Newbie - how do I get an adult difficult child diagnosed?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by dstr54, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. dstr54

    dstr54 New Member

    I'm new to this.

    I have a 24 year old son (difficult child). He:
    a) can't hold down a job & is currently unemployed.
    b) has a couple of misdemeanors with jail time that keeps him from getting a job.
    c) Is married, but the marriage is on the rocks. His wife also has "issues".
    d) is hinting that maybe he could come back home to live & go to college
    e) his sister (not at home, but a frequent visitor) can't tolerate him & I'm guessing she will severely curtail her visits home if he returns (she is a straight A student, working on her masters degree, holding down a waitress job (never been fired, etc.) - i.e., all around great daughter.
    f) In his senior year in high school, he was diagnosed with a mild form of ADD. Too little, too late.
    g) his last 1 1/2 years at home (before we kicked him out) was the absolute worst in our lives.

    OK, now that I got that off my chest, I noticed many of you have had your difficult child diagnosed. I'm guessing there may be more resources available to us if we had our son diagnosed as well. Any suggestions on how to get an adult son diagnosed (assuming we can get him to cooperate)?
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Welcome to our little corner of the world. Without his cooperation, there is really nothing you can do.

    If he is serious about getting a diagnosis and help (can't get help without the diagnosis), make him get the diagnosis and make a plan before he comes home. If this means your putting him in a pay by the week hotel or cheap apartment for a month or so rather than bringing him into your home, then that should be what you do. He needs to understand that you appreciate that he is unhappy with where his life is at right now and that he wants to change his life.

    Let him know that you believe in his sincerity, and recognize the struggle that he is in for. Then tell him firmly that you have done your bit as far as him coming home to live in an unbalanced state. He can join you later when he has acted on his new-found desire to make his life better.

    Does he have a job and insurance? Tell him to contact HR or his insurance carrier and ask for a referral. Is he without resources? Tear out the Bluepages portion of the phone book with mental health referrals and tell him to make some calls and let you know what you can do to help. Like a co-pay. Most religious organizations also offer screening and help at low or no charge. You don't have to be a Catholic (or Jew, or Lutheran, etc.) to go to Catholic (Jewish, Lutheran, etc.) Family Services.

    If he really wants help, he will take the next step. If he actually wants to crash on your couch and take advantage of you, he'll tell you off.

    I wish I had more to offer you, but at that age, and going through a tough patch in his marriage, it's up to him. Maybe he married the wrong girl. Maybe they need to work it out. But I wouldn't jump in and rescue him, or think that getting a diagnosis is going to make him want to change.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board.

    I'm afraid I agree with Witz. Since he's an adult your hands are tied unless he agrees to get evaled by a psychiatrist and follows thru. You can spend a fortune, stress yourself into a heart attack or nervous breakdown, but unless HE wants the help there isn't really a whole heck of alot you can do for him.

    Sounds awfully harsh, huh?

    Most adult difficult children do worse when we the parents try to "fix" their problems for them.

    He's 24 and married. You can offer him advice. But I think I'd be letting him learn some valuable life lessons and figuring out what he needs/should do for himself.

    Your son has many options available. If he wants help. Even if he doesn't have insurance there are options. He can go to a country mental health dept and have an evaluation done and be seen by their psychiatrists and therapists. They charge on a very cheap sliding scale based on income.

    As for going back to school, he doesn't need to return home to do that. He can get FASFA loans (as long as he's a full time student) to pay for college.

    I can't offer any advice on the jail time/job issue. But there are other members who might be able to.

    Glad you found us!:D

  4. peg2

    peg2 Member

    Hi, I am currently asking for advice myself for a 17 1/2 yr. old who refuses help. Sorry to say, even at my sons age, there is nothing I can do unless he wants to get help. Has been out of home twice, for lengthy group home/residential stays and just a few months ago I made one last ditch effort to have him screened at the local hospital( they wouldn't admit him inpatient) and also took him to a psychiatrist. Was given medications, but didn't follow through. That's it, no one or nobody can even help a minor this age, let alone an adult. At 16 or 17, lots of good, independent living programs are voluntary, so they don't want him if he doesn't want to be there. I am sitting here wating untiol he turns 18(in May), then a whole other set of problems take place because I need to force him to leave!!!
    Sometimes there is nothing you can do, you have to be at peace with yourself that you have tried everything!!!
    Good luck, hang in there!!
  5. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I can't really add to what's already been said but I wanted to let you know that you have my sympathies. In PA, minors can refuse medical treatment and medications at 14 (!) so it was a long haul with my son, too. I completely agree with the others that these next moves have to be his, not yours.


  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the board.
    Unfortunately, he has to do all the work in this. I personally wouldn't let him come home unless he got an evaluation and was complying with treatment because he can mess up your life in a heartbeat, upset your relationships with your other kids, etc. Does he use drugs? There are county mental health services that take lowered payments. I wouldn't rescue him at his age.
    Remember, this is a "let go and let God" situation. He can help himself, but you can't make him do it. (((Hugs)))