Son Needs Help...
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Q:  Son Needs Help...

I am the mother of a 21 yr. old son, who is deeply into drugs (using needles, etc.) He has the mood swings that you describe with Bipolar Disorder. He can be furiously violent, but there are times when he lets the guard down and pours his heart out to me. All during his life, he has had fits of rage. For many reasons, I felt that attachment disorders were a part of his problem. I know you cannot 'diagnose' people via Internet. I am not asking you to do that. My problem is that I can't get him to go for help. He will NOT open up to anyone but me, and I'm very ill equipped to know what to do. Even if I did convince him to reach out for help, I wouldn't know which direction to go first. Any suggestions?

Dear Ms. H' -- 

Find the names of several good therapists and several psychiatrists if you can find some in your area.  Meet several, until you have direct knowledge of what it's like to sit with them, so if/when your son is finally ready to make contact with someone for help, you can direct him to someone you know won't "blow it" by not being empathetic enough, smart enough, strong enough -- whatever you think your son would respond to best. This will cost you some time and money, but it's what I'd do if I was in your position (there are some superb providers out there, and some not-so-superb ones who can definitely affect a person's willingness to stay with treatment).  Emphasize from the outset that you're "shopping" for your son and that you would want that person to be willing to see your son (many would start to try to treat your pain, and then declare themselves to be too engaged with you to be able to objectively approach your son, and so suggest that he see someone else while you continue to see them), but use the opportunity to see what they can do to help you while you're at it!  Use the link above to help you look. 

Dr. Phelps


Published May, 2002 

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