Friend needs help for 19 year old step-sister

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by WNC Gal, Oct 2, 2007.

  1. WNC Gal

    WNC Gal New Member

    A friend came to me (knowing I have a difficult child) and asked my advice. Her step-sister seems to be in crisis. The nineteen year old dropped out of college three weeks ago without telling anyone. The family got a call from the girl's roommate notifying them that she had self-injured (cutting) and needed help. They took her to a local center for evaluation and she was kept for 24 hours for observation. Since then, she has had several individual therapy sessions and one family session last night. At the family session, the therapist seemed to be blaming her issues on biology and genetics or "something that happened long ago". The girl was lashing out in severe anger at her family and blaming it all on them.

    She is now staying with her step-mom. They have restricted her access to a car and she is not planning on returning to school at this point.

    The family (especially my friend) really need to know how best to help her. She didn't seem to get anything out of her 24 observation period. And if she is an adult, can her therapist legally share ANYTHING about her diagnosis and or treatment options with the family? She may be losing her insurance as well since she left school. AND she signed a one year lease at the college. Is there any legal "loophole" to get out of leases for medical reasons?

    I do have calls out to some local people to find out what treatment options there might be in our area. Perhaps the step-sister might agree to have my friend act as her "guardian" to assist her with her issues. My friend fears that there might be substance abuse involved as she was on a variety of diet pills and was taking another person's anti-depressants to self-medicate.

    Anyone with tips on how to help an adult family member with these types of issues? Thanks!
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    If the family feels like she is a threat to herself then they can Baker Act her into treatment. Here we go through probate court. The probate judges issues a warrent, the cops pick up the person and escort them to the hospital. The hospital can then send them for evaluation. I have done this once with difficult child.
    Unfortunately, because of HIPPA the family can not access any medical records and the doctors. can't communicate with family unless the patient gives the okay.
  3. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Everywoman took the words right out of my mouth. There is not a lot they will share with you once they past 18 - however, if she is a threat to herself and others they can have her involuntarily commited. It is through the probate court. I have done this twice with my difficult child. It might have saved his life. It wasnt easy but you have to think that the person is not thinking right and is harming themselves.
  4. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    Cutting (also known as para suicide) is not a suicidal gesture. A cry for help -yes. A suicide attempt - no. I don't see anything else in the post that would indicate the need for the Baker Act.

    I would be looking at the college experience personally. Many freshman kids find the experience to be totally overwhelming. Maybe she was unable to cope ... but again not enough information to say for sure.

    Did this girl just fall apart out of the blue. Does she have a hx of emotional difficulties? What is the family relationship like?

    Sorry ... too many variables to offer concrete opinions.
  5. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    They can get information from the therapist IF the patient signs a consent. My 19 year old did with this her therapist voluntarily, so I am able to touch base with her from time to time which helps tremendously.

    Here in VA you can't "commit" a person involuntarily unless they are an immediate threat to themselves or others. It's only a 72 hour hold, then they're released if they're deemed "stable." It's a crock really, because you can be stable one day, and not the next, as we all know (this is what happened to the VA Tech shooter).

    A lot depends on how willing the girl is to get treatment, to be sure. If she is resistent, sadly, there is not a lot family can do.