Starting Rehab Treatment

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Taking the step to attend an in-patient rehabilitation programme can come with unintended responsibilities, including preparing the people around you for you to be gone for a brief period. Multiple things will need to be addressed before you leave to ensure that you can focus entirely on recovery while you are away.

Most facility programmes last approximately a month though there are shorter and longer options depending on your finances and personal responsibilities. Here are several factors to consider before packing for your trip.

Family

If you have any personal family responsibilities (e.g., childcare, etc.), then you will want to be sure to communicate with all relevant parties, so they know where you are going and how long you intend to be gone. Family support can be one of the pillars of recovery.

Being open and honest about your decisions, and what is happening will be critical. [1]

Work

If you have any work projects that will need to be covered, you will want to make sure they get delegated. You will also want to check your workplace policies regarding extended medical leave and work absences to precisely understand what is expected of you.

There is no requirement for telling your supervisor what is going on or where you will be, but being honest can make the process smoother. You will want to make sure they know what steps you have taken to prepare and how long you expect to be gone.

It can be hard to remember the smaller things, but you want to make sure that you put an “away” message response on your work email and phone.

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Bills and Finances

If you have bills or financial responsibilities that cannot be handled in advance, then you will want to make sure plans are made so that things like your utilities and rent are paid on time while you are gone. It can help to create automatic “away” message responses on your personal email and phone as well so that your friends do not worry.

Legal Considerations

If you have any legal considerations, you will want to address them as soon as you decide to attend a rehab facility. For example, if you are on probation, this might include speaking with a parole officer to ensure that attending rehab will not break any rules.

If you have court dates or other legal obligations, make preparations with as much advanced warning as possible.

What to Bring With You

Detox and rehab treatments will keep you busy for most of the day while your body heals and undergoes a great deal of stress. This means that you will not have a lot of time for frivolous activities, and since the majority of what you will need is going to be provided by the facility, there is little need to pack more than the essentials.

1. Packing Essentials

You will want to make sure to have the following. If you have any questions, you can always ask the facility support agents what they recommend to bring or leave behind:

  • Music is therapeutic, and it can be helpful to bring a music player such as an iPod (devices with cameras or that record are often not allowed in facilities)
  • Comfortable, decent clothing
  • Supplies for doing your laundry
  • Government-issued I.D.
  • Any prescription information, current medication, and your insurance card
  • Basic hygiene products
  • A loaded cash card or credit card for any additional items you may need to procure while in treatment

2. Items to Avoid Bringing

Each treatment centre is different, and they all have their own policies, so you will want to check before arriving to see what items they expressly prohibit. Most of them will keep your phone for your treatment duration, so you will want to make alternative plans for contact with friends or family and bring other devices for entertainment (e.g., iPod, etc.).

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Ways to Avoid Stressing

Preparing to go into rehab can be a stressful time. You may be dealing with relationship or financial issues that have come to a head, and starting any new journey can be frightening. To help ease the transition, it is a good idea to de-stress as much as possible.

There are a few activities and techniques that can help you:

1. Activities

Try writing down your feelings in a journal or recording them in a personal vlog. You can also use this time to lean on the encouragement of supportive friends and family members. Distractions such as hobbies can be an excellent way to unwind and stop fretting over the future while you wait for the programme start date to arrive.

You will want to avoid social situations and locations that are strongly attached to your substance abuse during this time to remove temptation.

2. Relaxation Techniques

You can try the following relaxation techniques:

  • Massage
  • Mindfulness relaxation (e.g., breathing exercises, yoga, etc.)
  • Hypnosis
  • Meditation
  • Talking with someone you trust

What to Expect When You Arrive

One of the most stressful aspects of starting a new chapter in your life is not knowing what to expect. We want to take some of the mysteriousness away from rehab, so you have a firm idea of what to look forward to when you arrive.

There will be paperwork to fill out, an interview with a medical professional to follow up with the information you may have provided when you set up the appointment.

You and the medical team will work together to come up with a treatment plan that will go from the initial detox stages all the way through aftercare for when you leave.

There might be some new medications prescribed depending on your medical history and any symptoms you may have at the time.

The first few days will be spent detoxing as your body rids itself of toxins. This is the most physically uncomfortable period, but you will have access to 24/7 care from professionals trained to deal with withdrawal effects.

They will be able to provide medications and other things to help make the process as smooth as possible. [3]

One-on-one and group therapy will be mandatory at different times throughout the day. Each programme is unique, and some offer alternatives like art, music, or animal therapy. Between medical check-ins and treatment, there will be time for personal recreational activities.

Sleep is vital during your body’s recovery, which means that most days end early. [2]

References

[1] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions

[2] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/what-drug-addiction-treatment

[3] https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/treatment-alcohol-problems-finding-and-getting-help

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