What is this?!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Lilac mom, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. Lilac mom

    Lilac mom New Member

    Hello parents,

    Thanks in advance for listening and any advice you have to give. I've been reading for a while till I feel like I almost know some of you.

    I have a 17 year old son with a diagnoses of "anxiety" who uses pot as his (illegal) "medicine". He has been difficult since he was a baby. Some of his issues over the past years have been:

    • hates having his haircut (hairs falling and scratching his neck)
    • very picky eater
    • sensitivity to fabric
    • easily melts down
    • MAJOR biter as a toddler
    • school anxiety
    • habitual truant junior year--left school to "smoke"
    • little ability to keep a job (does not like to be told what to do--for example if his boss tells him to get off his phone he can't deal) Also at current job freaked out because people he knew came in and SAW him--omg--horror!
    • in past, obsession with avoiding germs (would wash his hands raw in 7th grade-had a fit once until I made a special trip to the store for hand sanitizer), wouldn't shake people's hands, etc..
    • very particular about clothing, can't have lint on it or smell too strongly of detergant
    • difficulty with certain sounds like car windshield wiper/windows rolled down
    • "addiction" to computer games--smallworlds, minecraft, etc...to the exclusion of EVERYTHING ELSE, not currently as computer is broken. Other "addictions" throughout the year have included Pokemon, becoming a bodybuilder (we had to then go out and buy EVERYTHING for his new obsession), etc...etc...etc....Currently obsessed with marijuana and "accessories" for smoking it.
    • little ability to focus on schoolwork
    • Very smart in certain areas like computers and math, but extreme difficulty with spelling, foreign language and analyzing of books and literature.
    • Things have to be a certain way--HIS WAY--or he freaks out and has a "tantrum"
    • if he's into something, he puts in 100%, but then moves onto the next thing very suddenly.
    there's more--lots more--these are just some of the things that came to mind. He is seeing a psychiatrist soon for the first time. The anxiety diagnoses was given to him by a counselor. I guess I just wonder if it's more than just "garden variety" anxiety. He's SO extreme, so EVERYTHING. It's just so exhausting. It's hard to summarize 17 years in the space I have here, I just wondered if someone might have any ideas. To me he acts kind of like an aspie (socially different, but yet did have a lovely girlfriend of one year and currently has some pot smoking friends, sort of flat affect, sensory stuff) but then, he's also super impulsive and a risk taker/rule breaker which isn't aspie, right? And then, his moods--ugh, not good. He's been drug tested twice, only pot came up.

    Thanks for reading if you got through this, if you have any input I am all ears. :smile-new:
     
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    im sure you will get many other responses. Has he ever had a neuropsychological (not to be confused with neurology...they are different) evaluation? A psychiatrist would miss this if its what I think is going on. I don't think its a psychiatric problem, but rather a neurological difference, like my son has. Psychiatrists didnt help my son either and they misdiagnosed him with bipolar. My son clearly, now that he has had proper interventions, has NO hint of bipolar. Once he did, but not now.

    I have a twenty three year old son high on the autism spectrum and he had/has almost every symptom/issue you have mentioned. He is doing well now as he has received a lot of intervention throughout his life.

    I highly suggest you get a neuropsychological evaluation before he graduates. Your son sounds "differently wired." There is help for quirky people like our son's. My son will only wear certain material, hates strong smells and loud noiseb(but he sure used to MAKE loud noise...lol), loves computers snd videogames (typical for spectrum kids) and has other challenges that he is overcoming more and more each year. The part about needing things to be only one way or throwing a tantrum just SCREAMS autism. My son doesn't do this anymore, but he did at one time. Its a huge trait of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). A red flag. Rigid thinking is too.

    I dont believe he is being difficult on purpose.

    My son doesn't touch pot, but very high anxiety is also a part of even high functioning autism. I can see a kid on the spectrum using pot.

    It cant hurt to test your son. A neuropsycologist is highly regarded so there are often long waiting lists. If it were me, I'd want it done before he graduates. He could get a lot of help now and even after he graduates.

    Whether or not you decide to try this route, I wish you well and hope for the best. by the way, the pot is NOT making things better! Good luck. (Look up Aspergers Syndrome in your search engine before you discount autism)!!!! :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
  3. Lilac mom

    Lilac mom New Member

    Thanks so much for responding, SWOT.

    This is hard, its been a loooong 17 years! He has his sweet side, I just want to say, he can be so sweet and affectionate with me (tells me he loves me every day, will hug me), very sweet with our animals, but then, there's that other side that just....ugh.

    Yes, I agree about the pot, I know it's not making things better. His grades dropped from 3.5 to 1.0 since he started it. I hate it and he does not use it in my home, but at friends, which I feel powerless to control. I sort of thought at first that it was "no big deal" until I realized that for some, for him, it IS a huge problem--like alcohol for some is a problem. They say it's not addictive, but he tried to stop over the weekend and after two days without it he was a monster. Just awful TOTAL meltdown, throwing clothes all over his room, screaming, cursing, agitated, agressive--not violent but really angry. Anyway, big eye opener for me, that he IS truly addicted to marijuana--psychologically or whatever, it doesn't matter. Whoever said pot's not addictive never met my kid.

    He's not one who can do anything in moderation, that's for sure. I almost feel like he's a weird aspie+adhd mix. For some reason I feel like I would feel better if I knew there was a REASON he acts so darn OFF. That I could work with this if I knew he couldn't HELP it. Does that make sense?

    Is there rehab for pot--is that such a thing? I sort of feel like he needs it because of his behavior this weekend when he tried to stop (after texting me that he felt like he was screwing up his life with his bad choices and wanted his old life back) his anxiety was THROUGH.THE.ROOF.

    I agree that the neuropsychologist evaluation is a good idea--I will check to see if I can get this covered by insurance. I hope so. No, he's never had one. For now we do once a week family therapy--him, me and his father (my ex husband). This was court ordered due to son's habitual truancy. Son does not participate much so I'm not sure how much it's helping, honestly. He is very rude to the therapist. He told her he doesn't "like her" (she's very nice--and I think what he really means is "I don't like this"), but still....so rude. He mostly shrugs when she asks him anything or says "I don't know".

    I do feel bad that I've waited so long to face things--he's been like this so long and I just didn't want to accept that he needed help. Now I feel like he's 17 and I'm running out of time to help him.

    Thanks for listening to me vent, it feels good to not feel so alone with all of this.
     
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It's not too late.

    I'd do a neuropsyc evaluation as soon as possible. He doesn't sound unusual for an aspie. He sounds like a typical aspie. As I said, everything you mention is familiar to me. My son however...we just knew it was Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and pushed (hard) for early and intensive services so he outgrew a lot of his behaviors, like the tantrums, young and he really made progress. However an aspie can progress with the right help at any time.

    If he is an aspie, talk therapy doesn't work well as they don't communicate well, even if they have a good vocabulary. My son has no mental health issues and is learning to socialize in a neurotypical way. He works part time and along with some SSI, he lives in his own apartment with little help from anyone and has made a very close friend. He spends a lot of time when not at work and softball playing video games or watching movies. This is normal for somebody on the spectrum. They have narrow interests and lack imagination so it is hard for them to amuse themselves.
    With interventions though they CAN live fairly normal lives, but usually always eccentric. It is important to get your son help...the tantrums at his age will make him stand out...and he can learn how to deal with change and differences in better ways.

    Don't go into denial. It doesn't help. It impedes. It will stop your son from finding out why he is different and where he can get help to function in a more acceptable way. He could need supports even as an adult. Accept this and help him. Better to be safe than very sorry later.

    I don't know what to do about the pot. I'd focus on a diagnosis first. in my opinion his disorder is causing his behavior more than the pot. Of course,you can get help for both things too. Seems like your son was very very different before he ever smoked pot. Find out what is at the base of it. He was this way from birth. This points to a disorder.

    Keep us posted.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
  5. Lilac mom

    Lilac mom New Member

    Hmmm....you've definitely given me a lot to think about and a lot that sounds familiar--rigid thinking, narrow interests, lack of imagination. Check, check and check!

    Thanks again, I'll keep you posted, hopefully we can make some progress on a diagnoses!
     
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It sounds like part of his problems include a great deal of sensory integration disorder. His body doesn't react to sensory input the way most people's do. For him an itchy shirt isn't something that will go away or that he can ignore - his body and brain won't let him. I have severe sensory issues also. I wore my only clean dress to a doctor appointment 70 miles from home. For some reason this dress itched and it was on my brain every second of the 4.5 HOURS that I was gone. It was truly agonizing and painful by the end. This is how I react given my sensory issues.

    My food issues are difficult to manage. When I say I don't like something, I often mean I will gag if I try to eat it. Some foods, like liver and any form of coconut, cause me to actually vomit if I try to eat them or even if I get a strong odor of them. It can make like really tough and few people understand that this is out of my control.

    It is likely that your son reacts like this. To learn more about it, read The Out of Sync Child by Kranowitz. It explains the problem very well.

    I also think pot is a big problem for your son, but I don't know anything other than maybe rehab that will help.

    A neuropsychologist evaluation is a great thing also. Be sure to have them test for learning disabilities esp given his challenges with certain subjects.

    Another great book is Parenting Your Teen With Love & Logic.
     
  7. Praecepta

    Praecepta Active Member

    Quote: "...we had to then go out and buy EVERYTHING for his new obsession..."

    Sounds like he is in charge, not you! Might want to switch that around.
     
  8. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I couldn't help but compare our boys. My son is now 21 and things don't seem to be improving much...but he agreed to do a neuropsyc workup...so we'll see.

    • hates having his haircut (hairs falling and scratching his neck)
    Mine hates this...but mostly hates messing with his hair.
    • very picky eater
    Yes...but getting better
    • sensitivity to fabric
    Not that I know of
    • easily melts down
    Yep
    • MAJOR biter as a toddler
    No
    • school anxiety
    I don't really think so
    • habitual truant junior year--left school to "smoke"
    He did get that way a bit
    • little ability to keep a job (does not like to be told what to do--for example if his boss tells him to get off his phone he can't deal) Also at current job freaked out because people he knew came in and SAW him--omg--horror!
    Not sure of the reason, but yes, hard to keep a job.
    • in past, obsession with avoiding germs (would wash his hands raw in 7th grade-had a fit once until I made a special trip to the store for hand sanitizer), wouldn't shake people's hands, etc.
    Not that extreme, but yes. He hates getting "stuff" on his hands. By the same token, he won't wash them.
    • very particular about clothing, can't have lint on it or smell too strongly of detergent
    No
    • difficulty with certain sounds like car windshield wiper/windows rolled down
    No
    • "addiction" to computer games--smallworlds, minecraft, etc...to the exclusion of EVERYTHING ELSE, not currently as computer is broken. Other "addictions" throughout the year have included Pokemon, becoming a bodybuilder (we had to then go out and buy EVERYTHING for his new obsession), etc...etc...etc....Currently obsessed with marijuana and "accessories" for smoking it.
    Lordy yes!
    • little ability to focus on schoolwork
    Not sure
    • Very smart in certain areas like computers and math, but extreme difficulty with spelling, foreign language and analyzing of books and literature.
    Seemed pretty good at everything academic
    • Things have to be a certain way--HIS WAY--or he freaks out and has a "tantrum"
    Yep
    • if he's into something, he puts in 100%, but then moves onto the next thing very suddenly.
    Definitely
    Read more: http://www.conductdisorders.com/community/threads/what-is-this.62476/#ixzz4D4cczjVw

    If you are like me, you are beating yourself up for this. Don't.

    I always knew something wasn't "right" with my son. When he was very young (3), I had him at a child psychologist at the demand of his daycare. He tried to put him on Ritalin the quack. So I took him to a child psychiatrist...no diagnosis was ever given. But I researched Asperger's syndrome among other things. Still, he was so high functioning, so bright and the issues seemed so minor, I thought, "What good would it do to go thru all the evaluations, etc?" and so I didn't.

    I regret it.

    But it's never too late to try to help them. Your son is young enough you really can force him to go ... try. Mine is finally open to the suggestion, or at least he's agreed to keep from getting kicked out of our home. So we'll see.

    Welcome to the boards. This is a good place, full of helpful and empathic ears.
     
  9. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Not to sound like a nay sayer but are you sure? We thought that for a long time too until we found out differently and that it had been going on for a while. Not saying that he definitely is, just that the possibility does exist.
     
  10. Lilac mom

    Lilac mom New Member

    Hi all, thanks for your thoughtful replies.

    Susiestar, I have read some about sensory disorder. This fits. He tends to be temperature sensitive--gets hot really easily. Forgot about that one. And doesnt like touching 'gross' things...for instance he likes oranges but wont peel them because his hands would get sticky. I know he sounds like a 5 year old.

    Pracepta, yes, unfortunately you are correct. I guess ive let this happen because he WORE ME DOWN. AND OUT. When he wants something he is simply relentless. He will not take a simple NO for an answer. I AM working on this one though, but man its hard. Not hard to say no, but hard to follow through because he is...tenascious...determined...?

    Lil, yes from what ive read your son sounds a lot like mine. Iasked him yesterday if he is trying to break me but thats what it feels like sometimes. He said no. Everyday more drama. Last night was a text at 2:36 a.m. to pick him up a friends where he was spending the night. Because he was hot. I did not, my phone was on silent so I didnt see the text till morning.. He knows i had to work today. I will work on having him evaluated. I will work on those feeling of guilt, too. Thank you!

    Jabber, he did smoke it at home before and he tried to be sneaky but it was sooo obvious (rolled up towel under door) . No signs currently that hes smoking at home, but its possible....
     
  11. Praecepta

    Praecepta Active Member

    Two things which can help...
    -An Assertiveness Training Class - Ask a mental health type or family physician for where to go for this.
    -Parenting Class - Ask your school counselor.

    FYI - For me, "substance abuse types" are the WORST with this. I say they are "working my nerves" when they repeatedly ask for something and don't give up! They push it and push it. So I know quite well what you are talking about. Not easy to keep saying no.
     
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Of course I could be wrong, but I have to respectfully disagree with the above poster. The child is not a substance abuser. His birthmother was. Alcohol in utero damages impulsive control in the brain. Yes, the behaviors are annoying, but they really are not willful misbehavior.

    Regular parenting and common sense methods dont usially work with kids whi have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). dont blame yourself. Nobody could have done better. you cant force a cihild who is differently wired to listen, no matter what method you try. My autistic son used to bite me or throw his time out chair or break his door..until he received interventions that helped his disorder. And its a serious disorder as you know. This is not about lack of consistency by itself. Or about your assertiveness skills. Its about the child's brain damage. I successfully raised a child whose birthmother used drugs and drank while pregnant and he needed help and treatment to even be able to behave well.

    Now he is an angel.

    Be proactive about having him evaluated and getting support. You need to learn what works and does not for a child with this sort of organic brain damage.

    Good luck and let go of any guilt. This damage to him happened before you met him...before he was even born.

    Hugs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
  13. Praecepta

    Praecepta Active Member

    Actually the people I was referring to are themselves substance abusers. I call them "druggies". Many are homeless - those are the types which "work my nerves". I have no idea if their mothers were also substance abusers.

    Anyway that is what they all have in common - they are substance abusers (meth, heroin, etc.)
     
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    oh, yea. I see :)
     
  15. Lilac mom

    Lilac mom New Member

    Wha....??! Am I missing something? My son does not have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), I AM his birth mother (never did drugs or alcohol during pregnancy) and he DOES have a substance abuse disorder (pot). Maybe my post was confusing or you are referring to someone else. Sorry if I'm misunderstanding.

    Pracepta, did you mean an assertiveness training class for me? I feel like I AM assertive with him. Well, I try to be. Let me give you an example of his behavior so you will better understand what I deal with. We are doing a family therapy program 1x per week as a result of son's truancy.

    Son "burns" his finger in wood shop on one of the little tools they use. He texts me that he needs to be picked up. I say no, run it under cold water and go see the nurse if you need salve or something. He proceeds to text me 76 times (I counted, and I'm not exagerating, I swear) trying to get me to pick him up from school. I did not get him until school was out. His finger was fine, just a very tiny little blister. He eventually apologized for the 76 text freak out.

    What I'm trying to illustrate here is how extreme he is when he doesn't get what he wants. I'm sure I've created a monster by giving in to him over the years so that now he feels like I will give in, and now I'm paying a price for it. Boy am I ever! :(
     
  16. Praecepta

    Praecepta Active Member

    Yes assertiveness training is specifically geared toward dealing with "aggressive" people who will not take no for an answer. That can help.

    And the parenting groups can help you let off some steam/learn new tricks. I went to my first parenting group and everyone was smiling! I thought they all must have really well behaved kids??? It turned out their kids were worse than mine! They just learned (working together) how to handle these kids.
     
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sorry. Confused you with another poster.

    I think you need to look into autism. Test him first before you take any classes for yourself. See what the neuropsychologist says, what is wrong and specific interventions to help him. This isn't about you. It's about his bring different and responding to the world in a different way. It IS Unlikely HE CAN CHANGE Without getting interventions
    It is not our faults. Our kids bring us here, not be causing we are lacking as parents but because they are wired differently and normal parenting methods don't work. Most of us have tried everything, including blaming ourselves a lot.
    My best advice, having raised an atypical child, is to get him diagnosed and helped through the community and school. You don't have to be a super parent for a typical child, but parenting becomes a herculean task and a constant battle when a child's mind is di#erect from a typically wired child.

    I hope you make that appointment. Made all the difference for my son. My typical childen were easy to parent. Not my autistic son. You didn't create a monster. He is just not like other kids.

    Here's a secret. Most parents with these relentless, impossible to parent differently wired kids DO give into them. You don't have a choice or they freak out in public and everyone looks at us expecting us to take them out of the environment. You are not alone. I stopped taking my autistic son to the store with me because if he got tired or I had to say no he would lose control and scream louder than a lion and disturb (horrify),everyone else. Sometimes I bought things to shut him ip...lol.

    He is 23 now and as calm, and sweet as a tulip, but he got a lot of help from early on. Never too late to try. He is still yoing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
  18. Lilac mom

    Lilac mom New Member

    SWOT, thank you, youve given me a lot to think about and a lot of reassurance actually...I read your post over several times. It was sort of like a great cup of coffee, my cat sleeping in my lap and a really good book all rolled up into one insightful post. :)

    I think the word relentless is pretty perfect to describe my son. But now he is sleeping with the cat cuddled up in his bed and so for this moment at least he is just...sweet.

    Pracepta, I think getting involved with a parenting support group is a good idea, if only to meet other parents who are going through this, maybe get ideas and share resources. Im not really a "joiner" but....Its defintely something for me to consider.

    Lots of hard earned wisdom on these boards I am finding!
     
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