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When an LGBT loved one is in rehab, the outside world is kept outside to give the person a chance to focus on getting better. There are times set aside for communicating with patients, and it’s best to respect these boundaries.
Contacting Patients in Addiction Treatment
A patient’s individual needs determine how much outside contact is beneficial during residential treatment. Such addiction treatment programs offer a person specialized therapy within a secure living environment. Patients with severe addictions need longer stays at inpatient facilities while less severe addictions may require outpatient treatment. While in a rehabilitation facility, different rules may apply for different people in the LGBT community.
Every patient’s treatment goal is to end substance use and return to a fulfilling, active life notes the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Patient stays at treatment centers are voluntary, so it is important to keep a person motivated and engaged in the treatment process. People who finish their treatment have a much higher chance of staying sober while relapse is more likely for people who leave treatment early
A patient’s success at a treatment center could be enhanced by encouragement from family and friends, but at some point, the patient must decide to fully engage in the process. The following factors affect how well a person responds to treatment according to the NIDA:
- Severity and type of problems
- Appropriateness of treatment
- Availability of additional services
- Suitability of communication between the patient and treatment providers
Learning how to communicate and respond to family and friends while sober is an important part of the recovery process. Any communication that helps a patient learn to manage his addiction is keeping him on the right track.
Treatment Phases and Outside Contact
During the initial stage of residential treatment, an LGBT patient may have very limited contact with individuals outside the facility. An adult may have restricted contact with family, friends and a job while an adolescent may contact parents but have no contact with friends or school according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The lack of contact helps the patient adjust to and become part of the treatment community. During the next stage of treatment, a greater degree of contact is allowed. Depending on the patient’s needs, he may be able to leave during the day to go to work or school and then return to the facility at night for treatment services.
There are different ways to contact a loved one during treatment. Phone calls and letters sent through the postal service are common while email access may be limited. Visitors may be allowed during specified hours on specified days.
Federal and State Laws Governing Patient Contact
Patients in addiction treatment also have federal rights that protect their privacy according to the Health and Human Services Department. A patient must provide written authorization to the addiction treatment center before staff members may communicate with family members about treatment and any other information. A patient in the LGBT community also has the right to remain anonymous during addiction treatment.
Family Addiction Treatment Programs
For some families and friends, the best time for communication may be during family therapy sessions. Addiction is a chronic disease that consumes every aspect of a person’s life. Family members and friends of an addicted person also experience pain from the addiction including lost communication as well as feelings of guilt, blame and the need for control. Research on the most effective ways to treat addiction shows supportive family involvement is crucial. Treatment guidelines from the SAMHSA promote addiction treatment programs that include forms of family therapy.
The combination of addiction treatment and family therapy is complicated. A patient’s addiction treatments focus on individual needs—techniques for staying sober and maintaining mental well-being. When a patient focuses on himself during the entire treatment process, the needs of the family as a whole may be left behind.
While an LGBT patient in treatment needs her personal space to come to terms with her addiction and heal, she also needs to be prepared for the changes her sobriety will bring to the family. Some forms of addiction treatment actively include the family.
Need Help Finding Addiction Treatment?
Addiction is a disease that requires multi-layered treatments. If you or a loved one in the LGBT community is struggling with addiction, there are many effective treatment options that offer healthy ways to cope with the disease. Do not let an addiction take over. Our admissions coordinators are available at our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week to offer options for effective treatment.
New research shows addiction is a highly treatable disease, even for people who have suffered multiple relapses. People who seek help learn skills that improve day-to-day life and enrich their relationships. Call us today, and start on the path to a better life.