Alcohol abuse/Mental Illness


New Member
Hello, I am new. I would like to find someone who has/is going through same thing as me. Something happened to my daughter between her Junior and Senior year of high school. She flew into a rage when we tried to take away her cell phone. This was a girl who was shy, sweet, quiet. She slammed the door and broke it and started cussing at us. She then locked herself in the bathroom and was cutting herself. When we finally got her out she was crying. We told her we were there for her and she could talk to us. She looked at me with so much pain in her eyes. She would not talk. This was the beginning of hell. We found out she was drinking a lot. She started skipping school and grades went down. I remember one night she was crying and she told me she felt like she was going crazy. She had always been very self conscious and did not have any confidence in herself. She wanted to fit in so bad. We pushed her to go out for track thinking it would help her self confidence. She went to state twice and broke a record in the high jump. She was nominated for the Junior prom court. She started spiraling down the summer between her junior and senior year. She came home several nights drunk. Sometimes she wouldn't come home at all. We would be out looking for her. Many nights I would be up praying at 2 in the morning. She had a bad break up with her 1st boyfriend. It was terrible for her. She is not emotionally strong. Its like everything affects her 3 times worse than everyone else. She is very sensitive e and dramatic. At the same time we found out that she was hyperthyroid. I took her to Dr. thinking it was depression and they found out through blood test. She had a procedure done that threw her into hypothyroid because its easier to treat. She continued to drink. We had to pick her up from police station at 2 in morning one night and she got her license taken away for 3 months because of drinking. She can't handle alcohol and wants to fight when she does. She doesn't know when to stop. We have tried over and over for her to go to counceling. She would never see it through. I am 98% sure she was gang raped at a party one night. She told me when she was drunk one night and she was in bathroom trying to cut herself again. We had to break the door down. I held her all night and she told me they took advantage of her. I was devastated. We also found out that she was telling outrageous lies that she was abused, her Dad is really her stepdad, her sister got in a car accident....crazy stuff that was not true. We have been in ER with her twice for attempted suicide. She has not been able to stay in school or keep a job. Has anything like this happened to anyone? I am thinking she has a substance abuse/mental illness? I don't know. I'm driving myself crazy trying to figure it out. She is 23 and this has been going on since high school.


Well-Known Member
Drug use is what it sounds like. Most common reason for teens changing overnight. Sounds like what my daughter did. Have unchecked her room when she isn't there? Her cell phone?
My daughter quit but while she was using she acted so crazy that she got a diagnosis of bipolar which she doesn't have now that she has been clean for years. Could be some sort of speed or just alcohol addiction.
My daughter cut too. She had shyness issues and now tells me she used drugs in order to be able to feel comfortable around people. It worked but she hated it after a while. Your daughter has every symptom of alcoholism. Does that run in her DNA?
She spent two weeks in a hospital after pulling a knife on herself but the diagnosis of bipolar happened. Drug otest was clean. The suicide attempt happened when she was trying to quit. She went right back to it after getting out.
We had no idea how bad she was into drugs. They don't tell us I heard she had been on meth after she quit. I was shocked.
Whatever you decide e to do it will have to be for your own safety and well being. you can't help or change her. She has to do it. The only person on earth you can help or control is you. You'd daughter needs to access help if she wants it. Substance abuse needs to be addressed first or u really don't know if she has a mental illness as drug use mimics mental illness. Alcohol abuse e is drug abuse and makes some people violent and crazy.
But she has to fix her. U can't. U may want to tell her to either go to a rehab or any sort of psychiatric facility or that she can't live I ur house anymore. Your house your rules. Period.
I am so sorry u had to post here but welcome.we are always here for other mother's.
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Well-Known Member
A bit more now that I'm off the cell phone (boy, that thing finds way to translate words you typed into

Short version: Your daughter is behaving like an alcoholic who probably also takes other drugs (thus the psychotic thoughts she was throwing out at you). But you probably will never know exactly what she takes until she quits and then she may be chatty about it. Right now all you know is you can't live like this and I know how it feels and I'm so sorry.

Do you have other kids around? If so, you have to think about them too.

You can't fix an adult child. It's not legal. THEY have to do it and often we have to make them leave and even sometimes be homeless and CUT OFF THE MONEY TREE before they someday see the light. It often happens. Some never see the light, but there is hope as your daughter is young. Don't wait until she is 30 to decide to do these things. Then her pattern of life is to abuse and not work and be helpless. She will survive. #1 recommendation is to cut out off the bank. You supporting her gives her no reason to change. No motivation. She is old enough to work. If sh e is truly sick, then she can go to Aging and Disability and request an assessment for social security. She may get it, she may not. She sounds bad enough to get it to me, but I don't make the decisions.

If she gets into trouble with the law, don't bail her out. Facing consequences is very impportant or it delays any recovery that may happen. So does us enabling their decision not to seek serious help for themselves.

You and your husband may want to go to Al-Anon. It's free and it got me through the very worst of times.

Hugs for your hurting heart. Be nice to YOURSELF today, ok? You deserve it.


Well-Known Member
I'm going on a limb here... and feel quite strongly that the direct problem is neither the drinking nor a mental illness, but the result of trauma. If she was gang-raped, that would be enough to send most young women totally over the edge.

Do you have access to a rape crisis line? Or a more general mental-health crisis line? Often, they can guide you thorough approaches and steps that might help. But until the real problem can be dealt with, other problems are just going to multiply.


Well-Known Member
If change is quick and dramatic and followed by addictive behaviours and self-destruction, trauma is something you have to suspect. 'Just' alcohol abuse doesn't change person too quickly (aside of course when they are intoxicated.) Alcoholism takes some time to develop and alcohol dependency even longer time. And till that alcohol doesn't change person's whole personality and behaviour while they are sober. In fact most drugs do either. Also drug use is most of time started little by little and at that time drugs do not effect that much to behaviour when person is not high. They are quicker to addict than alcohol but still, change is often not so drastic at first.

Especially if person develops PTSD after trauma, they will become very prone also to addictions. Also some other mental illnesses make people much more prone to addictions. And if person suffers also mental illness aside of addiction, just treating addiction is very likely to fail. Both the addiction and mental illness need to be treated, preferably at the same time and under care of a professional who understands both disorders.


Well-Known Member
Welcome inthedark. Can you get her into counseling with someone that she trusts? If she has never shown any signs of anxiety or low self esteem before I would certainly suspect some type of trauma and that she is acting out now to try to stuff it down. My older daughter has anxiety but has had it since she was very young and has been on medication for years. She had a difficult time fitting in in high school also.


New Member
Hello in the dark, somehow, most likely my big thumbs missed the tiny link on my daughters touchscreen phone, was redirected to this inspiring forum. I stumbled into reading through several threads until I had an impulse, and a bunch of thoughts and ideas, along with a stampede of mixed emotions all at once and could not think of anything else: but to reply and post about 3 main major problems your 23year old daughter has been dealing with since her teen years.
A few times the diagnosis of bipolar, manic depression, was pointed out as a suspect cause for her behavior and emotional changes that just seems irrational or very odd. Some replies and advice just above bring up very good advice & with every good intention. However: perhaps because I myself was given the dual diagnosis for substance abuse and bipolar II on August of 2009. When you and your spouse were told she had another problem with thyroid which was easier to treat and after her suicide attempts. For a second time it came up as a cause and was not treated.
This is something that took over a year for me to admit that it could also happen to me or someone I care for like you care for your daughter. Go ahead, looks like this has been dwelling in your mind for sometime now. She can get treatment for all 3diagnosis at once using the holistic way, cure her mind, body and spirit.

If a mental illness is part of the cause I would suggest ignoring it will only make her feel like no one cares to understand. This is what hurts the most.

You need to Research and most of all let her know that you have faith that she alone, along with your love and support,has the power to change


New Member
Thank you all so much for the helpful responses. Just getting feedback from others going through somewhat of same thing is very helpful. My daughter went to counseling for a little bit. With the first counselor she would lie and blame it on me. I was willing to take all of it on me and told her I was sorry in order for her to stay in counseling. It didn't work. She told counselor that I needed to leave her alone about school and her grades. I told her in with the counselor that I would leave her alone. 2 weeks went by and I had not checked her grades or said anything to her. When I did check them she was flunking 2 classes and almost a third in which she needed to graduate. If I had not checked she probably would not had graduated. This is around same time she got picked up by cops for drinking. We had to pick her up at police station. We went back the counselor and when I told her about her grades and getting picked up by police she said she was shocked. So that didn't work. The 2nd one she went to one time and would not go back. She started seeing a 3rd counselor and went for a little while but then quit again. This counselor felt she was gettting close to bringing up trauma (rape incident) and then quit. Before the counselors I had taken her to a behavioral clinic. She agreed to go. They would take her but They were locked in and could not have their cell phones. The thought of her being there and I couldn't get in to see her or talk to her terrified
I thought for sure she was on drugs also but could never find any. She had even been drug tested twice before starting jobs and was clean. The alcohol has been a huge problem. She drinks until she's trashed and she gets crazy....wants to fight, hurt herself, drives drunk....
Her dad has had to pick her up so many times from a bar in a town next to us. Her friends would call us and say she wouldn't leave and was getting crazy. One time her friends left her somewhere that was 25 miles away and we had to go get her. The cops picked her up again another night because she had called us saying she was lost. We called all the cops within a 50 mile radius. They found her passed out in her car off the side of a road. The cop told her dad he thought she was fine but was shocked when he had her do the breathalyzer. This is when she lost her license for 3 months for being under 18 - 0 tolerance. She was lucky she didn't get a DUI. I tbougbt this might wake her up but it didn't. We then voluntarily put a BAIID interlock device in her car. It was worth every penny. We knew she couldn't drive if she had been drinking. I knew at this time she had a problem. She had lost all her friends. They couldn't deal with her when she was drinking.
I just can't figure out what happened first. I wish I could put the pieces together. I don't think the trauma caused the drinking. She had started drinking before. She was trashed one night, crying and cutting herself when she told me that she used to be a good kid and they took advantage of her. That was the red flag for me thinking she had been taken advantage of sexually. I am truly haunted by this.


one day at a time
Welcome inthedark, I am so sorry for your pain. Alcoholism as I am sure you have studied presents in many many ways. My exhusband was a very high functioning executive who binge drank. Not every time he drank either. But all of the behaviors were there.

The alcohol is just the outward symptom of he very sick thinking and behavior.

Until she can address her addiction to alcohol, it is unlikely that you can identify anything else that has or is going on.

Please start going to alanon if you haven't already. It will save your life if you work the program. It is amazing.

I am just so sorry for your daughter. She sounds a lot like my son who went off the deep end very quickly. Sometimes that is good because it happens fast and they have a chance to hit their rock bottoms in jail or elsewhere more quickly if we can stay out of the way and stop saving them. All of this beyond hard and my concern is for you. Start taking care of you. You are the only one you have any control over. Warm hugs.


Well-Known Member
That's interesting. My daughter started drinking at or around age 14. When she drank she drank til she passed out. She too lost all her friends. She said the only time she was relaxed and happy was when she was drinking. We also took her to many counselors/therapists/psychologists and none of them were really able to get to what was going on.

Do you have addiction in your family background at all? We adopted our daughter and there was a lot of addiction in her family history and we have come to realize this was in her DNA all along.


New Member
In the dark, I am glad you are loving parents who like me would put yourself through anything if it meant keeping your children safe and happy. However: Because of this unconditional display of love, which both my parents did just as you have. It may be a great feeling to most of our children but, to some like me the youngest of 5 my oldest sister was 16 when I was born, I felt guilty and unworthy of such love.
like my mother displayed her 5 fingers on her palm anytime anyone asked who did she love the most, or why would she deal with us differently. She would say," look at my fingers, look at yours. They are not the same some and so are each of you (referring to her 5 children) , now if I had to cut one, or let one of you go. Who do I choose?"
My brother, middle sibling, was the so called problem child whom I so much looked up to. At age 16 my dad had lost and given up a fortune to get him out of trouble and caused friction between my parents. My brother ran away before his 17th birthday and left my parents devastated spent what he could use to find him and bring him back till he was bankrupt. I was dropped from a private school to a public school in Mexico, at the middle of 2Nd grade. My dad expected to not let his youngest son be like him.
All seeing all that at my age I felt it was my fault and since then I pressured my self to not make them worry for me. I worked as hard as I could since the age of 8 to help my parents and really went to extremes to hide anything that would worry my parents. Continued helping them with a small restaurant dealing with vendors and advertising as their translator/negotiator at age 12.

I found fasting and binge eating as my way to cope with stress. Joined football, wrestling. Track & field, debate, theatre.
All my bipolar and bulimia Symptoms were missed. I paid my way through college holding several jobs, later my insurance and real estate agency and more stress took other ways of coping drinking, recreational drugs all being functional. But trust me in the dark, one can fool patents, siblings, doctors, by suppressing some thoughts. Emotions, stress but usually your body will find a way to express.
Your daughter looks like was very clever at picking her counseling and withdrawing when she feels she lost control


New Member
I suggests like others have, that you 1st focus on yourself and heal, be content and do as you have done so good at displaying that love to others to lead by example and take care of you self. Maybe seeing you suffer for her individual choices may trigger more bad choices.


New Member
Thank you all so much. Its nice to know I'm not alone in this. I've gotten some great feedback and all of you have mentioned what I have thought all along - that she is an alcoholic. A functional, binge drinking alcoholic. She needs help but until she realizes she needs help, there is not a whole lot I can do. Thank you to all of you again. Big hugs to you all.


Well-Known Member
until she realizes she needs help, there is not a whole lot I can do.
But there is. We can learn to take care of ourselves, live our lives independently of our dread, no longer sacrificing our core selves. Which makes it worse.

Because what is happening to our children is all that comes to exist for us. And that is a lie. Our intense focus on them, intensifies their guilt, and a twisted sense of power they get through self-destructing.

They begin to feel their impairment is the source of power and attention. Not their achievements. Not their self-sufficiency. Not their contentment and peace.
I am truly haunted by this.
Giving your all of your attention and care to a self-destructing child, in one way contributes energy to this cycle. Do we want to contribute to this cycle by empowering it?

By attending to your own needs, to who you are, to who you want to be, puts balance back into the family situation. A family situation that has become defined by and functioning as if your daughter's perils are the most important thing. They are not. She is. You are. Your family is.

She alone, others have said, has the power to address her addiction and her victimization. Your power lies in you. Caring for you. Your needs. Your hopes. You. And your family as a whole.

My heart is with you.
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Well-Known Member
Copabanana this is a very very wise post! I think over the past couple of years I have done a lot of this but I havent thought about it or expressed it quite so clearly. I have to agree son is doing a lot better now that I have stepped back a bit. Now that might be partly due to some increasing maturity on his part, buut I also think it is because he feels he is making decisions for himself rather than us. Anyway you have a lot of wisdom, thank you.