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New to Rehab: The Importance of Treatment Center Orientation

An orientation to addiction rehab is very helpful for new patients because it clarifies the treatment process, establishes the rules, gives an introduction to staff members and shows the patient what to expect

When a new patient enters the doors of an addiction rehab facility, he or she likely does not have an accurate idea about what to expect. It is completely normal for new patients to be stressed, overwhelmed and at wits end. Many patients are also mentally drained after having completed the intervention process—possibly even several interventions. Remember, public perceptions are based on what is shown about rehab or treatment centers from TV shows. Because of the nature of television and the editing process, an individual may expect very quick results. This is not realistic; treatment is not a quick process and takes time. Recovery is a lifelong process that is achieved one day at a time.

Let’s look closer at a fictional example to get more perspective of the situation. Meet Jordan Wilson. He is a banker in his mid-thirties and is a functional alcoholic. Jordan started drinking in his late teens and over the years has built up a tolerance toward alcohol. As a matter of fact, he has never stopped drinking alcohol for more than a few days at a time. Every night after work, he stops by the gas station and purchases alcohol. When stressed, he drinks up to a twelve pack a night. His wife Trish knew that he drank a few bottles of beer each night but had no idea until a couple months ago how much Jordan was drinking when she found some half empty bottles of whiskey in the garage. After a long fight with Trish, Jordan agreed to go to treatment for his alcoholism.

In the above story, Jordan is a functional alcoholic, a category that accounts for close to 20 percent of all of those who are addicted to alcohol. In these cases, addiction often is not known and comes as a surprise to families and friends. Each person that goes to rehab has his own struggles. If you are to look at the treatment process from Jordan’s perspective, ask these questions: How would he feel? What would he need to know? What are some of his fears? By considering this individual’s journey into rehab, we can begin to see just how important the treatment center orientation would be to his overall experience.

Orientation Clarifies the Treatment Process

Not knowing creates confusion and this additional confusion can easily lead to stress and misunderstanding. Following with the example of Jordan, he is scared, frustrated and likely overwhelmed. When he is informed about the treatment process, he now knows what to expect. For the first time in a long time, he will be sober. When an individual is under the influence over the long term, he or she likely does not see the real effects of substance abuse. In many cases they are too gradual to notice. When a patient starts thinking clearly, everything changes.

Orientation Shows the Patient What to Expect

When there are no surprises, healthy routines can begin to develop. If the patient knows what is expected of him, he can be better prepared throughout the recovery process. Uncertainty takes away a patient’s confidence, but structure and organization can provide a solid foundation for patients to build upon.

Orientation Establishes the Rules for Treatment

Policies and procedures let attendees know what is allowed and what is not. This helps provide structure and clarity and sets boundaries and guidelines for appropriate and acceptable behavior. When clear expectations and consequences are communicated, there is less temptation to try to bend the rules or get away with unproductive behavior.

Orientation Introduces Patients to Staff at the Facility

If an individual needs medical treatment for severe withdrawal, he or she needs to know who to contact. Getting to know staff members can give a patient an idea of what to expect and what role each person plays. Patients need to feel comfortable with staff and trust that staff members are on their side and there to help. At the orientation patients can ask questions and learn more about whom they will be working with over the course of their treatment.

Find Addiction Help Today

If you or a loved one in Anchorage is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, reach out and connect with the counselors at our toll-free helpline. If you are thinking about going to rehab and just want to know what information you will find out in treatment, feel free to call. You can still get back on track and live a healthy life. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day and want to support you. Learning about treatment is a great way to move forward. Do not hesitate to get the information you need.