Drug Addiction Young Adult Family Story
Almost everyone with drug addiction believes their drug addiction doesn’t affect anyone but themselves. This belief comes from the distorted thinking and secrecy from the disorder of the addiction itself. Somehow, the addicted believes no one notices, mostly because no one says anything out of fear – What if I am wrong? What if the person gets angry? What if I am right? What do I do about it? It is without question “the pink elephant in the middle of the room.”
John talked about his son Dylan who sought help at 23 years old. He thinks back and remembers when he was 12 and played baseball. He was a good student and they were close. Then Dylan started high school and they were so excited he made the team. John went to every game. Dylan was doing great! John and Dylan started planning for college and talking about how he could get a scholarship either academically or for his sports. Dylan was taking some AP classes and by end of 10th grade was feeling some stress about getting into “good” university. John remembers the athletic drive seemed to get more competitive and so did the academics. He looks down sadly, and says, “I pushed Dylan to do his best always.” He says, “the truth was he already was doing his best, I just added more pressure.”
Drug Addiction Impact
John says by Dylan’s junior year, he didn’t want to play baseball anymore. He said he didn’t like it and quit. His grades dropped some. John started to get frustrated – it was like he wasn’t trying hard enough.
John recalls other things changed, “Dylan was harder to wake up in the morning, he had different friends, he wasn’t interested in sports anymore, he really didn’t seem interested in anything honestly, he didn’t want to hang out with the family as much, our relationship became argumentative and I missed my son – I became angry – I changed too and didn’t understand why.”
Dylan did graduate from high school. John reflects on Dylan’s senior year of high school, “I did catch him smoking weed a couple of times, and he came home drunk after hanging out with his friends a few times.” John said. “I blew it off to he’s experimenting and that’s what kids do in high school.” Dylan didn’t get accepted to the university he wanted to go to, but did get accepted to a university and off he went.
By the end of his freshman year, Dylan was failing his classes in university and moved back home with his family to get a job and go to community college. He attended one semester and dropped those classes. He eventually moved into a small apartment with a friend. He waited tables at a local restaurant until he got pulled over one night for a DUI at 23 years old.
Drug Addiction Family Fear
John remembers that phone call that night. “As parents, we all dread that phone call in the middle the night, I was relieved that my son had been arrested. You know what I mean right? He was alive, he was safe!” John noted that he certainly had legal issues now, but it was also a time for a legal intervention and Dylan’s drug addiction could be interrupted – it was an opportunity.
Drug Addiction Recovery
Today Dylan is 27 years old, he has 3 ½ years sober, he’s in university and doing great. “That night would have seemed like a horror but it was actually a blessing,” John says. “Dylan went to treatment for what we thought would be 30 days, but he stayed six months, we are so proud of him – we have our son back and he has his life back,” with grateful tears, John reports.
In reflection, both Dylan and John note wishing they had reached out sooner. However, they are acutely aware suffering alone is not the answer – seeking help is, asking for help, accepting help – and hope that anyone reading this that is struggling or family and friends will know that help is available.
Drug Addiction and Mental Health Disorders
People can often have drug addiction with mental health disorders. Certainly, not all people with drug addictions have mental health disorders. On the other hand, not all people with mental health disorders have a drug addictions. Part of treatment will be a psychiatric evaluation to determine if a mental health disorder is present with drug addiction.
Mental health disorders can range from situational depression to chronic depression, anxiety disorders or more severe mental health disorders or chronic conditions. These can include mood or personality disorders, or psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia.
Addiction and Mental Health Disorder Types
Some other disorders can include:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depressive Disorder)
- Dissociative Disorder
- Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder, anxiety
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Addiction and Mental Health Disorder Treatment
During the psychiatric evaluation, it would also be determined which disorder is primary. This helps decide which medications would be necessary to manage the condition and interrupt the symptoms, as well as finding the right medications best suited for relapse prevention with drug addiction.
During the course of treatment, the dual diagnosis would be managed as the drug addiction is being treated.
Addiction and Mental Health Disorder Recovery
Clients with drug addictions and mental health disorders in treatment will learn new coping skills to manage emotions, triggers, and cravings. Concurrent mental disorders are treated through psychotherapy and psychotropic medications (if necessary). Each client in treatment would have a treatment plan for continued support therapeutically during her course of care and at the time of discharge for aftercare.
Recovery is possible if the dual diagnosis of drug addiction and mental health disorder is treated concurrently and if proper aftercare support is provided.