Difficult days in treatment
We wish that treatment and recovery were easy. We wish that it was pain-free. But it’s not. In fact, it may be the hardest work that your loved one has ever done.
We know how difficult it is when someone you love is suffering. But the only way that your loved one will be able to shed their disorder — and thrive — is to do the work recommended in treatment and dedicate themselves to a full recovery.
Feeling ambivalent about treatment
When your loved one starts treatment, you may wonder if this is the right place for them. You may wonder if they are really "sick enough" to need help. Or, you may feel a huge sense of relief.
At times, our patients — and even their families — will question us and ask us if intensive care is really necessary. Commonly, we hear our patients say,
- “I’m not as sick as the other patients are.”
- “I have no friends here.”
- “I feel worse since coming here.”
These statements are normal and, typically, these types of feelings will pass within a few days.
If you or your loved one feel ambivalent or unsure about the course of treatment, know that you have a choice. You can choose to work towards a full and complete recovery or you can choose life with the disorder. And if you do choose the path to recovery, know that full recovery will not be possible without hard work.
Often, particularly when it comes to young people in treatment, we see the following scenario: parents will drop their child or adolescent off at the treatment center. The parents feel a sense of relief. But the child has to suddenly quit their coping behaviors. The child is immediately overwhelmed. Depending on the age of the child, they may or may not have words to express this frustration. They may or may not have the insight into what is going on.
Negative experiences are normal and to be expected at some point in recovery. Tears, anxiety and anger are part of the process of shedding the disorder. But if you find that your loved one is resisting care, consider the following:
- Validate them. Tell them you understand how hard this is.
- Support them. Tell them that this is the right place to be.
- Third, if your child continues to resist treatment, encourage your child to share these thoughts and feelings with their therapist — and make sure you talk to the treatment team directly.
The toughest days of treatment
In treatment, your loved one will experience physical sensations and emotions that they have not felt in some time. This can be overwhelming and unpleasant. We remind our patients that this discomfort is temporary and that “it’s okay to have a bad day.” In time, the pain and discomfort will lessen and will be much easier to manage.
The first few days and weeks of treatment are really hard. In these difficult moments, remind yourself of why your loved one considered treatment in the first place. It’s likely that they started treatment because they were facing a severe, and possibly life-threatening, health crisis.
Please know that your loved one is safe with us. Our care facilities are designed to keep our patients physically and emotionally safe. Their well being will always be our top priority.
Making progress in recovery
Recovery does not always occur in a straight line. There will be setbacks and successes on the path to recovery. Your love and support will be crucial to help your loved one get through the rough patches. So we ask you to have hope. And we will teach you how to support your loved one through recovery.
If you are the parent of a child who is ill, you may want to do what you can to “fix” your child’s problem — and you may want to fix things quickly. But the truth is that you can’t fix it all for them. Instead, you can support, validate and encourage them to do the hard work of treatment. Their job is to focus on getting better and your job is to support them.
Supporting your loved one in care
Treatment is often overwhelming and emotional for everyone. It takes time and a lot of work to process these very hard changes. One of the best pieces of advice we can offer is that you talk openly with the treatment team and trust the team’s guidance. We are here for you.