Who Is Rehab For?

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What kind of people go to into treatment? Stereotypes might spring to mind of the chronic alcoholic, hotel-trashing musician, or the disgraced footballer; all bound by a common assumption that such people lack self-control or moral values, people who are somehow different from or far worse than us.

So pervasive are the misconceptions about what rehab is and who it’s for, that many people who would benefit enormously from treatment will never entertain the idea. Some may feel they do not qualify or that their problems ’aren’t bad enough’. Many people talk themselves out of the incredible support available to them in rehab and continue to live a kind of half life, rather than grabbing the life changing resource that good rehab is.

Alcoholism, addiction and eating disorders do not discriminate across socio-economic or cultural groups, and neither does depression, anxiety and trauma. No one is immune. In rehab, just like in life, you find the type of people you might bump into at the grocer, sit next to at the hairdresser, have a chat with at Saturday sport, or wave at across the street when you arrive home in the evening. The people in treatment are your beautician, your lawyer, your yoga teacher, your accountant, your dentist, your plumber. They are nurses, doctors, army veterans, business owners, sporting figures, creatives, and stay-at-home Mums. They are your neighbour, your cousin, your father, your sister, or your best friend; dealing with their alcoholism, eating disorder, cocaine addiction, gambling addiction, anorexia, bulimia, grief and loss, anxiety, medication addiction or burnout. The spectrum is broad, and so is the degree of dysfunction.

Rehab is not just for end-of-the-line drunks who are on the brink of losing everything. Many people come in with their functioning still reasonably intact in many areas of their lives. Some are high functioning, but their close relationships are in tatters. Some have spent their lives being focused on others and are burnt out. Some need help to find their strength; others their vulnerability. Others come in to be supported as they leave a relationship, get through a divorce, grieve the loss of a child, save a marriage. Some come to heal childhood trauma. Many come to learn the fundamentals of how be in good relationship with themselves and others, how to value and take care of themselves, and how to get connected to life again. Most are just everyday people who want the pain to stop and recognise that they need help from others to do it.

Very often people in treatment are deeply feeling people whose psychological symptoms carry important messages, insights, opportunities, and invitations for change, both for themselves and for those around them.

Ultimately, rehab is a place where all the stereotypes melt away. And, if there was one common trait in treatment populations that turns up, time and time again, it is not poor self-control or questionable values, or zero will power – it is courage beyond measure and a willingness to lay bare the truth of who they are, to transform their pain into a life worth living.

Byron Private offers an effective pathway to recovery for those living with alcohol and substance use and mental health. If you or someone you love is needing help, please reach out to our clinical team for a confidential discussion on 02 6684 4145.