Adult Son Going Down Hill - Need Help Please

Question

Asked by memerry

Adult Son Going Down Hill - Need Help Please

I just found this website and will do a lot of reading soon, but I do have a question. My 22 year old son was diagnosed as a child. We've been dealing with bi-polar forever. My mother was also bi-polar.

My son lost 100 pounds last year which was wonderful. He's already gained it all back in the last 6 months. He became obsessive about his weight, now he's obsessive with food. He does not work, he was laid off and the job market is horrible. He did work part time. He does not collect SSI. He has become a room rat, PS3 is his life. He doesn't get out much, but when he does, it's to go get food. He has few friends if any. Never really has though. His on-line PS3 friends are his only friends. He has a brother who is on SSI, with a cognitive disability. They're friends but typical brothers.

When my bi-polar son turned 18, the psychiatrist asked if I would not come to the appointments any longer so my son can advocate for himself. This was fine, I have not done so. But I have had contact off an on with the counselors etc since then. Recently I became concerned about him and called the counselors for help. No one will return my phone calls. My son says he has not signed any sheet of paper restricting contact. My insurance pays for his meds and I have told the psychiatrist via voice mail that I need to discuss this with them. Nothing - no call back - nothing. I have also expressed my concern that he's in a funk, perhaps a depression, maybe undermedicated, maybe overmedicated.... He's on lithium, seroquel, goedon, klonopin.

Anti-psychs make him psychotic...anti-OCD's make him OCD. He used to have panic attacks while on OCD meds.

My first thought is his lithium level is low because of his weight gain. He won't take a lithium level test, doesn't want to be responsible for the co-pay. I'm sure I can talk him into it if I try really really hard. He's always been quite functional and tends to be manic, not depressive. Since the psychiatrists won't talk to me - you guys are it. Any help out there?

Answer

Hi, memerry. I can't even begin to imagine what you are going through. A few points:

Re confidentiality - your son's right to privacy is protected by professional ethics and law, but your son can waive that right, and as the one who provides him with a roof over his head and all the food he can eat you are in a position to get that waiver.

Mental illness is a FAMILY illness, not an individual illness. Clinicians need to have the family involved. If the clinicians treating your son are too stupid to see this, then you need to arrange for more sympathetic clinicians.

I can not emphasize this enough. Clinicians too stupid to appreciate family involvement should not be treating patients or clients.

Patients typically do not give clinicians a complete set of facts to work with. Family members are needed to fill in the blanks. Yes, your son needs private time with the people who treat him, but there are also times when you need to be in the room.

You have a lot of other issues to work out, but let's start with this one. And please feel free to ask more questions.

Answered by John McManamy