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Homesickness during Inpatient Rehab

Homesickness is a grief-like symptom that naturally occurs when individuals are separated from their loved ones and comfort zone. Depending on the addiction, inpatient care can last for 30 days or longer, and patients typically experience emotional reactions to the change of environment. While the rehab center makes every effort to ease homesick feelings, in the early stages of treatment, the patient’s desire for more drugs can trigger responses that may be mistaken as homesickness. Fortunately, the rehab staff is prepared for whatever a patient experiences and knows how to help.

Resistance to Rehab

Addiction is a neural disease, and the brain can play tricks on you in hopes of accessing more drugs. In such cases, the brain can engage in a number of actions including the following:

  • Sharply increase one’s drug cravings
  • Intensify a mood disorder, such as depression or anxiety
  • Take advantage of a patient’s pride, loneliness or personality
  • Create self-convincing reasons to leave rehab

Since this is not homesickness, it is important to enter rehab with a total commitment and no backup plan for an early exit. It is also helpful to speak with the rehab staff if such feelings emerge.

Reasons for Homesickness

Many rehab patients experience homesickness for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • An unfamiliar environment with a new set of peers
  • Separation from family, friends and co-workers
  • An emotional attachment to one’s home and surroundings
  • A lack of involvement in what is happening at work
  • The stress of change

Before rehab, many addicts made a habit out of resisting help and denying the addiction. This is another fundamental change the patient often experiences in treatment. Rehab focuses on honesty, seeking help and taking advice, and this fundamental shift can add to the longing for family and familiarity.

Can I Talk to My Family in Rehab?

When contemplating treatment, many people ask if they can communicate with their loved ones during rehab. You might be required to open packages from loved ones in front of a staff member to ensure no contraband, but outside communication is encouraged. Typical options for communication can include the following:

  • Sent and received mail
  • Phone calls during designated times
  • Family member visits

In some cases, the doctors recommend family counseling at the facility. This can be particularly helpful if serious problems, altercations or confrontations preceded treatment.

Why Inpatient Treatment Is Important

Inpatient treatment provides comfortable detox and includes screenings for mental and physical health issues. Likewise, the doctors utilize behavioral therapies to identify bad habits, establish healthy life skills and prepare the patient for recovery. Inpatient care can provide a number of other advantages, including the following:

  • A drug-free environment away from any opportunities to use
  • The chance to step back from the situation and gain new perspective
  • Time for all family members to calm down if there had been conflict

Rehab centers can also work with family members. They can provide educational programs and counseling that helps in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • Address any enabling of the addiction that might have occurred in the past
  • Make recommendations on how to help the addict in and out of treatment
  • Recommend support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous specifically for family members

Family support can be a critical cornerstone of life-long recovery. It is important to remember that you may feel homesick because you love your family, and this love can help motivate you to stay the course.

Finding Rehab Help for Addiction

If you have questions about rehab, our caring staff is available 24 hours a day on our toll-free helpline. We can explain addiction signs, rehab options and how treatment works. Health insurance policies often include treatment, and we can check for coverage. Please call now.