Wednesday, August 29, 2012

When recreational drug use is a factor

I blog about my own particular experience with Chris's diagnosis of schizophrenia. One thing that I have not had to grapple with is recreational drug use. This makes my experience dissimilar to that of some of other parents that I have been in contact with over the years.  I don't know the territory. Neither Chris, nor his two brothers, to the best of my knowledge, have ever taken street drugs, like marijuana, like LSD, etc. Or, if they has experimented with these drugs (I'm not totally naive), their behavior never brought it to my attention. I guess I am lucky that the only drugs Chris has been subjected to were the "legal" ones prescribed by his psychiatrists.  This makes our journey less complicated in some ways, as a war is not being conducted on two fronts.

But how does one handle a son or daughter who refuses to believe you when you say to them that their love of the weed is not helping their psychosis? What do you do or say if they insist otherwise? There is a part of me that believes their version of what is good for them, or needed at the time, should be respected. But, it is hard to sit by and watch someone deteriorate into paranoia, panick, and anxiety when the drug wears off following an initial happy, pleasant, and lucid experience. Habitual recreational drug use often chooses your friends for you, and may expose you to dangerous situations. Like prescribed medication, it becomes hard to sort out the effects of the drugs from the effects of the causative trauma.

There are special addiction programs, for individuals and for relatives. The trouble with these, as I see it, is that they treat the symptoms, not the person. The person, in their eyes, is considered an addict, a dual-diagnosed, and a problem in need of fixing. The goal is to get them clean. These programs may divert attention away from getting better help.

Where is good advice available on how to discuss your concerns about recreational drug use with your relative that is respectful of their own views on this matter? Is there a particular book that you recommend? A documented approach? Is there a more creative approach that a family member can use that will help a person resolve underlying emotional issues that doesn't allow recreational drug use to become a stumbling block in the conversation?


  1. Rossa, you have just described my situation with my son and his dual diagnosis. As my son, who was hospitalized back in July, has been coming off his meds with the help of his psychiatrist, his use of marijuana, LSD, and maybe other drugs that he hasn't told me about has been on the rise. This is a pattern that has been going on for almost 3 years now and we don't know how to stop it. Are his psychotic symptoms related to his marijuana use, his coming off his meds, or his mental condition? While we want him to work through this time in his life as he sees fit, we have also asked him to stop just for 6 months so we can establish a baseline, but he says he won't, maybe because he can't. I fear we are heading back to the hospital again and the doctor will use this to prove to us that he is schizophrenic. Does anyone else have any experience with this?

  2. Yes hang in there be patient go to for help Dont take the meds no matter what Give him a chance to recover read Paris Williams book Rethinking madness. Pray and talk to him.

    1. Thank you,anonymous, for your support and suggestions! I will try each and everyone of them. Thank you!!


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