19 year-old in crisis


New Member
In Aug 2020, our 19 year old son went back to college without our support (due to poor grades). He had no mental health issues as far as we knew.

At the end of Oct, we got a call from friends that he was delusional, was wandering the streets, had lost his car, computer, etc. His dad went to get him, and found out he’d been smoking weed almost daily and had taken some LSD. (He had been warned against drugs because of a family history of mental illness. We had no idea he had been using.) We found the car, but took it from him. We took him to a psychiatrist, but he wouldn’t take medications.

It seemed that he was slowly improving until the end of Dec, when police called to say he was hallucinating. We found out he’d been with friends smoking weed again. We took him to the hospital, and he was there for 5 days until he signed himself out. We had arranged for him to go to a 60 day mental health/drug treatment facility, but he refused to go. He wandered the streets for 2 days, losing his wallet, money, ID. Police called us twice a few nights later, saying he was half dressed in freezing temps, knocking on random doors.

They took him to a different hospital. He was there 10 days and did not contact us at all. Just showed up at our door via taxi on Tues. We tried to talk to him, but he ran off. He came back that night, but took off the next morning (today). We got a call this afternoon saying he was sitting in the rain outside of a random business, and they were going to call the police. The police talked to him, and he came back home.

We are a homeschooling family with 7 other kids. We cannot live like this. I found a boarding house that will take him, but it won’t do any good if he runs off. Not sure a shelter would work, either. The only thing I can think to do is drop him back off at the hospital and hope they will take him. He has no other family or friends to help him.
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Well-Known Member
Hi Miracle, I just wanted to say hello and welcome.
I’m sorry that your family is going through this. I can’t offer any practical help because I’m in Australia and our medical/mental health system is different here. However, it does sound like he needs medical help and I think the hospital is a good option.

Others will be along soon who may offer more practical help, but do know that you are not alone. Many of us here have kids who have been through similar crises.

In many ways there isn’t much you can do other than seek to place him in medical care and set boundaries in your own mind for what you will and won’t accept. You have your other children to think of too.

Are you and your partner on the same page about what/how much to do for your sonThat makes it easier - if you are a team. My husband and I gave our eldest son a time frame to move out of our house and in the end we helped him to get accommodation. But by drawing a line in the sand and by us presenting a united front, we created a situation where he knew we were serious and he started to take some responsibility for himself.

Having said all that, your son is still very young and sounds quite ill. If it were me. I would be trying to get medical help (perhaps admission to a psychiatric unit if possible) for him, but also talking to your partner about what happens in the long term and making sure the two of you are on the same page.


Well-Known Member
Hi sweet mother. I get how hard this is and the pain you feel. And the fear.

My beloved and cherished daughter is mentally ill and has taken some strong drugs. Pot seems to make her paranoid. Pot sadly is not innocuous for some, especially the mentally ill. My daughter is homeless and in her 30s. She can't come home and she won't get help. Same situation. Certainly your other kids need to live in peace. You are not abandoning your son....you offer him solutions. He just won't accept them.

So here we are, you and I.

For a decade we paid for our daughter to have places to live. We soon discovered that she would sabatage all of these nice warm places. All. So now she lives in an old beaten up mobile home that she and her equally challenged husband bought for very cheap or were given. I never got a straight story. Their son thankfully lives with my other daughter.

This is not what I wanted for my beautiful first child. But we tried and she won't help herself. At all. She also smokes pot every day. Says it's a healthy plant. Maybe it is for some but not for her.

I wish I had better advice but my experience shows me that we can't control other people, even our children. Keep offering ideas and maybe he will finally agree. Until then, he is sick and unwilling to get help, like my daughter. Your other kids must be considered. I have others too.

Although I never could help Kay, my husband and I found trememdous help for us in Nar Anon and private therapy. I highly recommend going for help to learn coping tools. We were in a very bad way and I felt so guilty and like a horrid mother before NarAnon and therapy. It is good to no longer feel those ways.

I send prayers and hugs and if you have God in your life it helps to give your child to God.
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New Member
My husband and I are on the same page. He took our son back up to the hospital today, and the nurse convinced our son to check himself in. I hope they keep him until he can at least get to the point of making rational decisions.

Thank you for the prayers! We are believers, and we know God is our only hope!


Well-Known Member
You might see if you have a local NAMI group, or attend a few meetings at AlAnon or NarAnon. They will help you not to feel so alone and can be a support group for you. I hope your son gets to a place he is willing to accept help. Addiction is hard. Addiction and mental illness is really hard! Ksm


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

Glad you found us but sorry you have to be here. It sounds like your son only has issues when he smokes pot or does other drugs. Is that right? If so, you have to wonder why he keeps doing this. Or perhaps past use brought out a psychosis in him? I have heard of that especially in families where mental illness resides.

Similar to drinking and drug use if there is addiction in the family. Most families have one or the other!

I am so glad that you were able to get him back into the hospital. That is the best place for him. When my son was off the rails I sought a therapist that specialized in addiction and that was amazing for me. I had to learn to think about ME again which I had not done in some time. Our ordeal lasted almost a decade. I aged tremendously during this time.

I also prayed like a mad dog. I know that God is the one that saved our son, without a doubt.

Keep us posted.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Quick thoughts...
It will be good if they take him back at the hospital.
deoending in how severe his condition is...disability is something you might keep in mind for down the road if needed.
others might disagree with me...but I think getting him on medications, and insisting he find a PT job, plus go to weekly therapy and/or NA ...might make it acceptable for him to stay at your home on a trial basis.
no way can he go to therapy regularly if he is working full time. And no way can he get to therapy or any program like NA if he is attempting to work FT right now. Not do-able. Even a pt job might be extremely hard for him.
It starts with a diagnosis and helpful medications. Take extra good care of yourself as this stuff is very hard.
keep on praying.


Well-Known Member
Welcome. It seems to me you took the only road open to you. What a difficult and sad situation. I have a question or two. When he is stable does he have insight into his situation? Which is to ask, does he recognize that he is at risk if he uses marijuana or other drugs, of triggering psychosis? Have you spoken to him about psychosis? That what happens to him is a severe mental illness? Delusions and hallucinations are a thought disorder. He may be self-medicating through the drugs. This is a vicious circle, as you well know. If he keeps refusing medication this vicious circle will continue, I fear.

I think you are wise to set boundaries. The boundaries will help him as well as the family. He needs to know that he has responsibilities to accept treatment and that mental illness is no justification to act badly, to hurt himself and others. He needs to understand that if he does not accept responsibility for his condition this will limit his access in many ways, and the kinds of support you can give him because he will be intolerable to be around and because he is shown to be fundamentally irresponsible without treatment.

All of this is easier said than done. Many of us, if not all, deal with some version of this story. It's impossibly difficult to see them so vulnerable and suffering. In your case, it's cut and dried, with the other children at home. They just can't be exposed to this repeatedly. Your responsibility is to them.

All of which you understand, I know. It's only to reinforce that I believe you are doing the only thing you can. I am so sorry you are going through this hard, hard thing.

It' is not entirely clear to me if the mental illness is primary or an artifact of drug use. He may be using way heavier drugs than you are aware and the hallucinations and delusions are coming from that. Even if people stop, the drug-induced psychosis persists. It usually goes away in time, but effects can linger.

What I am saying is that 3 possibilities are in play: the drugs precipitated a latent mental illness to which he was predisposed; he became mentally ill and began to use drugs to self-medicate; or it's purely the drugs--that the drugs are inducing a mental illness that is entirely precipitated by them. In every one of these cases continued drug use, as you know, is a huge mistake. He's got to get help with the drugs. I agree with Nomad. Even Narcotics Anonymous would be a huge help.

But you can't do this for him. He's got to figure it out on his own if he won't listen. That's the hardest part of this. Letting them do it. Or not.
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Roll With It
I am so very sorry that you are battling this with your much loved son. It is very clear how much you love him. No one homeschools that many kids without loving them deeply. I homeschooled my kids at various points in their education, and I only had 3 kids. I cannot even begin to understand how you deal with an adult who had drug issues while homeschooling your other kids. Sadly, right now he is determined to not follow advice to get clean and sober. You can only do so much for him. This is his battle and no matter how much you want for him to win this battle, you have no real power. It is pretty common for the family of addicts to want the addict to get clean/sober and to have to wait a heck of a lot longer until the addict wants to be sober/clean.

I urge you to stay on the same page as your spouse. Not because I have great recommendations to cope with this, but because if you are not united, he will just triangulate and pit you against each other for his benefit. Not good benefit, to get more from you to help his addiction.

Addiction is a family disease. If one member has it, all are impacted by it. You learn unhealthy behavior patterns that you simply don't see, or don't see as unusual. Having family that goes to AlAnon or NarAnon (the meetings for family members of addicts) is incredibly good for the entire family. I would encourage all of your other children who are 12 and older to go to AlATeen. Those meetings are for kids to talk about having an addict in their lives. Did you know that if your family gets healthy and draws healthy boundaries, it increases an alcoholic/addict's chances of getting and staying sober by 30%. If this were a school grade, many of us would sit through a 1 hour a week meeting if it increased our child's chances of getting a good grade. I think just as much emphasis should be put on recovery. Without recovery, it doesn't matter how educated someone is. To get an idea of some of the unhealthy behaviors that families can have, I strongly recommend "The Laundry List: The ACoA Experience". ACoA means Adult Child of Alcoholics. That describes a lot of people who don't drink/use, but still have learned behaviors due to growing up with addicts in our families. I am an adult grandchild of an alcoholic. I am also the sister of one, the niece of another, and I could go on with the bajillion cousins on my dad's side. But no one wants that list. It is a long road to realizing these behavioral patterns through to help and a healthy life. But it can be done.

I do think that having your son living at home would be detrimental to his siblings. You have to make them the priority. Your son is an adult who needs to realize the problems his choices create. He is also an adult. And responsible for himself, at least legally. Your other children should not be exposed to his addiction up close and personal. Often it takes having no place to go to in some nasty weather and circumstances to really hit bottom. For some not even that is enough. It isn't a choice you get to make for him. He may need some support, but if possible, keep the support minimal until he sees that he needs real help and he is willing to put in the hard hard work. I completely understand both cutting him off completely, and providing some help based on what is right for you and his father, or either of you.


New Member
There is a strong history of mental illness on my mom’s side of the family, and those of us who are mentally healthy know we must fiercely protect our mental health. I had talked to him about that and also shared the research re: weed and psychosis/schizophrenia, telling him drugs just aren’t an option for him.

He wasn’t living here, so I don’t know exactly how it all played out, but I think he began smoking pot socially his first year of college, and that triggered some issues that exploded this fall when he was on his own again and began smoking daily. Weird conversations that I attributed to listening to people like Alex Jones were likely mild psychosis. And the LSD just pushed it over the edge to a total break with reality. That’s when we got the call to pick him up, and he has not been right since. After all of this, I was shocked that he would even think about using drugs again!

He has not shown any remorse and seems to resent us greatly. We’re just his only source of food and shelter. At times, he seems to know he is ill and needs help, but for the most part, he is into new age religion and attributes all of this to opening the 3rd eye, awakening, and being on a spiritual journey. He seems prideful and entitled and oblivious to how he’s affecting everyone else.

It scares me because I feel the choices he makes over the next few months will mean the difference between recovering and moving forward vs. a lifelong struggle.

I spent 20 years of my adult life trying in vain to help my mom. I know I can’t do this for him. I went to NAMI meetings a few years ago when I was helping my mom, and I’ll try that group again.

Thank you all for listening and for the advice and encouragement to focus on my other kids. It is like he dropped a bomb in their lives! I am especially worried about my 14 yo son. He is angry, but won’t talk about it. I don’t want to lose my oldest, but I also don’t want to focus so much on saving him that I lose the other 7. He had a peaceful, happy childhood, and they deserve one, as well!


New Member
I will look up the ACoA list. I think being an adult child of a mentally ill parent is similar, and there’s a lot of addiction in my husband’s family.


New Member
Update: Picked our son up from the hospital today. He seemed more clear and said he felt better. We found a really nice 40-60 day residential placement for him out of state, and my husband is dropping him off tonight. We are hoping this will be a place of healing for him and an opportunity for a fresh start.


New Member
Update: Picked our son up from the hospital today. He seemed more clear and said he felt better. We found a really nice 40-60 day residential placement for him out of state, and my husband is dropping him off tonight. We are hoping this will be a place of healing for him and an opportunity for a fresh start.
That is wonderful news! I hope it works out well.