Our son Jacob is a paradox. In high school, he maintained a perfect grade point average and was known as a good kid, until the middle of high school and especially during his senior year. He was even chosen as one of the class speakers for graduation, because of academic achievement.
Around age 16, when he had access to a car, he began risky and adventurous behavior like "ding-dong ditch" and car chases, which involved contact with the police. This behavior culminated in streaking (naked) across the football field at a home football game. As you can imagine, this resulted in a week long school suspension, expulsion from National Honor Society, and other legal and financial consequences for himself and us, his parents. His younger siblings also paid the price at school, for being the siblings of the "Pulaski Streaker."
Currently he is 19 years old and is a student at UW-Madison. Right before starting college last summer, he started smoking pot and it has made his behavior stranger. He's getting good grades, so far, but socially, he is completely withdrawn and shut down and has not made new friends. He's a loner and only hangs around a few pot smokers.
From an academic standpoint, he appears to be successful, but socially and emotionally, he's not doing well. He says he's been depressed since he was little, and he's also been cutting himself. Starting in middle school, he's withdrawn more and more from making friends. He participated in sports, but didn't get close to anyone. For the past few years, he has withdrawn from family members also. His issues seem to stem from anger. He holds everything in, then gets angry and tries to express himself, gets frustrated, and he has even punched holes in the walls in our house.
We've tried counseling, but he's not willing to go and fully participate. We'd like to get to the underlying causes and help our son. We've contacted the PNP center, but they have not been able to work with us yet.
Dr. Phil, can you help us or give us any suggestions for treatment in our area? We're willing to do whatever it takes to help our son.