A son's mental illness

Hi Dan,


Thanks for listening to me. I have a 20 yr old adopted son whom from age 4 has been diagnosed as ADD, OCD, bipolar, impulsive, angry, paranoid, mood disorder, etc., and recently diagnosed as border line personality, soon to be called emotional regulation. He gets into raging cycles that he can't get out of. He has probably been to ten therapists and had fifteen different medications over the years and he is still not under control. When he does take his medications, he takes them sporadically. He cancels doctors' appointments frequently.


As he has gotten older he is more difficult. We have called our local police several times due to his threats and physical confrontations. Most of the occurrences have been in our house, and fortunately no one has been injured. He doesn't change his attitude even after the police come to our house.He clearly does not think in a rationale manner about many issues.  If we have to call the police one more time, he will go to jail.  I feel so badly for him since I know he is not in control of himself.  The local police feel that what he does are criminal issues.


It seems the only way that a mentally ill person can receive structured mental help nowadays is when a person threatens suicide or threatens another person's life and goes into a hospital. Otherwise they go to jail. About 20% of the people in jail now have mental illnesses. I believe there are some counties that are working on helping mentally ill people in jail.  However, I don't know if they will still be saddled with an arrest conviction.  Unless there is a miracle, my son will end up in jail.  Is there any hope for my son and the other mentally ill people in jail?


Dear reader

I don't know what to tell you about your son other than an intensive course of the inpatient treatment followed by highly structured outpatient.  He can emotional regulation but he will need medication and a great deal of social support to do so.

I would also like you to know that we are doing a two-part series on my radio show about mental illness.  On September 12 we will be talking about its impact on families and on the following week, we will be talking about policy, politics and programs.

As you so aptly pointed out, what happens to so many with mental illness is tragic.  As a society, we should be ashamed.

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