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The Downward Spiral - The Chaos Just Got Much Worse.

Posted by mumofjosh on 9 December 2013.

I have a son aged 21 and we have a pretty poor relationship mainly due to his drug abuse. I wonder if anyone else has been or is in a similar situation and can offer me advice and more importantly some hope. 

I love that boy (man?) to distraction but he disrespects me in every way and now things have just got a whole lot worse. A brief overview follows:

His father left when he was 3. He kept in touch on and off; often with no contact for more than a year and then he would put in an appearance for a few weeks or months. This was very unsettling for our son as he was repeatedly being abandoned. He developed signs of being quite disturbed (bed wetting and soiling when completely toilet trained).

There were other problems in his childhood which I don't think can be attributed to his father. He had some fine and gross motor difficulties and was unable to read until he was around 8; then he suddenly had a reading age of 11 almost overnight. He fell over a lot and was always having bump notes sent home from school. His speech was quite odd and he seemed to have problems with pronunciation. He was almost statemented at school but as suddenly as he began to read his balance and motor skills and speech corrected itself. No diagnosis was ever made.

At the age of 11 an older boy moved into our neighbourhood and began calling for my son to play out. He was 4 years older so I didn't let him go. As children will when denied something he found a way to meet up with this lad. Almost from that moment his behaviour took a turn for the worst. He became defiant and oppositional; I assumed that this was an early adolescence because I couldn't think of any other explanation.

He started smoking and skipping school and staying out late even though he would be grounded for increasing periods of time each time he stayed out beyond his curfew. He lost just about every privilege he ever had. I tried a reward system, sanctions etc. etc. but nothing ever worked.

At 15 he was violent and nasty towards me. He stole from me and swore at me, when he couldn't get his own way he damaged my property. I reported him to the police for criminal damage thinking it would scare him to death. It didn't and he continued to abuse me until I'd had enough and I locked him out of the house - again thinking that this extreme step would bring him into line. It didn't and he got prosecuted and entered the youth justice system. 

He failed to attend just about every appointment made for him and was sent to court again for breach. He was arrested by police for being in possession of a knife and got a custodial sentence for that and the multiple breaches of the youth offending supervision order. He then started a series of unsuitable relationships and had another two custodial sentences. It had now become evident that there were substance misuse issues and just recently I found out that he had started smoking skunk cannabis at age 12.

Because of his problematic and abusive behaviour - theft, assault, criminal damage etc., all directed at me he only ever lived at home for very short periods. I kept trying but it was intolerable and I was completely stressed out all of the time. I daren't go out and leave him in the house at all which meant that he had to leave when I went to work. He kept breaking in when I was out at work as I'd confiscated his key to try and stop him playing truant. Since he was 16 he has largely lived with unsuitable girlfriends or in homeless hostels. I have always tried to support him albeit from afar at times but I have given him money and bought him things which he subsequently 'lost' when he moved on to somewhere else.

He continued with his cannabis usage, also taking legal highs, amphetamines, ecstasy, cocaine and whatever else he could get his hands on. He did have a job for 6 weeks but got sacked for poor attendance. 

Whilst in homeless accommodation he would never engage in any of the programs they put in place for him. He did move on to independent living but was evicted for non payment of rent. He has now exhausted all possibility of hostel accommodation.

Looking back his behaviour has been odd for most of his life. Recently it became more so. He had moved to another town without securing any accommodation prior to his move. He has a child who he rarely sees and thought that this move may mean he would see more of her. Because the mother is as chaotic as him this did not happen and he became depressed. After two weeks staying with a friend he'd met in prison he was asked to leave because of his behaviour. He got a place in a hostel which really got him down and started begging me to allow him home. He came and it lasted a weekend and he went back to the hostel. Then he began saying strange things which I didn't pay much attention to at first. The demands for money continued and sometimes I gave it to him.

Last week I got a call from an old school-friend of his saying that he'd bumped into him and he was worried about him. He took him to the hospital and he was exhibiting very strange behaviour - saying his shoes and phone were bugged and that people were plotting against him. The mental health crisis team were called and they concluded that they couldn't help him because he was registered with a GP in another town. He was sent away still in his psychotic state. He hadn't used any drugs for 3 weeks but I understand that it could still be drug induced psychosis. He has had milder episodes than this in the past which I just put down to his vivid imagination. However, I am now wondering if he has had mental health issues for some years. 

I couldn't take him home with me because of an incident that happened in the car on the way to his friends house so that was the last time I saw him.

He went to the homeless section of the council the following day to be informed that he was not eligible for any emergency housing so was again turned away. He has nowhere to go and really needs some treatment but he can't get any unless he goes back to the town where his GP is and he doesn't want to do that because he still thinks he is being terrorised by people there. He has admitted to me that he started to use heroin a few weeks ago because it was the only thing that took the voices and paranoia away.

I am at my wits end. I would dearly love to bring him home and care for him but I know he will just continue to abuse me as he did the other day. He would lie and steal and drag me down and bleed me dry. My life will be hell once again and I will end up ill as I did before. I just feel that he has signed his death warrant now and that the outcome is pretty much decided. I very much doubt he will ever get any help because his motivation is so low and I am just waiting for the call to tell me I need to go and identify him on some mortuary slab somewhere. 

How can the mental health service and the council turn him away when he is in such a state. He is just a little boy really although he talks big - some of his behaviour is that of a 13 year old. 

If there is anyone who knows anything at all about this kind of thing and can give me some guidance as to how to handle this and get him some help I really would appreciate it.

Comments

help81
15 Dec 2013

By what you are describing it sounds like he could be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia or drug induced psychosis. I am no doctor or professional but i have experienced a similar situation with my brother. He was eventually diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, at the age of 20, after years of strange behaviours and episodes. He thought that the whole town was after him and out to get him. After a very serious incident he was sectioned and now he is on life long medication and living a normal life. He too abused drugs but we will never be sure if he was born with this illness or if it was the drugs. I beleive it was not the latter.
What I do want to tell you is that this country has a very poor attitude towards mental health and you will have to fight very hard to get him help. Please do not give up. Keep seeking advice from your gp and push for him to be referred to a mental health service in your area. There is help out there but it won't come easy.

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