Help! My son is smoking pot.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by matti, May 9, 2012.

  1. matti

    matti New Member

    Hi there
    My son, who is 23 and still lives with us, is smoking pot and causing problems at home. He is still with us because he is mentally ill and likely will never, ever be able to care for himself fully. I just don't know what to do. He's too old to discipline, but can't be kicked out because he can't care for himself - he's too sick to work full time.
    I know the answer, kick him out and to heck with him. I am just having real difficulty with doing it. He has ADHD, schizophrenia and an anxiety disorder and to be honest I just don't have the kahoonas to do it.
    This issue is putting an incredible strain on my marriage. I guess I just want to vent. I've had enough of this. I find myself feeling deeply envious of people who have "normal" kids. No real problems, and they're well on their way to being responsible adults. I know my son will never be "normal". These illnesses are life long and I am really having a hard time dealing with this.
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    Welcome. I'm sorry you've been dealt this hand in life, but your situation is not hopeless. What you need to be doing is looking for transitional housing for him. Halfway house, assisted living, something to that effect.

    What is your son going to do when you and husband die? He will have to be on his own. What happens if the two of you become incapacitated in some way and someone needs to care for you - AND him? Since you know there is no possibility of him having a productive life of his own, you need to get him set up so YOU could have a productive rest of your life.

    The only place I know to start looking for this help is SSDI and medicaid. AND you can't play the good parent role. You have to be adamant that you will put him out on the street if you can't get him set up with the help he needs. Hopefully you will find someone willing to help.
  3. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I agree with Keista about a group home or assisted living situation. You might also check with county mental health they can sometimes expedite getting help while SSA is processing paperwork.

    Most people who smoke pot it makes them lazy, gives them the munchies then they sleep - when a person with Schizophrenia smokes pot it can throw them into psychosis. The safest environment for everyone involved would be for him to be where they are trained to manage his illness. It will free you up from the burden and hopefully you can enjoy visits with your son.
  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Dear Matti,
    I'm so sorry for what you're going through. My brother is also mentally ill (he's 60 now), and for the past 8 years he's been in an adult home. They have people there of all ages, who are mentally ill, but are not violent and they don't have a criminal record. They are usually on SSI and medicaid, they usually cannot work, and their meals and rooms, laundry services are provided. The place he lives in offers job training, they have games, entertainment, etc. It's not home, of course, but it's a safe alternative. He has a private room, and all meals are provided. We live about 30 minutes away, and he visits us once a week. This place has been a godsend, because he has sleep reversal - he's up all night and sleeps all day, he smokes about 2 packs of cigarettes a day, and all the doctors he needs are on premises. If he lived with me it would be a nightmare. I don't know where you live, but you should look into something like this for your son.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome to the board Matti. I have to agree with the other posters that you need to find what resources your area has for adult mentally ill people. Normally there are some form of group homes for people who have severe mental illnesses who cannot live alone. At 23 you may still feel you want him at home and I can understand that but at some point you may want to look into placing him into such a placement for both of you.

    I assume your son sees a psychiatrist. Are you his guardian? Do you go in with him to see the doctor? Have you told the doctor about the pot use? Hopefully the doctor can get through to him that this isnt good. Now, you say that he is causing problems at home. What type of problems? Is he becoming violent? I think you need to talk to his doctor and try to figure out some decent answers that arent so severe as kicking him out until you try other things first.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board Matti

    Schizophrenia is a tough disorder to manage, but it can be managed to some degree.......the degree depends on the person's willingness to stay on medications and in treatment, of course........and the severity of symptoms. My maternal grandfather was schizophrenic, my aunt was schizo and bipolar, and my mother is also schizophrenic. Grandfather was a disaster area to put it bluntly. Aunt didn't do bad as long as she stayed on her medication, but off could get quite interesting. My mom refuses treatment, refuses the diagnosis........and yet still can do fairly well day to day unless under quite a bit of stress, then it all sort of goes to pot.

    Perhaps you can contact your county mental health dept and find out what sort of resources might be available for your son. Some places have an assisted living type of environment where there are staff who make sure medications are taken, doctor appointments met, bills are paid, food to eat, the environment is safe, but the person still keeps a vast majority of their independence and privacy.

    But I have to say this.................What is he going to do when you're no longer there? That question should remain utmost in your mind. (I know like you don't have enough to worry about, right?) Because that is the bottom line. Yes, he has a pretty serious mental illness. But he needs to learn how to function in the world around him, at least basic functioning, even if it's with the help of disability because he can't keep a job.......needs to learn to pay bills, buy his food, keep a home ect......because there will come the day when you and husband will no longer be there. f

    My niece's husband (on my husband's side) was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he came back from the Gulf war. The first few years were horrid because he flat out refused treatment and decided the whole world and his family had "ganged up on him". He went through family members like water because his symptoms were pretty severe.....and honestly, it's no picnic living with a schizophrenic. Eventually he found himself divorced, unable to see his young girls without supervision, living on the streets..........He was in pretty sad shape when he finally agreed to go in patient to start a treatment program. He had to get disability because working was impossible for him. But he did well, except when he convinced himself he no longer needed the medications or they made him feel weird.....then it would be straight downhill until he'd agree to return to treatment. For the last several years he's been doing well and hasn't gone off his medications.

    First of all, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to go find a therapist for yourself. Someone to vent to in person, someone to answer your questions, someone to offer you educated advice.....who isn't going to judge you. We do pretty good here, and I hope you keep coming back. But it's just not quite the same as having someone in person to talk to. I know what it's like living day in and out with a person with this disorder. It's hard. My mom will be fine, chatting along normally, then suddenly something creeps in that throws up a red flag.......and then I have to probe more to see if it's something that is just "normal" for her or something I need to be concerned about. (not so easy to do, I live 2 states away from her) I've been doing that since I can remember, and I'm 48 now. I automatically did the same thing with my aunt too. So to some extent, it's like you're always tense....just waiting for that moment. If you know what I mean. I never had anyone to talk to about it until I went to a therapist at 22, and boy did I unload a lifetime worth of stuff. LOL

    But I would also look into other alternatives before just tossing him out of the house.

  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My son is on the autism spectrum and is graduating high school this year. We are getting his supports in place now because hub and I can't live forever, and he will have to move on, as much as it scares me to think about it. There are some really good supports out there and the disabled adults get caseworkers and there are apartments that our kids can live in where they are visited by caseworkers, but basically they live alone. If your son is unable to do that, I agree that a group home is a good idea.
    I would start getting supports for him now because it is long and frustrating (the process), but the end is peace of mind. They can even maybe find a low key job for him to make him feel productive. You can work a certain amount of hours yet still not lose your benefits, including SSDI.
    We had to go to the Dept. of Aging and Disabilities, which I thought was odd because my son is only eighteen. However, this place, which I believe is everywhere, is for both the aging AND disabled and has been a Godsend for us.
    Right now Lucas isn't moving out. But we plan to have him settled by twenty-five. We are older parents (58 and 56) and just can not take care of him for the rest of his life (I wish we could, but maybe it's good for him to get out too!)

    Lots of luck on your journey and I wish you all well!
  8. matti

    matti New Member

    Hi Calamity Jane and everyone else!
    Thank you for your kind responses. Actually, I live in Kingston, Ontario in Canada. I have been through this already with my late brother - he had schizophrenia and drug addictions. To be honest, there's not a lot here in Canada for the mentally ill. Lots of talk, but no action. Yes, we have group homes, but they are only offered to persons who have little to no family support and who usually have mental deficiencies that accompany the illness. My son is extremely bright (registered high on the IQ scale). Because he is a only child, I know I have to do something to ensure his care after my husband and I are gone. We are currently working very hard to maximise our financial situation(difficult to do while we pay for my son's upkeep!) and we hope to leave him with money in trust to go towards his living expenses. I guess I was feeling very down the day I posted this thread, but it sure helps to know that other's are experiencing similar situations. Thank you all for your messages!
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Matti... there's not a lot of help with these kinds of cases, anywhere in the world that I'm aware of... We've come a long way in how we handle physical handicaps, and some progress with mental handicaps, but... mental illness is SO hard to deal with, on every level (personal, family, locally, medically, politically, etc.)

    (I'm in Canada too...)
  10. matti

    matti New Member

    Yes, InsaneCdn, I agree completely.
    When we finally shared with my husband's family why my son was acting so strange around them, suddenly it was as if he no longer exists. We were met with blank stares and a general attitude that my son is a throw away person now. No one takes the time to ask how he is, or how we are. We get a lot of "well, he's 23 now - time to grow up and snap out of it" attitude. They really don't understand how devastating this diagnosis was to my son and us, and they don't understand that there is a real grieving process we are going through with this news.
    It's really sad how mental health is dismissed in this society. I've often said to my G.P. that if my son could walk into an ER with an anvil sticking out of his head he would get immediate and decisive treatment. Unfortunately, mental illness is hard to gauge physically, but it is just a disabling as any other sickness.
    Until people start coming out of the closet and talking about mental health and how it's affected them personally, this stigma will continue, and people like my boy will continue to live a marginal life because society shuns the sick.
  11. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Sending you a hug Matti. All invisible disabilities are just so unfair to people. I'd rather my son be in a wheel chair many times a week. Some kind of sign to say, There IS a BIG Problem here.....he is not just trying to bug you! Have a little compassion please~!

    I hope you can find some kind of mental health services, even if it means getting on a long waiting list....time is going to move on either way so might as well have some kind of options (if there are any).

    Does Canada have a form of disability payment for people like your son? I agree, this is not the time to admit you will keep him or to sing any praises or water anything down. I always tell parents that when they apply for SSI or other disability programs, that it is not the time to talk about strengths and achievements. This is the time to say how it is when things are at their worst. You just dont know if they will improve so the funds should be based on if they need the maximum care they might need.

    I'm glad you came to vent. I go through ups and downs even if his situation stays the same sometimes....some days just seem so hard to face the big picture.

    Let us know how things are going for you. I hope you can find some way to get a little break.
  12. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Mental health services are bad everywhere I'm afraid. Hopefully there would be a change in attitudes in future.

    Where I live we have had a long time a trend to close down inpatient treatment places for those with mental health issues. Part has certainly been to save money, part has been idealistic ideas of self-determination and living as an equal citizen. Money-wise they are taken cared of, they don't end up in streets but have apartments that social services pays rent for. And they have their medications and met with psychiatrists and therapist's regularly. And there is also activities available. Unfortunately for many it is not enough and we have people who are not able to leave their homes because of social fobias and anxiety, people who forget to take their medications, people who get taken advantage of, suicides and the few very sad cases there people have even killed someone so they could get some in-patient treatment, to get away of it all. The topic is currently one of big debates here.

    And indeed physical and mental or neurological disabilities are at times treated very differently. We have quite a nice government program that finances a person with physical disability to hire an aide to help with their daily care and tasks, housework, entertainment and if the disabled person works or studies with that. The idea is to make it possible to live at home and to have highest possible quality of life. These funds are not available for people who would need same kind of help because of mental health issue or issues like ADHD (I think people with autism can get that service though.)

    My son's issues are not very serious and now it seems that he may have very bright future and I'm of course not hoping anything away from him on that. But when he was younger and we had our most difficult times with him and no one really knew, what was the problem (well, we still don't), just that he was very complexed and challenging little boy, I few times felt even secretly envious of a friend who has a delightful daughter with down syndrome, who is same age my difficult child is. They were lucky and she doesn't have any serious health problems and has always been a lovely girl. While she had her challenges, everyone could see, that she was special needs, people mostly treated her nicely, they had mostly an easy time getting all needed services and things were nicely planned for her future. They knew early on, how her schooling would happen, what kind of services she would have as an adult (though her moving out has postponed some, they were planning her to move this summer but it seems that the place she will have in new semi-independent housing will not be available yet. They are building a new apartment complex for this and construction will take little longer and it is likely she will be able to move at earliest for Christmas.) We never had that knowledge with difficult child.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Does Canada have any group homes? In the US, we have homes where people live under supervision (some adults need it). They, of course, also have rights as adults, but not all adults can take care of themselves like adults. They help give the medications and they give the residents chores and help them find jobs and give them as much freedom as possible. We also have sheltered workshops so that they can feel useful...they get rides up and back. Of course, if the residents become ill (which can sadly happen to people with serious mental health issues and often THEY don't know they are that ill) they are taken for help. I'm not say ALL group homes are great, but the good ones are a Godsend for the residents.

    Canada is such a wonderful country and it's healthcare system has such a great reputation (I wish we had a system more like Canada's). It is hard to believe there is nothing or nowhere for a disabled adult to live if he can not take care of himself. in my opinion living assistance and an apartment are pretty useless if the adult is unable to take care of himself. Schizophrenia is quite severe...

    Hugs and I really hope you can find someplace for him. The pot is probably self-medication.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    MWM... Generally, in Canada, if the disabled adult has a severe physical disability... we tend to treat them fairly. If the disabled adult has a pervasive developmental disorder - Downs, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) - depending on which province, these are also treated quite fairly. But... severe mental illnesses are a catch-22. We are closing down mental hospitals - due to the "belief" that these people are better off in the community, with "supports". For some, it seems to work; for others... it doesn't work, and there is nothing else.

    JMO, but... mental illness is still such a backwoods area in medicine. We don't really have answers, just a lot of people for whom we can list off all the things that do NOT work... When people are unwilling or unable to conform to the basic rules of the systems designed to support them... what IS the right answer?

    I just don't know.
  15. matti

    matti New Member

    Yes, I believe that my son's use of pot is self medication. If he can control his anxiety then his psychotic breaks are not as frequent or as bad.
    His family doctor wants to put him on Medical Cannibis, but I am very concerned about the use of cannibis with schizophrenia. Everywhere I read, it says that schizophrenia and cannibis is bad, but his doctor says it all depends on which strain he uses. Anyhow, it's up to my son what he wants to do, it's just that, once again, this is a socially isolating issue that we cannot talk to anyone about it unless it's anonymously (hence, this forum!).
    Does anyone out there know anything about the use of Medical Cannibis in schizophrenic patients?
  16. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    At compassion club meetings I've witnessed some very heated debates over full legalization come to a halt when schizophrenia enters the discussion. I have no idea if it happens to some people with the illness or everyone with the illness but marijuana has been known to bring on psychosis in people with schizophrenia; seems to override their antipsychotic medication in many cases.

    Knowing now that my girls father was diagnosis with schizophrenia I found this news very unsettling. I've discussed my concerns with my girls and they seem to understand why I insist if they sneek off and experiment they will put me on the phone with who ever is with them before hand so that person knows its safe to have me come get my kid help without them getting busted. My girls are afraid to try it at this point.

    Your son is already smoking it and it doesn't seem to be causing psychosis - if a doctor prescribes it and it is acquired legally it will no longer be a social isolating issue. Here compassion clubs are huge social organizations, they have picnics and all kinds of social events. I know my medicine helps me and anyone ?s my right to my mmj card gets met with a confused question on why should I finance the black market to get my medicine?

    Not sure if this helped or confused you more anyway I just came out of the closet LOL...

    adding on edit - strain could be the whole difference if doctor could direct him away from the strain that causes psychosis he would be less likely to get in trouble (with street pot who knows what it is)... please back channel and let me know what strain the doctor recommends for him
  17. matti

    matti New Member

    Hi HelpAngel
    My son's family doctor says that the Indigo strain is OK, but to steer clear of the Setevia strain. Apparently Setevia can cause agitation and bring on psychosis. As long as he uses the medical cannibis and avoids the street pot which can be cut with nearly anything he should be fine.

    I'm OK with this, however, my husband is really struggling with it. And the family will never know because they are very, very strait laced about these things.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    IC, this reminds me of when the ACLU in the US decided that mental health patients have rights, even if they are psychotic and unable to care for themselves or even remember to take their medications or unable to many of our homeless are mentally ill. I volunteered at a homeless shelter and almost all the folks who returned constantly were both mentally ill and substance abusers who were not capable of taking care of themselves. They were expected to do things that they couldn't even remember, like showing up for appointments when they didn't know where they would be or when they had no way of getting there or when they were out of their right minds.

    I thought it was stupid then and I think it's stupid now. The ACLU did not do the severely mentally ill any favors by giving them rights that they don't understand and can't do. Yes, we needed some changes, but now we have a mess. We DO have group homes, but nothing can stop most mentally ill people from walking right out, even if they are psychotic.
  19. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Thanks Matti, that does make a lot of sense and my caregiver pulled out my file and confirmed what your son's doctor said. Actually "I told ya so" was what he said LOL. Then he went on to explain he steers me toward the indica because the sativa makes me have difficulty sleeping, when I can sleep I sleepwalk about 5 times more and I get very hyper and b!#chy (yes I gave him the raised eyebrow and asked if b!#chy was a medical term?)

    Both help with the pain in my back and both help settle stomach (ulcers) but the hyperactivity level I have going on makes sativa a big no no for me. It's more like for a cancer patient who is down for the count to be able to drag themselves out of bed when don't have any energy.

    In the USA we have an issue with caregivers want research grants to take the (buzz) out of mmj and only have the medicine left; but mmj is against federal law and even though some states have approved it - the banks are all federally insured. My caregiver makes a cream I put on my bad disk and it is pain free for a couple hours yet doesn't cause any impairment or buzz to it. It's very expensive so only used when going to be camped out at a courthouse all day and can't medicate or similar situation. Doesn't smell, doesn't alter your frame of mind I really believe this is the key to making it more socially acceptable.

    Problem with street pot is a grower throws a bunch of seeds out there and has no idea what type of plant they came from you often end up with a mixture of both kinds. Problem with teen usage is brain is developing & addiction portion of the brain is maturing so anything started as a teen will be about twice as hard as an adult to quit. They can also kind of hard wire their brain into believing it needs it. In the entire USA there are only a handful of mmj patients under 18yo. I'm still going to try to keep my girls away from it as long as possible (they are lazy enough).

    Because it's natural many people feel its harmless - cobra venom & moose urine are both all natural but I wouldn't recommend drinking either one. MJ is a high powered medication and should be treated the same way as lithium or opiates etc. and only be available by prescription.
  20. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I agree completely MidwestMom my advocacy newsletter stated that 70% of the homeless & prison populations in my state are in need of mental health services. The treatment of mentally ill inmates here is appalling. Often when people come to conclusion they need a rehab center they don't have $1700 to get in. Another problem I've found when trying to locate housing for others is for every opening in a group home there are at least 10 people who really need that opening. Seems when they start cutting funding the mentally ill seem to get hit hardest; I'm appalled that they cut funding for the most vulnerable populations first. Reminding everyone if not registered to vote please do so.