Why Summer Is a Great Time for Attending Treatment
For those considering attending a treatment program, the topic of when to go is a big one. Treatment can be transformative or even lifesaving, but it can also feel like a significant disruption, particularly for those who are ambivalent or on the fence about attending treatment. In fact, many will require a potentially devastating incident to finally agree to attend a therapeutic program at all.
Summer break is often the best time for students to participate in a treatment program. We will discuss why summer is a great time for treatment and how to navigate uncertainty among those who may not necessarily want to “give up” their summer.
Three reasons why going to treatment in the summer is ideal
1. Students can avoid the distractions of daily life responsibilities.
Attending treatment is no easy feat. It’s incredibly beneficial but can also be emotionally and mentally demanding. This isn’t a bad thing. Learning new skills, unlearning unhelpful behaviors, and gaining the tools necessary to heal and grow should require concentration, vulnerability, and attentiveness.
The summer is a perfect time to focus on this critical work. Free from the distractions of peers and academics, the individual can focus solely on their own treatment needs without worrying about homework, deadlines, tests, and social responsibilities. Then, after the treatment plan is concluded and the student returns to school, they can use the valuable tools and resources they accumulated in a real-world environment.
2. Treatment provides structure during a high-risk time.
For students, summer can be a high-risk time. Disorganized, unproductive days can allow for unhealthy behaviors to creep in. Structure and stability are fundamental in recovery. A lack of structure can lead to circadian rhythm dysregulation, which has a negative impact on mental health, according to one study.
Routines are important for mental health. Getting out of a daily routine can be destabilizing and introduce a variety of detrimental behaviors. Students should stick to a consistent schedule even when they aren’t attending classes for their mental well-being. A dedicated treatment schedule can provide the structure that is lacking during the long summer days.
3. Summer treatment helps prevent academic disruptions.
Education is important. The disruption of an education program can negatively impact a student and cost a lot of time and money in educational recovery if their school year is disrupted by treatment. Attending in the summer is a great chance to bypass the potential for academic disruption.
While many students don’t want to spend their languid summer days in a treatment program, it is likely a preferable alternative to repeating a school semester or falling behind their peers. It’s also great to remind students that most residential programs offer a variety of recreational activities, not to mention the opportunity to build relationships with other people in recovery.
Treatment ambivalence is entirely expected and understandable. For those who are pre-contemplative about the treatment, assisting them in working through their concerns will help them move toward an action stage of change. Explaining the benefits of a summer treatment plan may help move them toward considering summer as the best time to attend a therapeutic treatment program.