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Ask Mic Sayre Your Own Question

Mic Sayre
Mic Sayre, Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 52
Experience:  I have worked with children of all ages for close to 15 years.
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17 year old son

Customer Question

I have a 17 year old son that is having some problems. I noticed on his arm yesterday he had cut the word "DEATH" in it. He has a short fuse and blows up really fast. We all are like walking on egg shells around him and make sure he always gets his way cuz the first time you tell him NO or he is reprimanded for something he has not done and got caught about it, he blows up. He was on meds, but refused to take them. We don’t know what to do. We are scared he will hurt himself or somebody else if he acts like this. He has his license and we are soo scared to let him drive. Can you please help us?
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Ann replied 11 years ago.
 What were his medications?   What was his diagnoises?   How long has he been off the medications?
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Ann's Post: Thanks Ann. He was on Buspar and Prozac. He would never take it. We were constantly telling him to take his medications. He did not really have a diagnosis from anybody. They just put him on the Buspar to keep him from moving around so much (which did not seem to help) and the Prozac for what they claimed was depression, which it might as well be. But, he quit taking the medication. He has been off medications for about 2 months now and we are starting to see signs of temper outbursts and now this cutting on himself. Any suggestions?
Expert:  Ann replied 11 years ago.
 I would suggest that you seek Medical help as soon as possible.    He needs to be evaluated by a Mental health Physician. Not all antidepressant drugs work for everyone.  If he is causing himself physical harm..   I would not delay in having him evaluated.    I do not know if he is on any street drugs or alchohol, but if he is,  this also could contribute to his behavior.  Either way,   this appears to be a serious situation and it would be much better for him to be evaluated which would result in a defiante diagnoises and treatment.   I hope I have helped you.   If there is anything else please let me know
Expert:  Mic Sayre replied 11 years ago.
DearCustomer

You should definitely take your son to a mental health professional (psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, or a clergyperson with training with depression and abuse) as soon as possible. Talk to your son's school counselor and your family doctor to see what resources are available to your family through the school and community.

At this point, the only person who should be prescribing medications to your son regarding his mental health would be a psychiatrist (They have doctor training and are able to prescribe meds.) Frankly, your son should not have been given such strong medications like Buspar and Prozac without a definite diagnosis (For the love of God, don't let them do this again!) to begin with.

I now have several questions for you that will help me understand the situation better. Has your son ever been abused--sexually, physically, verbally, or otherwise? How long has this behavior been going on? Is this a relatively new behavior (within the last six months to a year) or has your son exhibited this kind of destructive behavior for years? If this behavior is relatively new, can you correspond the change in his behavior with a certain event (visit to another person's house--family friend, relative, or other/school related--after school detention, sports, clubs, etc./any other possibilities)? Is he taking drugs or alcohol that you know of?

The reason that I'm asking these questions is because people often cut themselves to 1) relieve the pain they are feeling on the inside and 2) to feel some kind of an emotion. The fact that he's carving his arm shows that he is definitely depressed and possibly suicidal if he's carving the word "Death" into his arm.

I found an article that talks about what factors lead up to people cutting themselves (Sexual abuse is high on this list.). I've enclosed the website so that you can take a look at it if you want: http://www.healthyplace.com/Communities/self_injury/site/depression/childhood_trauma.htm
I've enclosed a website below that has a large and long list of mental health agencies that are geared towards helping emotionally disturbed children and their families, providing grants towards care and whatnot: http://mentalhealth.about.com/library/us/bliowa.htm

Here's another one. It does repeat a few of the same agencies: http://www.mentalhealth.org/publications/allpubs/stateresourceguides/iowa01.asp

This site lists mental health centers in each county in Iowa: http://www.uihealthcare.com/depts/socialservice/staff/mentalhealth.html

I don't think that it would be unreasonable for you to ask him to take a drug test to rule this out as the problem for his abrupt change in behavior. If you think that you're going to get too much grief, then schedule him for an annual physical and get the doctor to draw blood under the disguise as it is a new, mandatory part of the physical now (Of course, you're going to have to speak to the doctor beforehand about this plan so that he/she is onboard and doesn't blow it by accident.).

I hope your son gets the help that he so badly need right now. My best wishes to you and your family through your trying time.

Mic Sayre
Mic Sayre, Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 52
Experience: I have worked with children of all ages for close to 15 years.
Mic Sayre and 2 other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I forgot I had written to this, but now it is 2 years after his high school graduation and he is living on the streets. He has no job, has made a lot of bad checks, lost vehicles and has been arrested several times from gas drive offs to stealing etc. He is going to be 21 in February and I think this is just the beginning of his problems. He is like a sponge, living off people. I wish there was something we could do for him, but he acts like he don't want to be helped and wants to live this kind of life.
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 7 years ago.
HelloCustomer

I'm sorry to hear things worked out this way. When is the last time you spoke to him? Has he gotten locked up?

Chase
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
He is not in jail now as far as I know. Still living off of people, still no job, no license, etc as far as I can remember. It is a struggle to not just go and get him and bring him home and hope everything will turn out okay, but I know he needs to learn himself, IF he can. His father and I believe he is a little slow and part of this he really does not know if he is doing right or wrong, the system won't help us at all.
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 7 years ago.
May I ask why you think he's a little slow? Was he this way all of his life or did it 'happen' at some point?

Chase
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
<p>He has been in special education classes all throughout out school, repeated kindergarten. We have fought with schools for him for 12 years of schooling. They passed him just the year before last only in an IEP program, not actually a real high school diploma!   We were very aggravated. He was no more ready to get out in the world by himself that a 10 year old. His IEP evaluations will tell you he is very young for his age. We have had numerous problems throughout his life, running away, stealing, soiling his pants, wetting his pants, hiding things, breaking things, just too numerous to mention and i have tried and tried, and tried counselors all his life and he would just let them think he was fine and they would put him on a medication, well when he got old enough he refused medicaitons. Just a lifetime of battle with that child. I guess he is on his own now, but sure wish we could of helped him years ago.</p>
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 7 years ago.
I can understand that. Was he ever diagnosed by a private doctor?

Do you think he would consider seeing a doctor now?

It's possible that depending on his mental state, he may not be able to "learn on his own" as you have said. There must be an issue that is contributing to his behavior, particularly if you say that this has been ongoing behavior from childhood. He may need some type of intervention, whether that means talking to him, or yes, going to pick him up and bringing him home. It is possible if you could get him in to see a doctor, and if necessary onto proper medication, then he could start to live a more stable life. I welcome your thoughts, let me know if you want to talk more

Chase
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Nope, nope, he will have nothing to do with doctors no more. I have tried, I have tried. I have even tried to trick him into going into the ER. He has been to the ER enough and admitted and diagnosed only with "depression" by a physician, but there is more to his problems that have went on since he was like 3 years old. His first running away incident was in kindergarten and he says it was because his brother got to do something he didn't. It has progressed from there. Never really knowing why he steals or runs away.   I wish we could help him. Police will not do anything, until he is serriously hurt or injured or something like that. So, I guess we just wait until he turns 21 and gets killed or kills somebody and he is finally arrested and gets the help. We even tried a committal, but we did not have enough evidence according to the court to PROVE he was having problems. Whatever!
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 7 years ago.
I agree that there's more going on, and he may need more of a diagnosis than the ER doctor gave him. This isn't just depression. Although you think it's hopeless at this point, don't ever stop talking to him about getting diagnosed. Not necessarily by a physician, but a psychological evaluation. Let him know that some of the things he is feeling and doing, might not even be his fault, and that by getting evaluated, he could at least be sure whether or not it's just his personality, or an issue. Yes he'll refuse over and over, but don't stop. Just keep bringing it up, whether he wants to talk about it or not. Let him know it is possible to live a normal life, but he has to want to make a change and take a chance that he could get better. You're right that he may have to get arrested before he will get help, hopefully it won't come to that and he won't get hurt or hurt someone else. In the meantime, keeping a journal and writing down dates and times of his behaviors and misbehaviors (go back in time as well as you can remember) can possibly be of use sometime in the future.

Chase
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
As we are talking about him he just called. He still has no job and still trying to figure out if he has a license or not. He said they don't know what they are doing (the courthouse, police station). Said that he might not have his license until next year. This was for a gas drive off he just did this year in August. I told him to call the county courthouse and the DOT that they are telling him to do so. He said he does not know how or where to do that. He said he has a car, but I said you cannot drive that car without a license or job for insurance as it is mandated here in iowa. I try to have a relationship with him by talking, but just trying to keep an open line of communication, but he just has no common sense at all.
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 7 years ago.
Again, it could be a mental issue. If you're in contact with him, continue to urge him to seek help, let him know you'll go with him (if you will of course)..let him know just go and see what they say, it doesn't mean he has to listen to them, but its better to know and then know what help is available to him.

Chase
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for listening, we do think he needs to be evaluated for sure. But, until he is willing as he thinks there is nothing wrong with him, will continue to be this way I suppose. Thanks again.
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 7 years ago.
No problem. I'm here anytime you want to talk. Just keep suggesting it to him and keep talking, eventually he may give in.

Chase

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