What are common signs of addiction?
For many families, it is confusing and painful to understand and accept that someone they love, a family member, is an addict. At first, the affected member may appear almost normal, but may notice subtle changes in behaviour, mood, or activity.
There may also be physical signs, however in the early stages especially, physical signs can be minimal or hard to detect. However, these can include:
loss of appetite; increase in appetite; changes in eating habits; unexplained weight loss or gain; slowed or staggering walk; poor physical coordination; not able to sleep; awake at unusual times; unusual laziness; nodding off in mid-sentence; red, watery eyes; pupils larger or smaller than usual; blank stare; cold, sweaty palms; shaking hands; puffy face; blushing or paleness; smell of substance on breath, body or clothes; hyperactivity and excessive talking; runny nose; hacking cough, nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating; irregular heartbeat; poor skin colour; unusual pimples or marks on skin; poor concentration and memory; or blackouts.
We recommend looking at behaviour, as it is a clearer indication of problems.
What can families do to help?
The most practical and effective way for families to help an addict is to change their response to them. To do this, they need to thoroughly understand the family patterns of dependence.
Many families are confused about how to best help their loved one, and mistakenly offer money, food, time, advice or support, believing they must help or “rescue” the addict. Unfortunately, this often makes things worse in the long term and the person they are trying to help may resent them for “interfering”. Other families may be so desperate with circumstances that they feel they have no choice but to attempt to control or threaten the addict, in order to protect their family. In this case, they may be seen as the “persecutor” by the addict.
Malvern Private recognises that addiction not only affects an individual’s health, but also every facet of their lives. Our Family Support Program aims to inform, educate, encourage and inspire family members develop strategies to cultivate and grow a new approach to their life and the relationship with the addict family member.
No matter where loved ones are at on their journey, be it still in the grip of active addiction or on the road to recovery, family members can still come to the Family Support Program because they will discover a fountain of information, support, sharing and solutions.
The Family Support Program is facilitated by a qualified member of our professional staff. Each group has a fee attached.
A Family Support Program information pack can be obtained by calling 03 9885 9621. Booking can also be made via this number.
Do clients need private health insurance to access the Malvern Private program?
Having private health insurance (depending on what level of cover you have) will substantially reduce the cost of the program. You can still access the program without health insurance.
Any queries about cost can be directed to Malvern Private by calling 03 9885 9621
STAGES OF THE PROGRAM EXPLAINED
Can clients still work during the program?
The length of the program is flexible depending on the client’s needs, however a good rule of thumb is round 4 weeks, so clients need to make arrangements with their family and employer to be absent during this time. As this is an immersion program, clients will not be able to participate in the normal activities of life during admission.
STAGE ONE. BEING ADMITTED - DETOX AND THE FIRST WEEK
What is involved in the detoxification part of the program?
Detoxification is different for every client and the detoxification process can last for several days. We do not allow drug substitutions such as methadone. Instead, clients will be weaned off substances of addiction as quickly as medical assessment allows. We make every effort to ensure that you are as comfortable and as pain free as possible.
- After the orientation and medical checks are completed detox program begins.
- We will make sure that you are as comfortable as possible during the initial stage of detoxing.
- Some people report feeling very tired and needing to sleep most of the time, others report feeling comfortable and able to start the program proper sooner.
- Your family members are more than welcome to call the hospital to check on your progress.
- You will attend the New Client Induction Session to introduce you to the program.
Challenges around this time
- It is during this stage that people question why they have entered the program and contemplate leaving. We cannot emphasise enough the importance of staying and working through this period.
- People who complete the program have a greater chance of achieving recovery than those that don’t.
- It is important to remember that treatment is a commitment and that patients need to keep the commitment. Our staff are trained to deal with this common issue.
- We understand this is a difficult time for family as well, staff are happy to support as needed.
STAGE TWO. ENTERING THE PROGRAM POST DETOX
This component involves an introduction to a range of therapeutic approaches to recovery, delivered by trained, experienced and dedicated staff. These include;
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapies (CBT).
- Mindfulness techniques.
- Skills building and education sessions
- Role-plays scenarios.
- Individual and group counselling sessions,
- Therapeutic listening and problem solving programs focusing on specific life situations with tailored strategies for individual clients.
- Art therapy.
- Exercise such as walks, yoga or relaxation sessions.
- Intensive group therapy, sharing experiences and stories with others in recovery, and promotion of healthy ways to reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
Challenges around this time
- Sometimes, these processes can also provide triggers for a person to behave impulsively and decide to leave the program before completion.
- It is important both patients and family liaise with the Counselling team to deal with any issues that arise at this time.
- Again, it is important to remember that treatment is a commitment and that patients need to keep the commitment. Our staff are trained to deal with this common issue.
- Families are encouraged to be supportive, but maintain boundaries – seek help for staff if you are or your loved one are experiencing challenges.
- Remember the commitment to recovery – staying clean and sober.
STAGE THREE. DISCHARGE AND BEYOND
Moving on from Malvern Private can be full of mixed emotions. People are often scared of things to come, excited to be getting on with life and nervous about the potentials of relapse. Patients and families can often feel fear and anxiety over relapse, concern over returning to life’s commitments and leaving the program, anxious about being around potential triggers and how to act in social settings.
The Treating Team will collaborate with the client during their stay to prepare a plan for discharge and beyond. This plan aims to cover;
- Attendance at the Day Program and After Care Program.
- Education for family and family meetings if needed so they understand how best to support recovery,
- Attend AA/NA/GA meetings on a regular, ongoing basis.
- Develop a relationship with support persons such as a sponsor, counsellor or therapist.
- Develop a discharge/crisis management plan.
- Address urgent practical problems before discharge.
Aware that addiction is a chronic and relapsing condition, a 2-4 week Day Program is run at the hospital, once clients have completed the residential stay. We know that relapse prevention is central to long term recovery. During this time clients return from 8.30am to midday each day for ongoing sessions and counselling.
The Aftercare Program is scheduled weekly at the hospital. This program assists clients with their ongoing individual recovery, helping them maintain abstinence, and provides an opportunity for clients to talk about their recovery post their stay at Malvern Private.
Strategies to making it work after discharge
- Talk feelings through as a couple / family.
- Have time to rest / relax.
- Remember progress not perfection
- Stay connected with support programs.
- Ensure a daily routine.
- Plan ahead to avoid triggers.
- Encourage attendance at the Day Programs.
- 90 in 90!
- Ensure attendance at Aftercare on Monday nights.
What happens on arrival?
On arrival clients are shown to their room and admitted by nursing and medical staff. Baggage will be searched by two staff members, and items not required will be stored. A folder containing more detailed information, a timetable for the program and a journal to use will be provided. Clients will also be orientated into the program and the physical environment, i.e. laundry, dining room etc. As soon as medical clearance is given clients may start participating in group. Once the program has commenced, clients are expected to be punctual, and participate fully in the program.
Who will be involved in a client’s care at Malvern Private?
A multidisciplinary team, which includes nursing staff, counsellors, addiction medical doctors, consultants, and psychiatrists if needed, will be involved in client’s care. A counsellor and contact nurse will be appointed in the first 24 hours of admission and one-on-one sessions will be available with counsellors and nursing staff as appropriate.
Can clients make phone calls?
For the first 5 days clients are not allowed to use the phone, as during the detoxification phase of the program it is important to rest both physically and psychologically. It is also an important part of immersion in the program to be as free as possible from outside distractions and dramas.From day five onwards, one phone call can be made between the hours of 5.00pm-7.00pm. Calls are limited to 5 minutes only. Local calls are free and a phone card is required to call mobile phones.
When can family and friends visit?
Once completion of the first five days of the program has occurred visitors are allowed. The number of visitors is limited and the names of the visitors need to be nominated by the client upon admission, this is discussed further during the assessment process.
What support programs are there for family members?
The Family Support Program is facilitated by a qualified member of our professional staff. Each group has a fee attached. A Family Support Program information pack can obtain by calling the hospital, or places booked by calling 03 9885 9621