What Happens When a Child Returns From Treatment

When a child returns home from a stay at a treatment facility, parents might wonder what happens next. Recovery from addiction and other mental health disorders is not just a one and done event. Treatment can stabilize a person and teach new coping skills. However, the real work begins when returning home. Parents can help their kids by managing their expectations, continuing family work, and providing support to encourage continued growth.

Managing Expectations for Treatment

Treatment is not a cure for addiction, challenging behaviors, or mental health concerns. Parents can be mindful of managing their expectations for treatment. Active treatment in a long-term facility might be the first step for many in recovery. However, one stay within a facility will not be a miracle cure. 

Recovery is a long-term process of applying healthy habits into daily life. Like anyone else, our kids will have their good and bad days throughout their continuing journey of recovery. Relapse rates for addiction can be similar to the rates of other chronic diseases. Relapse does not indicate that treatment failed or that the person is not trying hard enough. 

Some common reasons for relapse include:

  • New Challenges and Stressors in Life
    • Kids are going through significant changes as they enter adulthood.
    • Some are attending college, living on their own, or starting careers.
    • These new challenges can add stress and contribute to relapse.
  • Environment
    • One of the most common triggers for relapse is a person’s environment. 
    • When kids return home from treatment, they might feel triggered by specific places, people, or events.
  • Celebrations
    • Holidays, birthdays, and other celebrations can be triggering for people.
    • Those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction might want to take a break or let loose for one night.

Remember that relapse is not always a recurrence of a particular behavior. Some people find replacement habits that might indicate relapse. For example, a kid recovering from alcohol addiction might engage in gaming addiction or another unhealthy overindulgence. 

Managing our expectations means that we hope for the best while still preparing for a relapse. When we prepare for relapse, we are mindful to look for warning signs to prevent relapse, maintaining skills to reduce the chances of relapse, and having a plan prepared in the event of a relapse. 

Continuing Family Work

When one family member deals with challenging issues, like mental health disorders or addiction, the entire family feels the impact. Siblings might experience increased stress, worried about their sibling in recovery. Family members can take on unhealthy roles when dealing with the family crisis that can impact their behaviors for life when not addressed.

Many rehabilitation facilities, like Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center, offer support for families. During active treatment, parents and other family members might assist in the treatment and aftercare planning process. Some families believe that the problems within their household will be fixed once a person receives treatment. Often, the entire family needs work, even if only one person suffers from addiction or other challenging behaviors.

Providing Support for Continued Growth

Support is crucial for those in recovery. Families and parents can continue to support their child after treatment. Be mindful to look out for warning signs of relapse, encourage continued treatment (therapy, support groups), and build relationships to help a person during their aftercare. 

While many teens might be reaching young adulthood and moving out soon, parents can support them through the process now to set them up for success when they are on their own. We might want to encourage our kids to find support groups or engage in meaningful, healthy activities to help them grow into adults. 

For those struggling with addiction, some common support groups include:

For those struggling with mental health issues, support groups can specialize in different conditions and provide peer support. Explore groups within your community; many can offer help for topics like:

Being Proactive About Aftercare

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

-Ben Franklin

Overall, the best way to help our kids after active-treatment is to be proactive. We can start planning for aftercare while our kid is in treatment, create behavioral contracts for expectations when coming home, plan for what to do in case of relapse, and work on creating a healthy home environment for our kids to return to a safe place.

What happens when our child returns home following a stay at a treatment facility? Within the time that our kid is gone, can we prepare for their return? Families and parents might wonder what to expect after treatment. Some families hope that their family member will return cured or fixed. However, recovery is a long-term process. Treatment is often only the beginning of a life-long journey. Families can anticipate challenges and potential relapses. They can participate in the treatment process to plan for aftercare and support. They can encourage their family member to continue along their journey in recovery. Families can also take this time to work on themselves and address any other issues occurring in the home. If your child has returned from treatment and continues to struggle or relapses, Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center is here to help. Call us today at (303) 443-3343. We’re here to help your family’s fire burn brightest.

Leave a Reply