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Saturday, 25 May 2013

To Rehab or Not To Rehab....

When my son started the community drug program, the clinic brings all new cases to the table to a meeting and the professionals discuss the case.

Apparently, when my son's case was put forward, some of the professional opinions were "he will only get better in residential care" I agree. My son does not.

I would love to put him into a residential drug program yet I can not because he is 18. I did not think of rehab when he was younger because all people ever talked about was having people sectioned and put in hospital against their will, but this has to do with mental health and not only a drug and alcohol problem. I assumed from some previous conversations that rehab was a private and expensive treatment. When my son was under 18 and seeking help from the adolescent drug program rehab was casually mentioned as a voluntary choice on the part of the adolescent. No one told me I had the right to put him into a residential care program funded by the NHS.

I wish I would have taken the time and initiative to research what options there are for dependent children with drug and alcohol problems. Maybe I could have and should have put him into rehab at 16 or 17. I did not. I simply sought out help and advice through the conventional avenues and as always, did what I was told. Why do I do that???

Too late to think what could have been. The reality is that he IS 18 now and what can I do? Seems like I can not do much at all.

My son has an image of rehab as a place that he will be locked up. Told what to do and when to do it. Everything will be regimented and scheduled and controlled. Therefore when he is "released" and comes back home everything will revert back to the way he lived before he went to rehab. The sleep problems. The social withdrawal. The family tensions. The "triggers" would all be there and be the same and so the need and want to take drugs will be there and everything will go back to the pre rehab days.

I disagree.

First of all, you are not locked up and since it is all on a voluntary basis, here at least in the UK, you can leave the treatment centre whenever you like.

Secondly, the structure and organisation in rehab is just what he needs to start turning his lifestyle around. In the end the new structure will become normal routine and I think it would continued at home. I hope that with so much change and the exposure to independent yet social living at rehab, my son would come home motivated and hopefully with more self esteem and confidence to want to continue doing things for himself and seek out new experiences such as work or school.

Thirdly, I would hope that while in rehab the nature of the treatment would be intense and multidimensional.
Of course there would be the physical detoxification, but there would also be therapy to try to find the reasons behind the drug use, relaxation techniques, anger management, life skills (simple cooking, cleaning, washing etc) as well as social skills being learned. I would like to believe that this would continue on the "outside"

As far as those who are left at home, in this case myself and my two younger children, we would benefit from the break of the constant focus of drugs and all the ramifications it has had and continues to have on our family relationships and lives. We could also start to heal and move forward, yet not forgetting about the one in rehab. We would miss him and welcome his return home.

Of course, I am not 100% optimistic about rehab. Of course there is the risk that the girls preferred life without their brother at home. That things would be easier and tensions and anxieties would increase upon his return. Of course, there might also be the urge for my son to slip back into his old ways. Yet somehow, I firmly believe the positive gains would outweigh the negatives.

Maybe the same results can still be achieved in the community care route (out patient basis) but it would be harder and longer I think.

I really do not know. I wish someone would offer their views and perhaps share their personal experiences on this issue. Inpatient rehab treatment or not????