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How to Deal With Homesickness In Rehab

Venturing out to a residential rehab center where everything is unfamiliar can be very challenging, especially if you’re far from close family and friends. Making the decision to go to rehab is a life-changing decision, but it’s also often a necessary one if you want to help yourself heal. Completing a rehab program isn’t easy, but experiencing homesickness in rehab can make the process even more difficult. If you worry that you might feel this way while you’re in treatment, there are several ways to cope and keep pushing forward.

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Why do people get homesick in rehab?

If you’re going to rehab for the first time, you might wonder why some people experience homesickness during rehab. Although it doesn’t happen to everyone, it’s fairly common. People who have severe substance use disorders often attend residential rehab programs, where they live onsite for the duration of their treatment program. That means they can’t go home or visit with family as often as they may like. As a result, many people get homesick for the following reasons:

  • Venturing outside of their comfort zone can be scary and leaving old habits behind can be difficult, even if they’re destructive ones. 
  • Not being able to use a substance that they’ve come to rely on physically and psychologically can be very challenging. For a while, their brain and body will still crave drugs or alcohol, making it difficult to cope with life without their substance of choice.
  • Having an unfamiliar routine with limited access to the outside world (including friends and family) can be a difficult adjustment. At times, they might wish they could indulge in their comfortable methods of escape, such as relaxing at home with a drug of choice, even though they know it’s not good for them.

For all these reasons, if you go to residential treatment for addiction, you may find yourself feeling a little bit homesick while you’re in treatment. Although it’s a normal part of the process, there can be some negative side effects if feelings of homesickness are left unaddressed.

Side effects of homesickness in rehab

While many people push through the feelings of homesickness during rehab and make it all the way through their treatment program, others may also struggle with cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and mental health issues that make it hard to cope with homesickness. As a result, they may feel like they are unable to get through rehab and they might make an impulsive decision to leave treatment early, against medical advice. 

Often, in these instances, people convince themselves that they’ll be able to get sober on their own if they can just be home where they feel most comfortable. However, this is rarely the case. Unfortunately, these individuals are likely to relapse when they are faced with familiar, triggering environments. Additionally, severe homesickness can take an emotional, physical, and psychological toll on a person, contributing to issues like insomnia, anxiety, depression, and loss of appetite, which may affect treatment outcomes.

Why stick it out in residential rehab, despite homesickness in rehab?

There’s no question about it: getting through rehab is hard and it requires a lot of work, dedication, and consistency. However, it’s important to stick it out. Your familiar home environment is full of people, places, and things that perpetuate your addiction, but separating yourself from those things is necessary so you can focus on your recovery. Although it’s difficult, it’s important to give yourself time away from distractions so you can heal and recover. Leaving home to go to residential rehab isn’t an easy thing to do. But it’s often the right thing to do in order to save your life and recover from drug and alcohol addiction.

How to cope with homesickness in rehab

If you feel homesick during rehab, you’re not alone and there are many ways to cope. In addition to being open with your treatment provider, counselor, and therapist, here are a few ways you can cope.

Call and write home when you can.

If you’re missing your family back home, one of the best ways to cope is by giving them a call and writing them letters. Sometimes personal visits may also be an option, but if they are not, a quick phone call or letter can be very therapeutic. Take the time to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you and why it’s important that you’re away for a while. Keep them up-to-speed on your progress and allow them to encourage you too! You’d be surprised at how motivating that can be.

Bring something that reminds you of home.

If your rehab center allows, bring a small memento that reminds you of your home and your family. Although you shouldn’t bring a ton of mementos, since your focus should ultimately be on your recovery, you may want to bring a simple family picture to put on your bedside table. Or, you could bring a different small, meaningful item that will help you get through the hardest days in rehab.

Focus on your recovery.

Keep yourself motivated by focusing on your goals in recovery. Think back to your days in active addiction and look at how far you’ve already come. Remind yourself that every day spent in rehab is one step closer to the freedom you’ll find in an independent life of sobriety.

Choose a rehab center that makes you feel comfortable and cared for.

Don’t settle on the first rehab center you find. Make sure you’re receiving substance abuse treatment at a place that’s focused on holistic recovery and your overall wellness. You should feel welcomed, comfortable, and safe while you’re away at rehab, although you will be asked to work through uncomfortable emotions and may feel vulnerable at times. Regardless, the staff should be supportive and caring as you work your way through your treatment program.

Remember why you’re there.

Remind yourself that you won’t be in rehab forever. In the grand scheme of things, going to treatment for 90 days is a short amount of time to dedicate to your recovery and it’s worth every second.

Related post: How to Tell People You’re Going to Rehab

Inpatient drug rehab Austin, TX can help you achieve lasting recovery

If you’re severely addicted to drugs or alcohol and you need help to get sober, inpatient drug rehab Austin, TX might be what you need to change your life. At Nova Recovery Center, we offer an individualized residential program for men, women, and LGBTQ+ individuals who are ready to give up their addiction and take up a new sober lifestyle. With several levels of care including residential treatment, IOP, and online rehab, our staff is here to support you every step of the way. 

Please get in touch with us online or call (888) 427-4932 to speak with an admissions representative today.

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Nova Recovery Center is dedicated to helping you or your loved one get help. Please call or fill out this form for a confidential consultation. One of our understanding, dedicated advisors will contact you about your options. Begin healing today.

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