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How To Help My Son

Question:

My son is 20 years old and lives at home. He and his girlfriend are having a child in September. As a child he was diagnosed with ADHD/ODD. As an adult I’m concerned he may be Bipolar. He is prone to violent outbursts. When this happens he destroys things. He has destroyed furniture, walls doors… Lately it has become an every day thing. Some small little thing triggers him every morning and he starts smashing things and threatening to kill himself. When the anger has subsided an hour later he is fine. I know he needs therapy and medication but doesn’t have any insurance. I make too much money to get assistance but not enough to be able to afford putting him on mine. How can I get him help. I feel like I’m falling apart. It is killing me to see him this way, to say nothing about him destroying half of my house.

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Answer:

I am always impressed and dismayed by the amount of punishment parents of adult children are willing to tolerate. Your son is a twenty year old man who is behaving in ways that are outrageous, abusive and dangerous, while in your house. In my opinion, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder or any other diagnosis, are no excuse for his outbursts.

Again and in my opinion, you would best serve your interests and his by calling 911 when he loses control of himself. In calling 911 I recommend that you let them know that he is threatening suicide and is out of control. They will send the police and an ambulance. When they come, show them the damage that he has done and insist that they hospitalize him. In the hospital emergency room, he will be evaluated and treated. Either he will be put on medication or will be sent to an in patient psychiatric ward. The hospital can also apply for emergency Medicaid for him.

The problem that most parents face in this type of situation is that they feel terribly guilty about taking strong action with an adult child. However, it is only strong action that will result in his getting help.

In addition to this, it must be made clear by you that he will not be allowed to live in your house if these behaviors continue. He must learn to control himself or move out. He can get a job, no matter how low paying. Besides, he is going to be a father and must take responsibility for that. Living at your house is not taking responsibility.

Mom, people with ADHD and/or Bipolar Disorder, go to work and take responsibility. Even if he has no insurance, he can apply for Medicaid or find a job.

It’s up to you to lay down the law and insist that he stop trashing your house. Let him know that you will call the police if he does it again. If he refuses to believe you and he does it again, call 911 immediately, for your safety and well being and for his.

Best of Luck

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