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Physically Abusive Mentally Ill Son

Question:

Help! Our son is physically abusive to his sister and us. He has been diagnosed with bipolar and ADHD. He is 16 years old. We live with our bedroom doors locked at night for fear he will hurt us. I don’t want to live life like this anymore, but feel if we send him away we are giving up. He is drug and alcohol free, but for how long will that be, he has had drug tested. He has been to many psychologists, physchiatrists, mental health therapy, inpatient setting, etc. He is on lamictal, abilify, aderall, lithium. I am at my wits end. I am afraid to talk to him, wake him up or just disagree with him because of his retaliation. Any suggestions on medication changes? Maybe something we haven’t tried. We have had tegretol, depakote, ritalin, respirdal, stratera, concerta, remeron, etc.

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Answer:

This is one of those ultimately crappy situations life throws your way from time to time where you don’t get to have any outcome you want, but maybe you can have an outcome that is necessary, and which minimizes damage. On the one hand, you are (as a parent) responsible for this child and need to do everything you can to help him out in life. On the other hand, he has become a danger to you and your other child. You’ve clearly done good work in getting him to see the doctors and to receive the treatments that he needs to have his best shot at health. The list of medications that have been tried is staggering, actually. I am not a psychiatrist and thus cannot comment on the medications involved. However, it would appear that they are not enough if you are still fearing for your safety with him in the house. Something more appears to be needed under the circumstances.

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p> I can only guess at how difficult it would be to contemplate institutionalizing a child, but it might be something you have to not only consider, but actively seek out if you are to preserve sanity in your home and protect both yourselves and your daughter. I do not have a good idea of what sort of programs might be available for someone in your situation, so would suggest you speak with your local doctors who will hopefully be better informed than myself. Let me be clear that you’d be contemplating live-in therapeutic programs, not rubber rooms. It is a terrible thing that your family is having to endure, and it will not be made better by your failure to take protective action necessary to preserve your mutual safety.

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Comments
  • devoted mom ready to lose her mind

    I go through the same thing, he threatens us, threatens to burn my house down, goes through mania episodes at least 3 times a week. walked out of school felt he was dumb because he couldn't pass the FCAT but graduated from SCTI for Computer Graphics. He is so talented for his beautiful artwork and poetry, some of his friends are scared of him but stick by him but they are not good to associate with in the first place. He now has a habbit to steal small things if he can't afford them, he has taken up drinking because it is out of your system before his court dates and smoking cigarettes because he can't smoke pot which he never did until he turned 18 and quit his meds because he became an adult to make his own descisions. He wrecks things in the house and has just kicked in my brand new car after he jumped out of it because I tried to pull him back in the car after he went into rage trying to jump out to go after the driver of the car next too us because another older teenager in the car looked at him wrong, but because I tried to stop it I was punished when he did jump out and I slammed on the brakes. he has just spent 69 days in jail and I thought that could help and make him see, but there has only been a change for the worse. He is in mental health court right now with charges pending for battery, he can only be around his sister with adult supervision and they can only help so much and I'm exhausted stressing out fearing for my 12 year re-lationship, and how it is upsetting my 16 year old daughter who is now seeking counseling. He has no-where to go, he won't take his meds and won't find a or get a job. He has a compulsive obsession with a girlfriend who's, mother has a restraining order on him because of his many baker-acts over this year but, they still see eachother and all he does is cry and doesn't trust her and verbally abuses her, he has hit himself on several occasions and gives himself black eyes, he has caused over 2,000 in damages of my home and vehicles. His father is an alcoholic and won't help. He has burned his bridges with my other family. He is just in his own world. I can't talk without him screaming at me calling awful horrific names. He is not fit for a residential program because he can physically take care of himself but is on the border line of incompitent to take care of himself. I love my son and I can't give up on him, he does have a good heart, passionate and very funny, but this disease has over taken him. I haven't seen him smile in almost a year or heard him laugh. I only see him cry, scream and break things. I'm so scared for him and I can't take much more. They have just prescribed him Lithium yesterday and he took off and don't know when he will come home and never took his meds. Any suggestions?

  • smilesonu2

    I understand completely where you are. My son will be 19 on 12/1/06. He is just like your son. He has stolen from us, our families an from the general public. Burned many bridges. He won't take meds. Lies, cheats, steals, is abusive physcally and emotionally. Horribly so to his girlfriend. We love him but we can't put up with it anymore. We are planning to kick him out tomorrow. If we don't we are enabling his behavior and his sister finally deserves to be safe in her own home. We have given him more than 18 years of our lives and our daughters complete life to helping him. We are crushed but find no one to say what we are doing is wrong....lots who say we need to make him live his life with his consequences. Just want to let you know you are not alone. I feel your pain. GOd bless you and yours with peace and knowledge!

  • Marcia

    Couple all of the above with the child calling CPS and accusing her parents and an adult son home from University to work for the summer with child abuse. Fighting to save our daughter both from herself and the CPS network that does not realize her condition and only wants to penalize the parents.

    This is a nightmare. We are fighting to help our daughter. And our hands are being tied by social service laws. The police found no evidence of abuse but CPS continues their case.

    They want her in foster care -to what end?

    Every moment is a nightmare here.

  • robbie johnson

    nothing you've done has made things better. so, u do not possess the capacity to solve this situation. he is not funny.

    maybe he'll be lucky enough to meet the right people who can help him, but for now, unless you're hooked on pain, move out of the way.

  • Anonymous-1

    I know exactly how you feel. We are moving are son to another state the day he turns 18 due to his behaviour. He has been diagnosed severe adhd, bipolar, depressed. He refused any kind of treatment, including medication. He used to be extremely emotionally and verbally abusive. He has mellowed but still is abusive, and my gut instinct as a mother tells me that he is doing something horrible and wrong to our youngest son. We love our boy, but we have to make him leave our home. Like you, we have tried EVERYTHING, from traditional help, therapists, pscyhiatrists, to alternative programs. Nothing seems to work. And, there are people who mean well, but are always saying, "well, have you taken him to a counselor". Puh-leeeze people, don't you think we've thought of that and much much more?

  • Anonymous-2

    How is he doing now,,,

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