Hi I am new and need help, my wife and I are at our wits end

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jim, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

    Hi all, I'm Jim, our son is 17, we just finally figured out, he has odd/cd, can someone please start us out in the right direction, this has been going on since birth, he takes 50mg of zoloft daily for his anxiety disorder, but I do not want him on a psychotropic medication

    any and all suggestions are appreciated

    Thank You

  2. StressedM0mma

    StressedM0mma Active Member

    Welcome Jim. I am sorry that you had to find us but glad that you did. I am sure others will be along to add there insight as well. I am rather to to the site as well. It would help us if you could give a little more information regarding your son. And, is there a specific reason you do not want him on a mood stabilizer or other medications other than the Zoloft? Did he have a bad reaction to something? I hope you can find the answers you are looking for.
  3. zaftigmama

    zaftigmama New Member

    Well, Zoloft is a psychotropic medication, so it sounds like the horse is already out of the barn on that one. At your son's age especially he should have a voice in his treatment. Can you give us some more information about him?
  4. Jim

    Jim New Member

    Thanks for your reply, he also has depakote (a mood stabilizer) a antipsychotic medication is much different, antipsychotic medications such as Haldol block dopamine to the brain and will induce symptoms such as Dyskinesia, Parkinson's, Tardive Dystonia, we are hearing a antipsychotic medication would be the appropriate course to take, and there is no way I will pump ritalin into him, I work in the medical litigation field and am fully aware of medications.

    He is very incorrigible to say the least, he displays all the signs of ODD and CD, we have tried every form of parenting, tell him to go to school he says no, drag him to school, he leaves campus, gets F's for not turning in work, EVERY paper he turns in he gets an A+, he's sharp as a tack, but displays the stupidest behavior, and cares not about any consequence, he has a yearly pass to a local gym yet will break into the school gym to work out. I am not looking for a solution to help my wife and I cope, this is not something he can be "talked" out of (he's been in counseling) my concern is that my son needs to be able to function as an adult in the very near future.

    Any suggestions are appreciated

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  5. Jim

    Jim New Member

    I am sorry Zaft let me rephrase that to antipsychotic medications.
    His voice in his treatment is he is fine, give me the keys to the car so I can go shoplifting.
    heres his symptoms:
    • Negativity
    • Defiance
    • Disobedience
    • Hostility directed toward authority figures
    • Has temper tantrums
    • argumentative with adults
    • Refuses to comply with adult requests or rules
    • Annoy other people deliberately
    • Blames others for mistakes or misbehavior
    • Acts touchy and is easily annoyed
    • Feels anger and resentment
    • Is spiteful and vindictive
    • Acts aggressively toward peers
    • Has difficulty maintaining friendships
    • Has academic problems
    • Feels a lack of self-esteem...................................If he could be reasoned with I would not be here in search of help.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member


    I hear your frustration.
    But... there is history behind that.

    I'm guessing he does not have an official diagnosis of either ODD or CD.
    The ADHD diagnosis... who did that? when? (diagnosis = diagnosis... we get tired of typing it out all the time)

    From your background, I can see where you would be negative on medications.
    Yet... if your son needed insulin, would you feel the same way?
    There is a MAJOR challenge with medications: The magic potion for one person, is poison for the next person. Literally. Because... if medications are necessary, the "right" medication depends on the individual's body and brain chemistry. Wrong medications are often worse than no medications. But... no medications may not be the answer either.

    Has he ever had a comprehensive evaluation, such as a neuropsychologist?
    What was he like his first years at school?
    Is this your biological son, or was he adopted?
    If adopted, at what age? prenatal history? (maternal drug use etc...)
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Is he, by any chance, using drugs or drinking or both? Most kids will admit to using pot, but won't tell you what else they are using. Stealing is a huge red flag for drug abuse. Have you searched his room, his social networking, his cellphone to see? I know it sounds like a breach of privacy...but this is out of caring.

    I'd say probably 90% of the parents of teens who come here find out their child's first issue is drug use.If so, until that is dealt with, nothing can really help.

    Can you give us a history on your boy? It will help us help you.
  8. Jim

    Jim New Member

    Thank You insane, yes he has been evaluated with CD and social anxiety disorder, he is biological son, his mom has clinical depression, his grandmother Cd, I am negative on the medications because I have seen many psychotic patients on haldol develop Parkinson's like symptoms, although yes it did help their illness, it also overtime induced some very debilitating effects, yes if my son needed insulin I would give it to him, because he would die without it.
    But lets look at it like this, your son cant control himself and is disruptive, to curb that would you give him a drug that could induce a life of motor fluctuations, Dysphagia, Dyskinesia.

    There has to be a better way.

  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Jim - I know there are long term risks of many of these medications. But my son would be dead if it wasn't for the medications. I'll take the risk of long-term effects, just to have a hope of there being a "long-term" anything... but that's JMO.

    Have you ever come across the book The Explosive Child? Lots of us around here find it useful... for me, the biggest single eye opener was a very simple statement that goes against what most people believe... and yet, when we put the statement to the test, it is amazing how accurate it is. He says "Kids do well if they can." Note: NOT "if they want to". And that shift of percepting changes how we see the situation, opens up opportunities to act and react differently. This is NOT a medications-based book at all - completely an approach to working with difficult kids, but not typical "behavior chart" stuff.

    Sorry to repeat the question, but... has he ever had a comprehensive evaluation? plus Occupational Therapist (OT)? plus Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)? Who did the CD diagnosis... I almost got the impression that was given by a psychiatrist who was specifically looking for personality disorders... was anything else thoroughly tested for?
  10. Jim

    Jim New Member

    Hi mom, actually no he does not do drugs, nor drinks. it is ironic he got arrested for shoplifting (burglary) and the officer said he had never met a more honest kid, (the store had video of him stealing and he went in with a friend and they recognized him from the video) he admitted to it and wears it like a badge of honor, he brought the cop to the house and retuned the items, I asked when he brought them home where he got them and he pronounced I stole them, the times he tried weed he told us, he is very into health food, health bars, protein drinks, is anal about washing his hands, our daughter has his facebook password, nothing strange there, he does have a girl he wants who does not want to date him that he is depressed over, and many girls at school that want him, but he is not interested in them, when I take all his privileges away for say not attending school he says "I don't care" and still does not go to school, I tell him its trash night and he doesn't take out the trash, if I remind him he yells and says "I know" he will pick on the kitten and while he is doing it he will look to make sure myself or his mother sees him doing it, if we were not in the room he would not touch the cat, honestly I am a 51 year old man and the youngest of 5 kids who grew up in the 60's and 70's I have smoked my fair share of pot and it never made me torment my parents and siblings, actually I think if he was smoking weed he might mellow out a bit.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  11. Jim

    Jim New Member

    Thanks insane I am ordering that book, yes his psychiatrist did his evaluation, but I am not sure I trust this dr. he is pretty willy nilly with the drugs, he wanted him to try Paxil and if that doesn't work lets try this or that, I said no way, I don't want to make a guinea pig out of my son, detoxing from paxil is worse than heroin, I would rather live with what I call his aholeism" than subject him to that.

    I am sorry about your son, but mine would be alive without drugs, the zoloft for his anxiety does nothing for his CD or ODD, he is able to interact better with strangers with the zoloft, but it also might give him a more care free attitude.

    Thank you for your input
    I am sorry Insane yes he has been like this from birth, putting chairs up to the door to go out in the middle of the night, take him from one cabinet he goes to the next, he as always had the attitude that he makes the rules and knows what's best for him.

  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Absolutely agree with you.
    medications are the LAST resort, not the first.
    And you don't use medications to try to figure out what the diagnosis is...!

    It sounds to me like the first problem is to figure out what the real problem is.
    ODD is a "strange" diagnosis... most dxes have therapies, interventions, accommodations and/or medications that FIT the diagnosis and that actually help.
    ODD... describes a behavior problem. And that is as far as the diagnosis goes.

    You don't list what country you are in... so I'm assuming USA? If so, you might want to look into a neuropsychologist evaluation... a really comprehensive look at everything. I don't know what all the possibilities are... but I do know that lots of kids with ODD for a diagnosis... are something else instead (ours was, too... in our case, it was multiple less-serious dxes, but taken together were driving hin crazy) neuropsychologist is enough down a different track that it won't be just a simple switch of psychiatrists...
  13. Jim

    Jim New Member

    If it matters we are in California, I have several colleagues that are neurologist's, a few know my son and have came to the same conclusion, right before I typed this post I asked him to take his medications before bed, he said "no" I don't want to to, I think his ODD has expanded to CD,(oh Saturday night he took a baseball bat and went around beating on city property) I have talked to him since he was able to talk, everyday, lets say thats oh since he was 5 years old, he is now 17, so thats 12 years.....12x365, thats 4,380 talks I have had begging and pleading, yelling and screaming, for him to come to grips with his behavior, he taunts his mother daily, completely defies both of us.

    What I would really like (no disrespect) is for a parent who has a child like this (this website is Conduct Disorders) to chime in with some useful information.

    The "real" problem is he does not care about any consequence even juvenile hall, has no regard for others, gets gratification from others pain (that he causes) takes no responsibility for his actions, wont go to school, is vindictive, follows no rules and so on.

    Your absolutely right its a behavioral problem hence the term "conduct disorder"


  14. buddy

    buddy New Member

    :hangin: Hang in there Jim! I know it can be hard to have people throw questions at you but remember, we are just a bunch of parents who have kids who do (many of us anyway) OUTRAGEOUS things...we have lived lives of people criticizing us for not being strict enough, picking the right consequences, not following through with behavior plans, not getting them ON medications ...for putting them ON medications and not getting them OFF medications, etc. SO each one of us can only speak to our own experiences and then as you give us more and more information, finally someone who has been in some similar shoes to you will ring a bell. No one is trying to convince you to do anything you are not comfortable with, we just are sharing our experiences and if it fits for you then you can try and if not move on to the next post. I have been here long enough now to know that people who take the time to post to you are doing it out of care and concern. Why??? Because we LIVE this life with you. We know the frustration of constantly beating our heads against the walls and having many good leads turn into a no-go for our kids.

    Many of us come here especially for the first time, on days of total frustration.

    when we discuss medications, I promise you, most of us have very, very mixed feelings. You are right that some medications can cause terrible side effects and they are not worth the risk. My son had such a terrible reaction to a medication recently he ended up in the hospital, then a new medication caused his seizures to get worse... sigh. But he is on some medications that without them, he would jump off a roof, NO LIE...HE actually has tried these kinds of things! So, having found medications that work, when they really do, you can end up with a person who has a chance to realize their potential. There are many kids who self medicate to try to relieve things when appropriate medications are not found. medications, for SOME (not saying this will be for you) can end up allowing a person to not have a life behind bars, in a residential program/group home for years, or at the very least...not having every single day people mad at you which leads to a self concept of being "bad" and not good enough and in the end.....many of our kids do just live up to what people are now expecting of them--what they are used to themselves. But as parents we know what is under that. For most of our kids we have seen the real child under the behaviors and while it can be hard to remember on days when you get a bunch of phone calls about awful things they did or have the police involved....(sigh) we do try to hang in there, as it is clear you are doing too... to see if there is SOME kind of way we can help them.

    I think it is an excellent idea to start reading The Explosive Child. There is another book of his called Lost in School which I am finding really helpful too. Next on my reading list is What your Explosive Child is trying to tell you by Doug Riley (or Reiley??? you can search here and you will see posts from him as he was a guest here several times).These books offer real ideas to try and it is not just a bunch of sticker charts and positive rewards or taking away every privilege which as you say at some point loses all effectiveness anyway. If kids do not have the skills to do better than a consequence or reward to just tell them to do the right thing is not going to work. They need to learn some skills which are often so subtle that it is hard to puzzle thru what to teach...or are so HUGE that it is hard to know HOW to teach those skills. Most psychologists and behavioral people will tell you to do the traditional parenting approaches though, and then we often feel life failures because our kids are actually wired differently. as you mentioned...from BIRTH. There is a ton of research on this now so we are not just giving you a line here...it really is true. (many of us work in related fields...social workers, teachers, therapists, etc... and we really do know how to run a behavior plan...and if it works, great...but for our kids, in general things just tank)

    As others have said, when we look at a diagnosis of a child there are some that are more "umbrella" diagnoses which can be associated with symptoms that themselves can have an independent diagnosis (like ODD or CD) but which really "just" describe behaviors and do not offer much in the way of treatment. Many kids...even kids with neurological conditions like Autism can qualify for the ODD diagnosis. But clearly treatment for Autism would be with a different slant than treatment for a child with bi-polar disorder. both legitimate physical conditions, both resulting in ODD for many kids, but needing specific therapies. That is why it is hard for us to offer ideas without asking you a bunch of seemingly annoying questions, sorry...

    So, you say he was like this since he was a baby... how did that look? Did he cry more than typical babies? Did he have any medical conditions? Did he attach well. Was he a kid who cuddled, made eye contact, hurt animals at a young age??? Did he ever (from birth through early childhood) have to be separated from you--his parents-- for an extended time due to his or parental illness?? How did he do with his milestone--was he exceptionally early with talking/reading etc.. or delayed?? Or just average..same for walking etc... (it may seem odd to go this far back but if we know then we can share what over time and CURRENTLY is helping our kids who have brains that are wired similar to how your son started out).

    Did he have difficulty in school always? Kids who have ADHD and Executive Function Disorder can have extreme difficulty with the "breaks" in their brains. So, if something is wrong with the wiring that does not allow them to STOP and say... hey this could have X consequence that I dont want... or even if they can totally say what the consequence is but act as if "i dont care" then they DO need help to calm that impulse control problem. Research on this is very strong. Study after study shows that behavior methods alone or medications alone do not do the trick. The frustrating thing about medications is that if that IS a part of the answer, it is hardly ever easy to find the right medication. There are many less dangerous medications than Haldol and they are similar in class (risperdal, seroquel) and for my son they are awful. For many kids here they are the thing that is allowing them to live in a home, go to school, do social things, not be in a restrictive housing placement. There are some natural things too that really do help... Including diets that restrict certain foods/chemicals and vitamins or minerals that can help the brain to function better.

    I am currently using audio visual entrainment for my son (AVE....feel free to google it) and have used and will start another session of bio feedback/neurofeedback to help him to calm himself and reduce impulse problems. We are also doing metronome therapy which has really good results for many..we have just started so unlike the other two I can't tell you yet that it is effective for us... but the first two really make a difference. My son has had a hard month. He recently started nto being able to sleep which of course causes more problems. the AVE unit for the last week has allowed him to fall asleep within 15 minutes of starting it. I am amazed...sounded like hocus pocus to me but I have tried it myself and I get it. (of course I have read the research too, if interested I can PM you to connect you to someone who has rental programs so you dont have to make a big financial investment). My son also uses an FM system to help him to focus on instructions from the teacher. Many teens would not want to wear a personal one (like hearing aids) but there are speaker systems and no one knows who the system is there for. This type of thing is showing promise with kids with adhd, and many other conditions.

    So, here are some things for now...if these things fit:

    1. See if you can get a complete neuropsychologist evaluation. These psychologists have extra training in the brain/neurology and are able to help connect the dots between behavior and how the brain works. They are able to give more options as to what might be driving things. Nothing is a miracle but this can really give you some direction.

    2. Do a complete Occupational Therapy evaluation looking at motor skill development (many things are very subtle and the history of issues, even if resolved now can give a clue) as well as sensory integration issues....because if this issue is any part of what is going on (and is often associated with ADHD) then there are some concrete, non medication things that can be done to help with frustration tolerance, impulse control, and general regulation/neurological integration of the mind and body.

    3. Consider a therapeutic boarding school or a residential treatment facility or shorter term treatment programs which are intensive like IOP-Intensive Out Patient programs, wilderness programs (not the scary boot camps you see on tv where kids are abused, actual regulated good programs working with kids on issues like your son has). I would not do a typical boarding school as kids there form groups and have behavior issues that go off the radar of staff just like in any school until there is trouble. In a therapeutic setting that is on the table to begin with. Their goal is to help develop better skills to make better choices in life.

    There is still a lot of hope because at his age, his frontal lobes have not fully developed. And mostly there is hope because he clearly has a parent who is really concerned and supporting him. Until his mid twenties things in that sense are still changing and if you can find a team who can support his choice making and alter his self concept to one of wanting to do the right thing there is still a chance. Are we all successful?? NO. Sadly, some of our kids end up learning the hard way. Some of them dont learn even when faced with the hard way. But I hear in your posts that you are not at a point where you are willing to leave that to fate. (and for some of us, there are times we do have to let go after trying all we can...either in part or totally, until they want the help for themselves.) You sound like a really caring and desperate parent as we all here are.

    (oh, I forgot, what you said about Paxil was interesting. I had been on Paxil years ago, and stopping it suddenly did make my depression symptoms terrible....but I dont think it was anything like heroine with-d would be though I would never doubt that there are individual cases and being in a profession where you see the worst of things, it is really hard (I know this myself-when you work in Special Education you see the ugliest of issues at times...very scary) very hard not to think the worst will happen to OUR kids....

    What happened to me--a sudden stopping of Paxil for several days--when I forgot to get them from the pharmacy and it was a holiday and I had to wait a few days to order and get it filled, I experienced a lot of sadness and tears...no physical sweats or anything though, though I dont doubt everyone is individual and it could happen.---but when I really did stop I did it slowly and had no problems at all, and several relatives in my family have used antidepressants and they have all gone off without any severe symptoms..... being on it though saved three of them from killing themselves, I really believe that).

    Well, if you have stuck with me through this, I hope it helped a little. If nothing else I hope you realize that there are people here who really do care and know the frustration of having a child who feels out of control. It is a really hard parenting road. Wishing you all the best....
  15. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I'm going to toss out two suggestions here prefaced with I base this on knowledge gleaned from other parents here and my own gfgness as a teen:

    1) Allergy testing - Could any of this be caused by something as simple as a gluten intolerance? Dietary changes can make a difference for some kids. And a gluten intolerance might not show up in allergy testing, so some trial and error might be involved in making changes at home there.


    2) Natural consequences. Some learn best the hard way and while it hurts, you have to let them learn the hard way.
  16. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Here's a "Hello" from a parent of an out of control kid.

    And the only useful information I can offer you is to protect yourself.

    Yep. That's it.

    YOU are not going to change your son's behavior. You are not going to "talk" him out of it; "therapy" him out of it; "medicate" him out of it; or "consequence" him out of it - you cannot even "beat" him out of it (and I am not suggesting for one moment that beating is even something you should try).

    Know what you will tolerate in your home - and stick to it. There should be NO abuse! No aggression! No stealing / stolen property. No drugs or alcohol. No truancy from school. If he breaks your rules, call the cops and have him removed for the night. Not for him - for YOU. YOU do not have to live this way.
  17. Mama Raygun

    Mama Raygun New Member

    Paxil withdrawel worse than heroin withdrawel? Thats amusing I'm guessing you never experienced opiate withdrawel.
  18. Jim

    Jim New Member

    First Buddy, Thank you so much for your helpful insight, my son thank the Lord has not shown any suicidal tendencies and tells me he would never hurt himself, His neuropsychologist told us to be very careful considering boarding school as he does not respond well to stress and the sudden onset of severe stress could be disastrous for him regardless if he claims he would never hurt himself. Also he would simply say I am not going and unless a court mandated it we can't make him go.
    To answer your questions:
    Our main problem is he is so very smart his IQ is 130, he tells the doctors what they want to hear and is the most blatant brutally honest person I have ever met, ask him why he doesn't do his school work, he will say "because I'm lazy" why don't you go to school "because I don't want to" he can be getting straight F's and I will ride him about it and two weeks before grades come out he will do all his work and extra credit get an A+ on everything and bring his final grade up to a B, I monitor his grades and attendance daily, I see 20 F's on assignments because he did not turn in the work, he turns in a paper and gets an A+ and thats in every subject, he blows though algebra 2 and geometry, like you or I reciting our 5 grade times table. Another problem is he is 17 so I cant make him do anything, we would enroll him in collage early if we could, but based on his attendance record and not wanting to go our hands are tied, I do feel he is not getting enough of the proper stimulation, but if I handed him a book on astrophysics, he would just toss it on his dresser.

    When I tell him he is messing up, he says "yeah I know" and says he wants to do better, if we tell him not to leave he will just walk out the door, we have tried praising his good deeds, mild short punishment, extreme lengthy punishment.

    As far as school goes he has always been like this, his mantra from birth has been I know what's best for me, yet he has never flunked a grade, blows through all the state tests with well above average scores.

    As I type this I am astonished at what I am describing, if you are not living in it, it just seams unbelievable, when my wife used to describe this behavior to doctors they would look at her like shes nuts, the school principle says "just take away his x-box and phone he will straighten right up" and asserts we are bad parents. We have had the school police come and drag him out of bed and take him to school, then second period comes around and he ditches the rest of the day, the school tells me if we don't make him go they will fine and or put me in jail.

    Atypical antipsychotics (risperdal, seroquel) unless you are schizophrenic can be deadly, although haldol is a typical antipsychotic, the majority of the cases I see where these drugs are involved have dire outcomes, if you have ever been to a nursing home and seen folks slumped over in their chairs thats the good old Ativan/Haldol cocktail at work, the risks of the medications far outweighs the desired result of simply "calming" a patient. A nurse told me antipsychotics will make an insane person sane and a sane person insane, a doctor who is a world renowned specialist in motor dysfunctions said if you ever want to talk to God or the Devil 10mg daily of Haloperidol will do the trick, my family has a history of Parkinson's antipsychotics induce Parkinson's.

    You were probably on 5-10mg of paxil, I have seen cases of 25mg a day patients, curled up in the fetal position withering in agony from going with out it for 2 days, you have to be weened off of it.

    My son like I mentioned is very health conscience strange as that sounds, wont touch fried foods, sodas, loves all vegetables, takes vitamins, runs daily works out daily, protein shakes/bars, he has a gym membership but chooses to break into the school gym at night to work out.

    To you and I Buddy its insanity, he will go into the store with 100 bucks in his pocket and steal a 2 dollar item, has left restaurants without paying, yet his mother gave him the money to pay for his meal.

    I am ordering the books you mentioned and like I said my coping with this is secondary to wanting a productive life for my soon to be adult child.

    Thank You,

  19. Jim

    Jim New Member

    Daisey, my new best friend, I think you nailed the assertion, my wife and I have come to for his entire life.

    Funny story: he gets arrested for shoplifting (burglary) the sheriff calls my wife to come and get him from the station, she tells the officer just take him to juvenile hall, the officer says sure no problem, would you like to put the 160.00 a day charge on your visa or mastercard.

  20. buddy

    buddy New Member

    FOR REAL???? Simply amazing... so the kids get to learn that the parents have to pay for their bad behavior and they can do anything...????? Jim, I am truly sorry.