A few questions for those who have been there done that.....

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by welcometowitsend, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. Hi. I'm pretty new to this area of the board. :(

    We are waiting for a psychiatrist appointment for our difficult child but I think he is depressed, possibly bipolar with another possibility of Aspergers.

    Anyway, last week he left the house on Tuesday and didn't come home until last night. He was supposed to come home on Thursday but refused to. He told me tonight that he's been drinking and smoking. He said he was drinking to make himself feel happy.

    I told him that means he is self medicating and that is a very dangerous path to addiction. We had a blow up last night but the end result was a pretty good heart to heart.

    Any advice on what kind of path to take with difficult child at this point? I'm afraid that taking a hard line will push him right out of the house and right into the path that I want to keep him off of. He has already left for 6 weeks this year and that just made him worse.

    His friends are everything to him but they're also part of the problem. He seems to gravitate towards kids with problems. This new friend he has right now has an absentee alcoholic father and a mother that has been gone for an entire week to visit her new boyfriend. He has a tendency to take on their issues as his own and feel their pain as his own. It seems to go beyond sympathy, really.

    He feels very much like a victim right now and can only see all the mistakes his father and I have made in his life and he can't/refuses to see all of the good times and good memories that we helped create for him. I don't know if this is Aspie thinking or depression thinking but he seems to be spiralling into a hole and I can't help him until we get to the psychiatrist on August 13th.

    Anyone have any thoughts or ideas of how I can handle this situation? I really feel like my hands are tied right now. He's such a smart kid with so much potential but he seems to be eager to jump on a freight train to nowhereville.
  2. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    I am so glad you are going to the psychiatric. Is he on medications? If so this is not good to pair with drinking.

    I don't have any answers-most of what we have tried has not fixed my daughter's problems. There is some improvement here and there. I can share one thing she said to me last Sep. after her release from the last Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    She told me I should have been stricter when she was 14 and this was all starting-I should not have let her go to this one particular girl's home. Now I did meet the parent and at one point I did tell her I was not ok with this friendship and refused to let her stay the night. But apparently I should have done more. Honestly, the more I cracked down, the more difficult child found ways around to get what she wanted. But I have often wondered if I did not have too much denial about how serious her MJ habit was and the influence of this girl.

    Why was he gone? Does he run away? Can you get him into treatment beyond a psychiatric. evaluation? Is he going to school? Passing? My daughter is a runner and this is terrifying and their way of avoiding our rules and getting what they want as well as controlling us-really hard to stop this behavior.

    By the way, teenagers who are not doing well as well as addicts love to blame. It is one of the biggest character flaws they have. You cannot take this on, it can really set you back and the guilt issues over take you ( I know been there done that). Can you keep him from this friend? It sounds like a train wreck this relationship. I know how hard that is-just wondering how much control you have if any? I have had to go to Families Anon. to get relief as we have done everything. I do not have any control over our daughter and that is the case when they reach this age and decide to go down this path. When combined with mental health issues, substance abuse is a bear to deal with. I have begun to learn to let go and to change my own behaviors (which is the only thing I have control over). I wish I had started this sooner.

    I also want to say that when we have teens who are "different"-because of disabilities, giftedness, mental health issues, as parents it is so hard to watch them negotiate the friend thing. They are not accepted and often bullied. They are lonely (as my daughter is now). When they do have a friend, we hope they are normal. In my experience they never are because our kids are not "normal". They attract the druggies who will accept anybody. This just creates this horrible social dynamic that only our kids can decide to get out of.

    Others will be along with support. I am sorry you are here, but glad you see the drinking as a big problem-It took me awhile and that was lost time for us. ((Hugs))
  3. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Is the psychiatrist appointment. on 8/13 the very first one you will have with this doctor? If it isn't, I do have a suggestion. My difficult child's psychiatrist has made himself available via videoconference on the computer in the event difficult child is away from home, or away at school, etc. He does this for many of his patients. My suggestion would be for you to contact the psychiatrist and see if he/she could do this prior to the scheduled appointment., and if not with your difficult child, then perhaps with you to help you deal with your situation in the meantime.

    It is very difficult, I know. My insurance also has a 24 hr. number to call for questions/therapy advice over the phone. I've done that, too.
  4. Hello again, and thank you!

    Exhausted - difficult child has never been on medications. He didn't really need them, although with this drastic change in behaviour in the last year I have changed my mind about that now. He went from being a compliant, easy-going, friendly kid who kind of marched to his own beat to a belligerent, angry, disrespectful teenager in a matter of months.

    Initially I suspected drug use because of the drastic change but a drug test came back negative.

    The first two days he was gone with our permission (staying at a friends and then a concert to go to and was too far to come home so he stayed with another friend overnight). Then he just didn't come home because he wants to be with his friends. It's like he can't miss out on anything - if there's a couple of people getting together he HAS to be there, if there's a party he CANT miss it, if someone is going to the mall he has to go too. So, he was partying - although he says he's been feeling a lot of rage all week and is very angry and depressed and can't seem to get it under control - scary.

    He skipped about 20% of his classes this past semester - unusual behaviour for him. Almost failed most of his subjects and would have but I helped him get through is final exams - and he's VERY smart so studying is easy. He aced his exams and that got him through. He says he is going to buckle down this coming year because in Grade 11 the marks count towards college and university. I'm not sure he is capable of buckling down because of his self-indulgent, instant gratification nature.

    He does seem to be turning into a runner. He tried to run at midnight last night but I talked him out of it and got him calmed down and a decent night's sleep (he doesn't sleep right anymore either - not sure if this is a porn addiction which he's had issues with before or legitimate insomnia). Once he left the first time in April he was gone for 4 weeks, home for a week and gone for a couple more weeks after that. He's been home since the end of May. Last week he went on a tirade for no good reason and left the house. We went and picked him up that night. Then again last night we had the argument and he was ready to take off again.

    So frustrating. I have zero control at this point. He says he wants us to parent him but he won't accept any parenting. I think by parenting he means laundry, food, rides, etc.. He is bound and determined to do whatever he wants to do regardless of any boundaries we set down. Our options are limited because he is 16 and can legally leave home if he wants to - we can't force him into any kind of treatment unless he is proven to be a danger to himself or others - and that will only be a 72 hour hold.

    Calamity - The psychiatrist appointment will be our first appointment. The doctor referred us to a paediatrician first and they wanted to set up that appointment for November! Ah! I said No way, this won't wait that long. So, I got a referral to the paediatrician for Aug 11 and pushed my hardest for the psychiatrist on Aug 13. I'm hoping that after that we can start to make some progress.

    I love this kid so much but he is tearing our family apart. My easy child daughter is upset all the time - can't stand him to be around and wants us to kick him out so we can have some peace in our home. I hate that she feels that way. And husband has just about reached his limit of patience. difficult child thinks nothing of telling him to shut the f up or calling me a B and husband has no patience for that at all - especially when difficult child is disrespectful to me.

    Maybe some kind of support group like Families Anon would help us take some of our lives back in the midst of all this chaos.

    I wouldn't call him an drug/alcohol addict at this point but he seems to be headed in that direction and I suspect a porn addiction although all I can prove is that he spends a lot of time using data on his cell phone between midnight and 5 am. And I know porn has been a problem before.

    I spoke to a counsellor who works with kids and wants to see difficult child after we see the psychiatrist - he believes difficult child is high risk for addiction.

    As parents we know we have to keep struggling to help them and/or get them help but this is so very hard.
  5. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    When our difficult child was 16, he was acting similarly in some respects to your difficult child...when we tested him, he either tested positive for pot, or nothing at all. Meanwhile, he was using other substances like synthetic marijuana, meth, other crazy things that he's now admitted,plus drinking, which of course didn't show up on tests because we didn't catch it exactly right when we tested him. So, your difficult child may be doing other drugs, too - possibly.
    My difficult child was a runner, was opposed to counseling, didn't cooperate, hung out with wacked-out "friends", did lousy in school, too. I would have bet money he was bipolar, but he isn't...it was the drugs. I hope you can get this sorted out properly - it's a process, believe me.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    One drug test coming back negative means nothing. Some drugs don't even show up on tests and the kids know which ones they are.
    Drug use is probably the #1 reason good teens suddenly turn into kids we don't recognize. I would seriously consider that this is the problem. Have you checked his room when he's not home? His face book? His cell phone messages? You need to be a detective sometimes in order to keep them safe.

    If his friends use drugs and drink, most likely he does too.The old saying "birds of a feather stick together" is very true.
  7. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest

    Mine was able to buy something to pass a drug test.

    I think your instincts are good here. Glad you are on the docs calendar.

    Mine was diagnosed with depression and bipolar.....then, after going through over four weeks inpatient treatment, he came out sober and on NO medications. He was observed and tested thoroughly. I believe his substance abuse caused the symptoms.

    Question...are you still supporting him? If so, you do have some control.

    When mine would stay on the internet all night, I bought a router with parental controls which stopped him from doing so. He is mad right now because I have blocked him from contacting old friends who use via cell or text. I just simply tell him when he pays for his own phone, then he can do as he pleases. Does Canada have laws about sexting? Tht would scare me in my child was into porn...so many teens do that...and some end up as registered sex offenders.

    I'd encourage you to get help for you. Find a support group and/or a therapist. You deserve to have people helping you through this. Keep posting!
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sending support your way. No reason to rehash my experiences with easy child/difficult child who became difficult child#1 but...difficult child#2 is ADHD, Aspergers and Schitzoaffective and "friends" cause the biggest problems because the definition of "a friend" is not on target for young people with those diagnosis's. I hope things go well. Hugs. DDD
  9. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    This is so very hard. There are days when I could just cry myself to sleep-only problem is I have already cried myself dry! The grief of loosing the child we had just keeps coming in waves as we morn each loss along the way-school potential, sobriety, a happy life,good friends, a mate etc. All these things are just a struggle for them. There is little help, no cures, plenty of people who want to blame you as the parents, and nothing but negative feedback everywhere. It is hard to watch our kids suffer as they fling disrespect in our face, steal, lie cheat and do horrible things. I have to tell myself that it is not a moral problem but a medical one. And I also have to decide daily what is the best way to have a peaceful home given the day's demands. As you know stress and demands can send these kids over the edge, yet this is what they must learn to cope with in life.

    My daughter too has a sexual addiction-though it has never been diagnosed-we have been told that it is a compulsion that is part of her reaction to the abuse she has suffered. She seems to struggle with it at every stressor. We have had a few good months lately. Addiction is addiction. Many of the behaviors are the same and the brain reaction is the same. This addiction is tricky because in the end we want them not to completely quit (like with drugs), but to have a healthy sexual life. Finding treatment for teens is amazingly hard on this one. (Easier for boys than girls). I do know of one program that is affordable. It may be in your area (You may PM me if your interested). It is also recommended that they see someone who is a certified sex therapist. Even in our larger city it is near impossible to get into one-esp. for a teen. We have been on a waiting list for 2 years! Since he has had a problem before, I would not assume it has ended on it's own. They figure out ways to get their "fix" despite the barriers and limits we set.

    The erratic behavior and sudden change are a concern. It does sound like drug use and yet I also know that bipolar disorders can set in like wildfire at this age. I'm glad your going in and hope you can get support for your family as well. Keep us posted and hang in there.
  10. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Oops, I wanted to tell you some limits we set in our home, they have made a difference though not perfect. They may seem harsh but she needed these and so did we.
    1.If you go somewhere without permission, we will not pick you up.
    2. No money ever!
    3. No drivers license unless sober, can pay for insurance and gas, buy your own car
    4. Doors are locked at 10:00-we will not answer unless we know where you are and have given you permission to be home after 10:00
    5. No house key, no access to computer unless we sign on for you, no access to any medications (locked in a closet)
    6. No cell phone (we had trouble with late night texting and she refused to respond to us when we called or texted,-it was no help and more trouble than anything)
    7. we only give permission for you to go with people we have met as well as their parents
  11. Oh Ugh, I lost my post. Staring over.....

    Calamity - Thank you for sharing the infer about your difficult child. They sound a lot alike. I'm not sure what to hope for... drugs or bi-polar or Aspergers? None of them are great, Know what I mean?? I guess an answer will give us a route to take with this - that's about it.

    MWM - I have checked his FB and computer and cell phone but since he moved out in early April (back at end of May) he has changed all his passwords and I don't have access to anything. I did go through his room with a fine tooth comb and removed all pocket knives, matches (he's been playing with fire in his room - scares the hell out of me), belts, etc. I did not find any drugs or paraphenalia.

    Alabama - I know he was using an anonymous sex website via his cell phone. I suspect that he still is because I can tell how much data he is using and he seems to be up at all hours of the night on the internet on his phone. I don't want to cut the phone off because he will communicate with me using his phone when he is gone. He has a job now and will be paying for it himself very soon anyway. The internet goes off when he is home. Sometimes I will let him use it during the day for short periods but when I go to bed I take the power cord with me.

    I'll look into the sexting laws. I do know that if he distributes any photos of anyone under age 15 (which is entirely possible with him being just 16) then that is considered distribution of child pornography regardless of his age and he would then be a registered sex offender.

    I've warned him many times about stuff like this. Hopefully he uses his brain and doesn't do anything stupid.

    Exhausted - Thank you. I PM'd you. We have instituted rules 1,2, and 3. Rule 4 will be next. The cell phone he'll be paying for soon. and I am controlling his internet access but maybe not enough. We have a digital lock on our door and can change the code at any time if needed - we installed it just for difficult child.

    He was pretty good yesterday - husband and I took them to the lake for a swim after dinner to cool off and we all enjoyed ourselves until the end when he started 'thinking' about things and got down in the dumps again. And he was good again today. Doesn't have any 'plans' until Saturday so he said he'll be home when he's not working (just started a job this week). I wish he was more afraid of striking out on his own or couch surfing. It would give us a little more control. Saying 'no' at this point is pointless because he'll just take off anyway.

    Funny thing though. He asked me yesterday if he could go out and i think if I'd have said no he'd have been ok with it. But last week he wasn't. He's done this before. His plans didn't pan out yesterday so it didn't matter but it's odd behaviour. He's back and forth that way. He did this a few months ago when it came to having sleepovers at his girlfriends house (they are split up now).

    Thank you all of your support. I think I will need to start checking his room every time he goes to work or out. I know he has another knife that I want to get because he's also a cutter and has threatened to slit his wrists recently. Don't know where he got the knife but they aren't hard to come by.