Beautiful Boy is a book of pain, agony, desperation and well worth the read for anyone with family or friends with dependency problems. My brother (54) is now in an Assisted Living facility after a lifetime of various illegal drugs, alcohol abuse and mental illness. My question to everyone is; Does anyone see a connection between illegal drug use and mental illness? Mental illness brought on by drug use or abuse of drugs to mask the torture of mental illness? With lack of government funding for drug abuse or mental illness, there are very little resources and they continue to dwindle. Unfortunately, this implodes and financially devastates many families. My best for all of the Sheff family and all others touched by these tragedies.
I definitely agree that there can be a connection. In family therapy with my son they call it "Dual Diagnosis". Way before my son became addicted to opiates, when he was in 7th grade we started noticing something happening to him. He was angry alot,, lashing out, just seemed miserable. He started to self medicate then with pot and alchohol. We had him tested and the doc told us ADHA so they tried medicating him. He hated it and never took the meds, he got worse. Now 8 years or so later the docs tell us he is Bipolar he is on meds that seem to be doing him good but what a LONG and Physically Draining and emotionally time. I wish the world would look at addiction and mental illnesses the way other diseases are. I thik the problem is the shame some feel from having a love one with an addiction and from what I see alot of people don't see alcholism as a disease, they see it as a choice, which is just so sad to me.
No question about it. My beautiful boy is doing 5-7 in maximum security. He grew up in jail/prison. He is 31. He still has several cases pending. He has had a diagnosis of mental illness since age 4. Best doctors, best hospitals. Fat lot of good it did. The new prison they just took him to discontinued his meds, which he had only recently agreed to take. You can't win. My life is over as a result of his problems and actions.
Without a doubt as far as I am concerned. We noticed things with our son starting in about 3rd grade as far as learning issues and inability to relate to his peers well. He remained a sweet and well behaved kid but we were there to pave the way for him I think. When he turned 16 and school was getting much tougher, his stress increased, OCD became full blown and he started to self medicate. By 18 he was into meth and our world has been a nightmare ever since and is today. We dont know where he is and havent heard from him. In the beginning they said ADD and prescribed Ritalin and others. He hated them and did not do well with them. At 18 a neurologist said it was without a doubt FAE (his birth mom drank during pregnancy) and now he also is diagnosed Bipolar. What a nightmare for families.
To you all, My heart goes out to you all , and this is by far the most difficult, heart-wrenching, personal event I have ever endured. My brother is beyond words since he is 54, in assisted living, bipolar, schizophrenic.....more than I can describe. If he fails at his present facility (6th since January), he will have nowhere else to go in our state. No one else will take him and our family is out of the question since he has threatened to kill all of us. In and out of mental hospitals (8 visits this year alone) and drugging whenever anyone has their back turned.
My greatest source of anger is his conscious. He will do things (write hostile emails, tell unsolicited lies, disappear, land in jail, look for one of us to rescue him, call and pit his family members against eachother) but still have the foresight to blow his disability check on drugs and losers within 3 days! Calls and cries uncontrollably when he needs a lifeline! We now have hired a money facilitator to pay his expenses....he would just cuss us when we helped. Very stressful.
According to his psych doctor, he will never recover to a point where he will be able to live on his own....his brain is too fried to control his mental problems. They even thought about electro-shock during his last psych ward visit, but he has an artificial heart valve and it would kill him. He is so erratic that they are having to constantly tweak his meds. So sad to watch the slow deteriorate of someone that was a functioning person with a $75K a year job. If he doesn't make it at this facility, we have made it perfectly clear to him that we will no longer support him in any way since he always sabotages his compliance. Tough love but he has almost financially broken us all.
My hopes for all of you is may the burden not ever seem too great to emotionally handle. There are 3 of us (sisters), so when one of us gets too overwhelmed, someone else steps up to the plate. This can become ever-consuming but we must also watch out for ourselves. My brother's problems all started with his feeling of being inadequate in the social order of life. Enter drugs. Any and all drugs. He once spent over $60K on drugs in one year! Not one possession in life but a fried brain. Pitiful and maddening. Best wishes for you all. May your family members find a way out of their darkness, find control and be compliant on their road to recovery!
My daughter's story sounds so much like your son's. She too had such difficulty in school, making friends, feeling out of place and very lonely. She was diagnosed ADD and was put on several meds. Her Dad and I helped her along the way in school; I became a girl scout troop leader so she could be involved, put her in karate, etc... however, after age 14 she went into full blown rebellion, acting out at home, school and with boys. She's 19 on her own and on meth. We have an idea where she is but haven't seen her in 6 months. She calls frequent and texts her older sister. That's all we have. I pray for her all day long and attend regular AlAnon meetings. I believe she suffers from some kind of personality disorder.
I believe that addiction is a mental illness, often part of a spectrum of emotional disorders. I don't think addiction alone causes depression or anxiety for instance, but addictive behaviors result in worsening depression and anxiety, because an addict's actions drive them into legal, financial and personal troubles resulting in hopeless despair. This in turn fuels the addiction so it becomes a vicious circle. I think addiction is it's own disease with it's own pathology but most addicts have many other conditions too such as anxiety, depression, ADD, bi-polar disorder, OCD and others. I feel as though I have been fighting a number of battles, not just with my son but with the medical industry and the legal institutions. This is my worst nightmare come true.
My experience with my daughter has been similar. She started self medicating with drugs and alcohol in high school. In jr. college she used various drugs and alcohol including heroin. This set her into a psychotic episode and was diagnosed with schizzo-affective disorder, depression. We spent all of our savings on in-patient treatment centers. She was tested(neur-psychological) and found to have permanent damage from drugs to her thinking,reasoning,memory and tasking among other problems,was also dignosed wit bi-polar and ADHD(a-typical). This has been overwhelming to us. She has stopped taking her meds because of the side effects,is 22 and thinks she does not have to listen to us. She is jobless, lost her decent friends, living with a loser boyfriend but keeps asking for money,rides,etc. I take her to Dr. apts, will get her meds but have had to say no a lot. It is hard and it has affected me emotionally and physically. There are a lot of people like us who strugle with these children, unfortunately there is not a perfect system out there and expensive programs don't always work. God Bless.
Hello All!! This post has had me thinking for several days. Some of you may know my story, others not. My daughter has been in recovery for 18 months after 7 years of addiction, cutting, many psychiatric diagnosis's, treatment and counseling as a result of PTSD and RTS. Today she is prescription free, drug free and in my opinion diagnosis free. At times I ask myself, "When the medical professionals first labeled (diagnosed)her and gave her the meds (self medicate)what did they teach her? Granted, she had many effects resulting from rape, but was all the labeling and meds necessary or did they teach her the only way to survive with her mental condition was to self medicate with prescribed meds given by professionals. When taken off those meds, she chose others to continue to self medicate. The professionals showed her that it worked. She self medicated herself all the way to heroin. I ask myself, why in my years of high school and younger days were there not others self medicating due to ADD, ADHD, OCD, DPD, DID,and 46+ disorders not listed. I am 55 and never knew anyone in my youth with a mental diagnosis. I don't mean to offend anyone. My daughter suffered through RTS and is a text book example. When she finally decided to stop using, she was not on psychotic meds, was not in counseling, was not in rehab and only attended AA. I guess in summary, my question is...Who is teaching our children to self-medicate, how much money are the Professionals, Pharmaceuticals, Legal System, Hospitals and Rehabs making and what is the cost to us and our child? In closing, the Priest and Founder of a local Christian based rehab (IBH)in Akron was charged yesterday with embezzling one MILLION dollars from addicts and their families. Who is PROFITING at the expense of our addicts and how can this stop? Again, I don't mean to minimize a Professional diagnosis. We have had many over the past years and I believed all of them.....but were they? And where are they today? Ironically,once off all the legal and illegal self medicaters, the diagnosis's have vanished.
Cindykay, I agree with what you have expressed. Until they decide that they are going to stop, all of the meds and treatments may not work. I had things pretty tough growing up, started working at age 16, lost my mom and dad early and I had myself decided which road to take. Maybe I made it too easy on my daughter or maybe she would have taken the wrong path anyway but I can only pray she turns a corner. I am happy for you and your daughter's road to recovery.
Hello All! I too like bethsmom went to work early, was raised in an abusive household and had to be resourceful raising the kids. I did my share of drinking, had pot a few times, speed a few times. Guess it could have gone the other way. I did make choices. Someone told me that it's like a genetic luck thing. Is that possible? I do have a half brother who is mentally ill(schizophrenia)....never uses drugs nor alcohol. I don't think my 3 kids were mentally ill....all were kind, loved animals, funny, bright. BUT after two of them became highly addicted to meth they acted like they were mentally ill.When my son was dying I was at his house. There were cameras that watched all areas outside and later in the attic I found that the phone had a tap on it! My daughter Stella is paranoid, does not want me to know her phone number, address. She told her sister that meth made her "goofey"??!! I don't think she will ever give up drugs. It is now not what she does but how I live in spite of my great losses. Best wishes, Deb
First I would like to say congrats to your daughter! Now I go back and forth on this subject too. My son first started acting out in Middle school but at the same time he changed his group of friends. He seeked out the troubled ones, it was as if he idolized them. After that was when all his problems started drinking, smoking pot, failing in school, getting in trouble and fighting with us all the time. This was when we looked for help and the school physcoligst(?) recommended he be tested! There,right there, I wish we would of just started better parenting, instead we listened. He had become so angry and violent, punching doors, kicking out cabinets, we were affraid of him. So he was tested by neurologists and perscribed meds. and so the story goes. He hated then stopped using them, gave them away and found his own medicine, opiates. So, did he really have a neurological problem or was he under the influence of these new friends and were we just bad parents and did not discipline enough or know how to control him. Could it really have been that. The doctors at the rehab hospitial say addiction comes from the brain and that some people just can't turn this part off where others can. Was my son born with a brain like this? Does he have a dual diagnosis, deepression and addiction? Did the addiction lead to the depression? Or was me being a "helicopter parent" swooping down to rescue him all the time what led to his bad behavior, which led him to his bad friends, which led him to all the bad choices, is this the reason he became an addict?
Missmymom - i don't think you can blame yourself for your sons addiction. I sometimes too go through that same thought process. All parents make mistakes and could have done some things better.... all of them. Unless you were really abusive I don't think you can blame yourself. I think there is something in the brain that makes some people more likely to get addicted. I know when my son started smoking pot he got into it fast and furious. He was not able to just do it casually like some kids can. I do think kids who have low self esteem are at higher risk for this kind of thing but that low self esteem can happen for all sorts of reasons and some of them have nothing to do with us. So stop blaming yourself... it doesn't get you anywhere. The main thing is to figure out what to do or not to do from here on out.
Thank You mixnroll, It just seems sometimes I can't help looking back and wondering the old "what if". Of course it doesn't help when 2 of my friends just threw parties for thier "perfect son's" one who graduated from Columbia and the other Loyola. I did not attend only because I knew I would cry and I am sooo tired of that! So yes, each day he is clean is a good day, we are on day 72. He seems happy, very proud of himself, so are we. I just still hold my breath each time he walks out the door till he comes home safe. One day at a time.
Missymom, How many times I repeated the "If only I woulda, shoulda, coulda" lines. The facts are we can only change the future. Where do we go from here? Keep repeating the Serenity Prayer. I still do to this day. It helps me keep perspective in all areas. There are things I can change and things that I can't and I am learning to know the difference. Just know that for every day sober, your son is learning to live in the moment and take one day/hour/minute at a time. My daughter celebrated 30 days a few times, then 60 a couple times, then 90 and has kept clean since. I still wait for something to be "out of normal." It does get easier though.