a rigorous rehab process. The rehab process varies from person to person. A severely addicted person who has been using drugs for many years requires inpatient treatment, whereas someone who has recently found addiction can go with outpatient rehab too.
When a loved one gets into a drug rehab program, it is not just the person who is directly impacted but also the family members and close friends. For someone to understand and help a person in rehab, he/she must know about addiction and what steps to take care of them. The steps to help a loved one in rehab can be difficult, but with the right guidance, you can support your addicted friend/relative.
Here are five helpful ways to support a loved one in drug rehab.
1. Educate yourself
The first thing that you can do towards helping the person is by educating yourself. Often family members start the blame game and point out that it is the person’s weakness that he/she got addicted to drugs. The addicted person goes through a lot of criticism and emotional drama. Instead of judging the person, you must accept the person. Love the person and appreciate them for deciding to go to drug rehab.
Get information about why a person becomes addicted. Understand that its the effect of drugs on the brain that a person starts depending on the drug. When the drug user starts to quit the drug, he or she starts to feel the withdrawal symptoms, and they start retaking it. This way, they become dependent on the drug. When you educate yourself about drug addiction, you begin to understand the person, and it will lessen your anger towards them.
You can find many study materials online to educate yourself and your family about addiction. There are many books also that talk about the science behind addiction and the types of addiction treatment. This kind of knowledge will keep the home environment positive and boost confidence in your loved one in drug rehab.
2. Have at least one meal with family
The thing that keeps a family together is love and trust. Since everyone is busy in their life for the entire day, make it a habit that you have at least one meal together as a family. Eating together allows everyone to share about their day and know about others. It lets everyone discuss their day’s stress, loneliness, and happiness with the entire family.
According to a study, having family dinners together builds strong relationships with family members. It also showed that teenagers are less susceptible to drug addiction when they have a harmonious relationship with their parents and reduces their chances of going into relapse. Every family meal acts as a part of family therapy. This activity gives your loved one in rehab a sense of togetherness and calmness. You can also prepare a meal together to multiply these gains.
3. Get regular exercise
When a person goes through drug rehab, his/her’s body goes through a lot of changes physically, mentally, and emotionally. These changes are right for them in the long term, but at present, they can be stressful. They might be getting inadequate sleep, lack of appetite, and mood swings. Exercising is an excellent way to help your loved ones during this time.
Studies have proven that exercising helps in reducing stress and depression. Encourage them to work out at least for 20-30 minutes a day. Support them by joining them in their exercise routine. It will help to release their stress and focus their mind on the exercise. Slowly they will also start building their appetite, improve their sleep pattern, and reduce mood swings. Regular exercise, therefore, is beneficial for recovering individuals.
4. Look for fun activities
One of the ways to help a recovering individual is to surround them with positive people. Being positive means to encourage them, focusing on their strengths, and being a good listener. One of the most significant challenges a person finds while recovering from a drug is discovering ways to have fun. Its because, according to their brain, joy can only be found through alcohol or drugs. So, start doing some fun activity along with them to keep them engaged and happy. You can learn new skills like music, cooking, or gardening with them.
It promotes positive mental health and is a great motivation for them. Engaging in these fun activities come under recreational therapy. It is very beneficial in deterring relapse. The person takes an interest in a new activity and finds it so fulfilling that they forget your drug addiction. According to a study, people who participated in recreational activity post the rehab process were able to maintain their sobriety as compared to people who didn’t.
5. Family therapy sessions
Lastly, go for family therapy sessions. Studies show that teen drug abuse can affect an entire family like a chronic disease. Negative energy, anxiety, and relationships start falling apart. The near and dear ones are the first victims of a loved one’s drug addiction.
Family therapy sessions help in building back the trust and love into a relationship. They can only work when you, along with the person in recovery, clear out the differences between them and resolve every conflict. During these sessions, the counselor might also share some tips that will help deal with specific situations. These sessions are helpful in recovery as a group in an addiction treatment setting. It is an excellent way of boosting your loved one in rehab by focussing on family members’ mental health too.
Understand that family therapy sessions can run long. So, take out time in priority for these sessions.
In addition to the tips mentioned above, it would be profitable if you seek individual counseling or visit support groups. It will support you in dealing with your loved one’s dependence. This way, you won’t feel alone or feel the pressure. Instead, you will be mentally prepared to assist your loved one towards recovery. Understand that recovery from drug use takes time and patience. Therefore, be calm and patient with them and let them know that you are here for them.