Drugs or Mental Illness

worried sick mother

Active Member
I'm new here. I've been reading other post and it sounds as though many of you know way more than me. I've never posted anywhere before and feel so alone. My 22 year old son has something bad going on. I sent him to college a normal healthy smart young man and now he is absolutely crazy and looks like death. I recently took him to a psychiatrist and he was diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder but that's just difficult for me to believe. He was prescribed medication which he lies and says he takes but he doesn't , I found the prescriptions that he didn't even get filled. He has a serious girlfriend that he breaks up with and fights with constantly so I thought maybe that could be a lot of his problems. It's the first serious girlfriend he has ever had. I have suspected drugs and even went to see a therapist that specializes in drug abuse trying to figure out if it's drugs or a mental issue or both but they couldn't help me much. So this is the situation, he lives with his girlfriend, my mother and I help him financially with rent, phone, cable, Internet, and car insurance, he is no longer in school because he went from making straight A's to failing 2 semesters and he blames me for that because I accused him of drug use. He also drives a car that is in my name and my husband (his stepdad) insists that I get the car out of my name, he would never be able to afford insurance . His only bill is $175 for rent each month, he doesn't ask me for money but we are basically paying for everything. He is very thin, lost all muscle tone, pale as a ghost, and overall doesn't seem clean. He doesn't act like he is on anything when I see him though. He works delivering pizza for around 25 hours per week and does nothing else. If I try to give him any advice or if I mention drugs he completely goes off on a rage that could last for hours, he threatens to kill himself, threatens me . I recently went into his apartment while no one was there and I found evidence of marjuana but it would have to be something more he is so thin. I do know that we probably need to cut off all funds but I'm so afraid he will kill himself. He is so unhappy and cries all the time. I know this is brief but what does it sound like? Drugs or mental illness?


Well-Known Member
I am sorry, but that sounds like meth. That was my daughter's drug of choice and you described exactly what she used to look and act like...


Well-Known Member
Because of his weight loss and physical deterioration, it's probably drugs, in my opinion. Could be serious drugs too. My daughter used meth too and I agree it mirrors how one acts using meth, but it could be any drug...doesn't sound like just pot.

Do have any plans to help him launch his life and go out on his own? He has access to many services, Im sure. Is he using them?

Has he ever worked?

When did he change and has he changed his friends?

Substance abuse IS a mental illness and if he is using any drugs at all it is impossible to tell if he is mentally ill or just under the influence. I was diagnosed with bipolar II and it is very treatable with medication, but only if you aren't also drinking and using recreational drugs. And therapy is also helpful.

Meanwhile, are you taking good care of yourself? Are you spending every minute wondering what is up with your son, trying to guess? You can not control your son at all. You can't control anybody except yourself. You can control and change how how to interact with him and your expectations of a man his age. It's your house/your castle/YOUR RULES! He's not your boss and it's not his house. Most of us are working on taking our own lives back and dealing with our adult children differently than we did when we paid for al their toys and let them lay around our house doing little...it doesn't help them or us. It doesn't work. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. I mean this all gently. We all went through this.

I suggest detaching a bit. Whatever is going on, he is too old for you to help him, legally, and HE has to fix it. HE knows what is going on and he is unlikely to share it with you. He has it good...you pay for everything, just like you did when he was a young child. He'd rather you think he is mentally ill and feel sorry for him than tell you he's using meth (or whatever it is that is making him look sick and thin).

It is common for our adult kids to threaten suicide when we won't do what they want. I found that calling 911 every time it happens is a GREAT deterrent. If he really meant it, he'd do it without shouting it to the world, however it is unwise to take chances and every single threat should trigger a 911 call where the police will come and take him to a hospital for being a danger to himself.

Our adult kids can be extremely cunning and manipulative.

Does he abuse you or other members of your family? Steal? Lie? Smash your car that you pay for? Go into rages? Assault family members or strangers?

in my opinion the girlfriend is irrelevant. He is acting out of control with her and she will probably leave him unless they have bonded over, say, drug use. I hope she is using protection.

My first words of wisdom, that you can use or throw in the toilet are to cut of the money train. If he can live with his girlfriend, he can get a job and pay for his own toys. He's too old for you to be spending your retirement supporting a grown man who blew off college that you probably paid for. That doesn't teach him that there are consequences to bad choices and dangerous behavior...it is hard, but they need that. And throwing money at him is hurting him, not helping him. And it's hurting you too. And you matter. Don't give him any $$$. If he's on drugs, that's what he is using it for.

We are here for you, promise. But we need more information.
Last edited:
Dear Worried Sick Mother,
I'm so sorry for your having to go through what so many of us on this site are. I think you already know with your mothers instinct there is a drug issue. My son would get so angry when I accused him of drugs. He has a major adderol problem and maybe Xanax too. That is a bad combination. No matter what, the rages are dangerous for you and the girl he is living with. Since you are paying his way maybe you can get him to do a drug test so you know what you are dealing with. No matter what don't put yourself in harms way, because when they are in a rage they have no control. My advice is to read about detachment on the main page of the forum. I had no idea that all my years of what I thought were helping and support just enabled the problem to get worse. I actually made the problem worse by making my sons life easier for him. I am a beginner here, but you have some who have blazed a trail on this site where you need to go. You need to prepare your self to be stronger than you ever knew possible. We will all be here for you.


Well-Known Member
I am so sorry you are going through this. Clearly he is either mentally ill or is using serious drugs or both. I agree with what others have said but have one other suggestion. I think he needs a serious mental health or substance abuse evaluation. I dont know the laws in your state, but at least in some states you can go to court and get a court order for him to be evaluated if he is a danger to himself or others. I think in this case that might be warranted.

Also I am curious about the girlfriend. Have you met her? What is she like. If she is reasonable you might call her and tell her how worried you are.

I agree with others that there is a time to detach and really take care of yourself. But given that you are unsure of what this is I think I would try and get him some kind of in-patient evaluation so that you can get an understanding of what is going on here.