Eva Carlston Academy
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Parent Isolation During Treatment

Oftentimes, parents will talk about feeling alone when their child is in treatment, which is valid. Many life changes are happening to you and your family at once and it can be difficult to navigate through these new adjustments. Learning to reach out for support or help can feel taboo if you’ve never had to do it before.  

Feeling Isolated During Your Child’s Treatment

Behavioral and mental health issues in young people are not uncommon but still carry real or perceived stigmas. This can intensify the feelings of loneliness and isolation. You may feel like your family won’t understand or agree with your choice to put your daughter into treatment. It’s important to remember that even though your friends’ kids may look like they are fine or “on track,” every child is different. 

Many parents find out that people they know have either had a child or family member in some form of treatment or have struggled with significant unhealthy and ineffective behaviors with a child. Even families who look “perfect” from the outside. Don’t let negative feelings of “we failed as parents and had to put her in treatment.” or “We can’t talk to anyone who knows us because it would be too shameful,” stay in your mind. 

5.1 million young adults in 2018 were struggling with substance abuse, and 8.9 million young adults struggled with mental illnesses. Your child may be struggling right now but you and your family are not alone. It’s vital to find a solid support system that will help you through your child’s treatment, this can and should include the professionals from treatment, but also at home. 

Why Parent Support Is Important

Parents sometimes struggle with the idea of making additional time for therapy in an already hectic week, but the long-term benefits not only to themselves and their marriage/relationship but to their relationship with their child during and after treatment, are immeasurable.

If you and your partner are not on the same page, this can add greatly to feeling isolated. Did one parent feel more strongly about pursuing treatment than the other? How do you reconcile and work through that? 

Relationships/marriages can suffer from the conflictual family dynamics and even trauma that occurred before treatment, as well as difficult feelings during the treatment process (e.g., guilt, anger). 

Resources like individual therapy, marriage, couples, and family therapy can help alleviate the pressures and confusing thoughts when your child is in treatment. Reaching out to these programs can give you the confidence boost you may need to contact your family and friends that you know can help you as well. 

Are you utilizing all the support and guidance available to parents from the program? Many programs have parent psychoeducational and support webinars or real-time teachers/coaches.  These can provide additional support and a safe place to discuss issues that come up and can have a lasting impact on the success of your child post-treatment.

“Making the time for your own therapy is important. Not only does it give you a safe and judgment-free environment to discuss your feelings about your child in treatment, doing your own work in parallel to your child’s increases the likelihood you will be able to be more honest and generally communicative with each other when they come home.”

Ericka Lagrone – Parent Coach


  1. Michael B says:

    Thank you for publishing this article. Parent support it not talked about enough. When my child was away for treatment, it hit me like a ton bricks. I knew it was something that was going to greatly help the rest of her life, but once she was away there was no bracing for it. After about a week and a lot of reading online I started individual therapy. This turned out to be a very helpful gateway for me to discuss ongoing family dynamics, and what I can do to improve post-treatment.

    1. Eva Carlston says:

      Thank you for your comment. We hope that other parents see this and recognize that they are not alone and it is important to get the support you need.

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