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Typical Rules While Staying At A Drug Rehab Center

Most drug rehab centers have several common rules—such as limiting visitors and personal tech use—to keep people safe and on track toward recovery.

Typical Rules While Staying At A Drug Rehab Center

Drug rehab centers teach people how to live without drugs and alcohol.

When a person enters a residential rehab program, they move into the treatment facility, leaving their home life behind. The highly structured environment of inpatient drug rehab encourages a new way of life. Each activity has a purpose that supports mental and physical health.

Most rehab centers enforce several rules to protect people from triggers and help them learn self-discipline.

1. No Leaving The Rehab Center Without Permission

An inpatient rehab center may have a home-like atmosphere, but it doesn’t offer the same freedom as home. Some facilities do not allow individuals to leave at all during treatment, while others may permit supervised outings.

Common reasons a person may be allowed to leave the rehab center include off-site support group meetings and supervised sober outings with peers.

The purpose of this rule is to help individuals focus on recovery by keeping them in the therapeutic environment. Leaving the rehab center could expose them to triggers they are not ready to resist, such as people and places that support substance use.

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2. Visitors Are Limited

Most rehab centers allow visitors but at limited times. Some have a family day once per month that invites family members to connect and learn about their loved one’s treatment progress. Others offer regular family therapy sessions that help family members support each other.

Family or friends may be permitted to visit at other times if approved by a person’s therapist. Individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol may be discouraged from visiting.

Many inpatient facilities have a period following a person’s arrival during which they cannot receive visitors. This time—as well as restricted visitation throughout treatment—is intended to surround the individual with positive influences as they recover.

Due to stay-at-home orders and other protective health measures that reduce the spread of COVID-19, visitors may not be allowed to attend a rehab center during the time.

3. No Cell Phones And Computers

Many rehab centers do not allow clients to bring cell phones or computers to the facility. There are several reasons for this rule.

The first is to limit distractions, such as entertainment and contact with the outside world. People in treatment should be attending therapy sessions and participating in sober free time rather than playing on an electronic device or contacting people on the outside.

Second, this rule gets rid of triggers to substance use that may be found in the media. Some rehab centers limit or prohibit TV and movies for this reason, too.

Third, it protects the privacy of other individuals in treatment. Taking a picture of someone and posting it to social media isn’t possible if no one has a cell phone.

Most inpatient facilities allow phone calls at approved times. Recovering individuals can generally write and receive letters from loved ones. Some programs—such as rehab for executives—allow limited Internet access as well.

It is common for a person to undergo a blackout period of several days to a week upon arriving at rehab. This total disconnection from the outside world helps to ground them in the therapeutic community and prepare them for a life transformation.

4. No Violence Or Weapons

Residential rehab programs strive to create a safe space for individuals to share their burden of addiction and learn to heal. Violence or weapons threaten people’s safety and there is no place for them in rehab.

Clothing that depicts violence, weapons, or substance abuse is usually banned as well.

5. No Drugs Or Alcohol

Inpatient rehab centers offer drug- and alcohol-free environments to help people learn to live without substance use. Many rehab programs begin with detox to get drugs and alcohol out of someone’s system, so their mind is clear to focus on addiction recovery.

This rule is not blind to the fact that some people need medication to heal. If a person has a prescription for a psychiatric or medical illness, this medication will be locked up and administered by staff members.

Drugs that ease withdrawal symptoms, such as anti-nausea and anti-diarrhea drugs, as well as over-the-counter pain relievers, may also be available but closely monitored.

Some individuals benefit from medication-assisted treatment (MAT), particularly for opioid addiction. Medication-assisted treatment involves therapy and FDA-approved medication that is monitored by medical professionals.

6. Therapy Attendance Is Mandatory

Inpatient drug rehab programs tend to offer a full-time schedule of therapy sessions throughout the week. Various therapies target different areas of a person’s life to heal them and prepare them to resist relapse.

An individual must be present at these therapy sessions to reap the full benefit of drug rehab. They may be excused under special circumstances, such as a severe illness, but are generally required to attend their individualized sessions.

7. Romantic Relationships Are Discouraged

People in drug rehab are encouraged to build positive relationships with others. However, when these relationships cross the line to romance or sex, it can be a distraction and may cause emotional strain that takes away from the healing process.

Gender-specific programs are often available to prevent this complication. These programs offer a safe space for people of the same gender to share common struggles with addiction and support each other in recovery.

What Happens If You Break The Rules In Drug Rehab?

The consequences for breaking the rules in drug rehab depend on which rules you break and how often you break them.

A person is likely to be discharged from a treatment program for violent behavior or skipping too many therapy sessions.

Some programs dismiss people for using drugs or alcohol during treatment, but many recognize that relapse is a part of the recovery process. A first offense may result in adjustments to their treatment plan and additional restrictions for leaving the facility and having visitors.

A common criticism of rehab rules is that they follow a one-size-fits-all treatment model, which rarely works. However, some rules are necessary to create a structured environment that encourages personal growth and safety.

The best drug rehab programs are tailored to the individual and take personal needs into account when enforcing rules.

How strictly the rules are enforced can also depend on the facility, so it’s good to know the policies before enrolling.

For more information on typical rules while staying at a drug rehab center, or to explore our comprehensive programs, reach out to an Addiction Campuses treatment specialist today.

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