Drug Abuse & Brain Damage


Right now I hope my son is using something, because if he isn’t, he has permanent brain damage that may require hospitalization or institutionalization. I’m scared.  He has spells of normal behavior then suddenly he turns into this psycho who cannot articulate what he means to say–he uses the wrong words.  Nouns elude him.  He also gets obsessive and damn near impossible to communicate with.

He got lost coming home from his ex’s the other night.  She lives just one town over, about a 25 minute drive on surface streets.  She has lived at this location for five years.  The other night he ended up on the freeway going north into South Los Angeles.  A fairly unsafe place for a confused long-haired white guy.  It took 10 minutes of talking with him to get him headed in the right direction.  Stay on This Road, I told him, and it will bring him home.  5 minutes later he calls back.  He’s lost again.  Husband figures out where Son is and tells him to wait, that he will come lead him home.  Another 15 minutes and he calls, they’ll be home in just a minute, Son was right behind him, and they were 2 blocks away.  Unbelievably Son called about 10 minutes later.  Now he is headed south on a different freeway some 35 miles from home!

When he get’s home, it’s not much better.  He’s in and out of the house.  Front yard, back yard.  He comes into our room looking for various items, usually something that we would not have in our room, like the car.  He won’t go to his room, he won’t lie down.  He returns to our room repeatedly, goes into the bathroom 4-5 times in an hour.  He took two showers.  One less than an hour after the first.

It’s like having an extremely mobile 3 year old.  So afraid thinking about him driving on the freeway, probably speeding, considering how far he got from home in just a few minutes.  How am I supposed to deal with that?  What is that?  What is happening?  He gets single-minded and resolved to a particular action and seems unable to stop.  He listens, but he doesn’t hear.  He speaks, but he makes little sense most of the time.

Here is a sample of some things he said today:

“If I want to pick a fruit, just let me pick a fruit.”

“I’ve got to go to Armstrong’s (a gardening store) to get a thing, a, a, a, rope for my my my, the, that, my couch.”  He  meant he needed to go to Best Buy for a new charging cord for his iPad.

“It won’t work and no one will help me.”  This about his iPad, which isn’t the problem so much as he can’t sign in to any of his accounts, his passwords no longer work.  This happens each time he has one of these episodes.  I cannot do this any longer.  Husband can no longer handle this.

“You guys do so much for me, too much.  But I need help and you’re not helping.  All you do is yell at me.  And I’m not allowed to be to be upset or get mad.”  At times his anger feels like a physical presence and I am acutely sensitive to it.

One doc diagnosed him with schizoaffective disorder.  A scary mix of schizophrenic and bi-polar symptoms.  He fits some of those guidelines.  I also came across something called semantic dementia.  A truly horrifying illness with a limited lifespan.  He fits some of that criteria as well.  The only information I really find on these illnesses is a description of symptoms and prognosis, or I end up on some rehab site that tells me nothing except ‘drugs bad’.

I have an appointment to see my therapist with Son tomorrow afternoon.  I need someone I trust to give me an opinion as to what is going on.  I think he needs to be hospitalized, properly diagnosed and treated before returning home.  Except that won’t happen because there are too many mentally ill or addicted individuals in the area.  There are not enough facilities for all the mentally ill.  Not enough beds, nurses, doctors. The help is not free, does not take most insurance.  What are poor addicts supposed to do then?  What options do we provide them?  None.  What help do we provide to the families of those with serious mental health issues?  None.

None.  And with the new Trump NonCare it will only get worse for people like us: Sad losers (to use Trump’s words) who never caught a break in life.  How can people not understand the allure of suicide?

12 thoughts on “Drug Abuse & Brain Damage

  1. I’m so sorry for what you are going through. My husband used to get this way when he used meth, he would speed ball. He received a diagnosis of bipolar while he was using which was not accurate. I’m not a doctor, but I imagine substance use would exacerbate any sx of your sons diagnosis as well. Sending love and prayers your way.

    1. The substance abuse really distorts any mental illness. He’s clinging to this latest dx of schizoaffective disorder and trying to convince me that’s his only issue. It’s not easy to love an addict.

      1. Yes I went through that with my husband…lied to his doctors and me, got bipolar dx, turns out it was all substance abuse. No it’s not easy, it’s so so so hard. Sending love your way.

  2. If the care is given according to the immediate threat to a person… do you think he would qualify if they knew how badly his cognitive issues and possible brain damage was? Would there be any value in turning your phone audio and video on, without him knowing to actually have something to show… Just a thought…. It might not make any difference?? Diane

    1. I talked with the his nurse today before they discharged him. Son had alcohol in his system. It may all be alcohol related. Tho docs assure me at this age it is unlikely there is any permanent brain damage.

      1. It’s good that the brain damage isn’t permanent but it doesn’t ease the stress on all of you I know… I so hope that somehow your son get the help he needs…From what you’ve said it’s so hard to get it… You’re in my thoughts (and prayers) Linda… xx

  3. This sounds really tough not to be able to get your son the needed help in such chaotic situations. Maybe you could try to mention to his doctors, that it seems to be dangerous to have him free, when he also drives in the traffic, which might be danger for all in it, when his mind changes so fast and he gets so disturbed.
    Wish you all good luck to get the needed help.

      1. I had a kid having huge challenges many years ago, so I do understand, how tough it feels not to be able to give the right help. Mine is functioning very well today, but back then it was challenging.
        I’m okay now, thank you.

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