Treatment for Addiction, Anxiety, and Depression
anonymous Asks ...
Hello Dr. Chin,
I apologize that this message is so long. But I will try to summarize the best I can.
I have a 24 yr old son, who we've been trying to help for the last 10 years with his mental health issues and addiction problem.
My husband and I have never had drug/alcohol addiction, however my dad and my grandfather have been alcoholics.
My son's problem started when his older brother (who had an opiate addiction) relapsed and tragically died of an overdose at the young age of 20. Our remaining son who at the time was 14 spiraled into a deep depression and debilitating anxiety kicked in shortly after (prior to this, we did notice that he had anxiety issues, but exaserbated). He isolated himself and threw himself into an online game that he used to cope. He would stay up all through the night playing and would have little communication with anyone. Despite our efforts of counseling, drug therapy prescribed by a psychiatrist, SPECT scan by the Amen Clinic, (which showed that he had anxiety disorder and mood disorder) etc. nothing seemed to work. He would have out of control rage and take it out on my husband and I.
After a 1 1/2 years of this he went back to school, but when he did he started using alcohol first and then it turned into other drugs. He eventually was arrested at the age of 18 for posession of ecstasy and stolen property. He was ordered to a 6 month program, which he did and seemed to be doing better once he was out. Unfortunately, he soon got back into the drug scene and started using opiates.
He has been on suboxone, which he has weaned himself off of just recently. He is sober now, but his addictive behavior goes into other areas of his life. Prior to giving notice, he worked in Las Vegas for a well known magician. After 8 months he decided to leave because of addiction to gambling and anxiety issues. He's now home with us (in California) and needs help to get his life on track. My husband and I have depleted all our savings, retirement, etc. to try to help our boys. My husband left his lucrative position when Aaron was 16 because we felt that we were losing him, too. Now we are at a point where we both are without work and financial means to help him. If you have any suggestions of low cost group home for young men who have mental health issues along with addiction issues to get some life coaching and possibly medication to help with debilitating anxiety would be so much appreciated. Or if you have any other suggestions? We are at a point where we know there's not more we can do, but want to try to reach out to other experts in this matter. Thank you so much - CC
Dr. Lani Chin Says ...
You and your husband have been through quite a bit with your children. My condolences for the loss of your older son. It is apparent that the loss and grief of him has impacted your family on many levels.
It sounds like you and your husband have gone to great lengths to help Aaron. I am unsure from your question if he in fact wants help. It is evident you and your husband have done everything you can to help him, but does he want to help himself? That is a vital question you need answered before you go forward with reaching out and finding other resources to help him. With that said, if you feel he wants help to maintain his sobriety, you can start here: http://www.soberrecovery.com/links/californiatreatmentcenters.html. There are many low cost recovery centers to help him maintain his sobriety. You can also look up local Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings where he can get social support. I would also recommend you look up NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) which is an organization that provides support for people with mental health concerns. Both of these resources are free. You can also look up agencies who offer sliding scale services to get affordable therapy.
I would also strongly recommend you look up free resources for you and your husband to find support. Watching your son go through the stages of addiction is not easy and I am positive you two could use the support of others who have gone through something similar. Good luck.