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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5334
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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My l5-yr.-old adopted grandson, whose birth father's

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My l5-yr.-old adopted grandson, whose birth father's identity and ethnicity is unknown, and who is ADHD and was the victim of bullying for the previous 3 years, is now completely out of control. He does exactly as he pleases....skipped almost the last 2 months of school, wanders around the Mpls. and suburban area, smokes cigarettes and pot, does nothing for his parents and has gotten violent more than once and attemped suicide a few times when he was younger. His parents have been in contact with a residential long-term treatment program, but their insurance will not cover any of the cost, plus they don't know how they can get him there physically. Do you have any suggestions as to how to deal with him?

Hi! You know, to give you the best answer, I think I should ask you a few questions first that will help define the problem and the situation.

I need to be thorough, so let's make rule out reactive Attachment Disorder. I want you to look at the following website and look at the checklist of symptoms on the left hand side and see what you think. Then please report back on your impressions. Okay?

Do enough of the symptoms sound like your grandson that we should explore this? What are your thoughts?


Any extra information that will help, feel free to share.

Dr. Mark

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Oh my goodness, do those symptoms match Kellen (my grandson's name) almost l00%!! He is very intelligent and talented in sports, music and drama, but presentlyis

doing none of thos e activities.

Another comment that may be pertinent. He has been taking various ADHD meds since he was 6 or 7 years old, currently Vivance. Also he has been on anti-anxiety meds for a few years. However, recently he has become resistant to taking them.

Are you still with me? It says that I will be notified if the Experts need a little more time, but I have received no such notification.

Thank you for the added information. It helps a lot. I believe I can now be of help with this issue.

First, let me say I am so glad that you went through the checklist and that the evidence is there enough that you there is a clear direction for you to take. I work with families of kids who have different types of disorders and it can be so frustrating when everything isn't working and things are just getting worse and you are trying to be good parents and grandparents and it seems everything you do just doesn't help. So I want you to start by taking a deep breath and feel hopeful: you ARE being the best grandparent you can to a kid who has a very difficult disorder most likely. Kellen is dealing with forces in himself that are overwhelming him.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. Just having a name to the disorder can help. Because it lets you look for someone in your area to work with Kellen. You need to find a psychologist or psychotherapist who has experience working with RAD. So that is the family's first task. You need to go on a hunt for that professional. His parents need to ask at the school, doctors, look online in your area, ask anyone who they can think of--you're looking for someone who works with RAD.

As for the ADHD and the Vivanse and the anxiety meds, they aren't hurting the effort. The problem is they aren't enough to address the pervasive problems Kellen is dealing with in himself and the defiant, oppositional, violent behavior. RAD doesn't answer all questions for you and his parents. But it DOES give a framework from which to understand and address Kellen's problems and needs. And it can guide the medication choices better. And it can give hope for the future even if the present is so difficult with him.

Look at the home page of the website I sent you to:

If you read their story, it will maybe offer you the kind of hope you need to have. And some extra new strength to give a little more love, understanding and effort to this boy even though he may not be able to respond to it in a healthy way. Join the support forum and see some of the topics there and get strength from that as well.

Read as much as you can about it and become an expert. Here's the Mayo Clinic entry for it. It is a number of pages so scroll through:

I've made an Amazon search page for you of books that can help you become expert parents:

Everything above I;'ve addressed to you but it is for his parents as well. So, have hope and know that the road is long but you CAN navigate through the rough places.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, ***** *****

Dr. Mark and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** You have been very helpful. I just have a little anxiety about this: When we find the RAD specialist, how do we get Kellen to go to see that person? He has, during the past year, refused any professional help because he hates talking about his messed-up life, he says.
This is an excellent question. The strategy has to be planned out between you and the psychologist. With most kids with attachment disorders, you have to attract them through some way of getting something they want for doing this behavior. But it usually is a little more complex than simply bribing them. More subtle. So this will be part of the process of working with the psychologist. The family will probably need to have at least one session with the psychologist before Kellen to plan out how to proceed and work on this.

You also will want to ask in the group forum other parents for their experiences on how they got their kids to comply with therapy or medications. There may be other support groups on the net. So keep exploring as well.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, ***** *****

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

For Dr. Mark:

Hi, it's Kellen's grandmother again. Just wanted to let you know that Kellen was adopted at birth. In fact his mother........our daughter....was in the delivery room when he was born and took him home right from the hospital as though she had given birth to him herself. Does just the knowledge that he is adopted play into the RAD?

Also, I have conversed on the phone with our daughter and shared our conversation via email, so your help is ongoing. Thanks so much!

It does. I don't know that there is enough research to tell you that being adopted at birth is a known factor. However, adoption is a known factor. I've always thought it had to do with the pre-adoption lack of loving caretakers. But I don't know. I only know it is a risk factor.

That is very interesting. But really more relevant is his behavior fitting into the RADkid mold and the framework and support you and his parents will have by using the diagnosis.

I wish you the very best. Keep loving him the best you all can, Dr. Mark
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