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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 10:00 am 
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I am really hoping that Doc will chime in on this one. Here's the story:
I have a friend that I suspect is an addict. Being a recovering opiate (scripts/herion) addict, I know the signs to be aware of and he is exhibiting more than a few. I know that he, in the past, was a recreational drug user but it seems to have gotten out of control for him. BUT around the time that I suspect it began to get out of control he also seemed to begin to lose his goddamn mind. Literally! Almost demented psychosis (if there is such a thing, that's the best description for it).
There's a huge story that goes along with this. Around the time that he began being paranoid and delusional we believe that he was manufacturing LSD and MDMA. The time frames really overlap. He was accusing the people that he was living with of dosing his food and whispering "suggestions" in his ear while he slept. (Coincidentally, he is NOT the only person who has suggested that these people have done this. We have another friend who also lived with these people and has NO association with the person I am speaking of right now who says that the same exact people did the same exact thing to him. Strange, I know. What's even stranger is that the two people that these accusations were made against died in a car accident together last summer. Hhhmmmm!?) We believe that he really was "certifiable" at that point.
Back on the subject.....we removed him (physically) from the environment and he seemed to get better. His mind cleared up. He regained his sense of self. Then, he took a trip to California - ALONE. He came back paranoid and delusional again. What makes me think that he's an addict is the way he acted at a birthday party. Trying to bum drugs off of people. Saying things like, "Does anyone have any pain medication like ibuprofen..... or.......say, Vicodin?" Overexaggerating a skateboarding "injury" for a very long time while continuing to ask for drugs from EVERYONE. This is in front of aunts, uncles, children. He even made a comment to me about how he could take a child's anti-seizure medication and reduce it to the ONE ingredient that could conceivably get a person high.
So, anyway, that's the story and my question is........if you suspect a person of having both mental issues and addiction that seemed to occur at around the same time, which would you treat first? This friend of mine lives with my youngest brother and is very much like a brother to me. I have known him since he was about 5 y/o and I'm heartbroken. His family basically abandoned him long before any of this happened and he seems to have no one to intervene. I have taken it upon myself to talk to this young man but I want to be at least a little informed with what he could/should do before I do that. Although my brother loves him, he has almost had it and is ready to kick him out of the house. I asked him to wait until I could talk to him before he does that. He really has no where else to go and I'm afraid of what may happen to him. My friends don't know that I am in recovery (it's easy to hide, I live in another state from all of these people and I used alone) but I am willing to completely come clean with this kid if it could help him.
I am rambling now but I don't know where else to turn. Someone has to help this kid and I am willing to be that person or at least exhaust every avenue trying.
HELP!!! Any advice from anyone is better than what I am armed with right now which is only my personal experience.
PS- There is a lot more to this story but that's it in a nutshell. If more information is needed in order to give me some advice, hit me up. I am desperate. I feel like we are either going to lose him physically or mentally and SOON.


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 1:05 pm 
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Wow, that's quite a tricky situation you're dealing with.

As far as I know, when a person has both mental illness and addiction, the addiction has to be treated first. That way the doctors can tell what symptoms are coming from the mental illness and what are just caused by drugs. Dual diagnosis is pretty common - many mentally ill people try to self-medicate and then develop addiction.

How you can help your friend, I have no idea. Talking to him seems like a good idea though. You can't really force someone into treatment though - the only time you can is if they are a danger to self or others, and even then it's hard to do.

You sound like a good and caring friend. Just realize there are limits to what you can do - if your friend doesn't want help, you can force it on him. Best of luck.

_________________
You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.

-Jack Kornfield


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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 11:32 am 
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Thanks for the advice. Being an addict, I know that I cannot force him to do anything, he alone can make that choice. But, also, having been a reclusive, solitary addict I am hoping to make him understand that no matter how alone you feel, you really aren't.
I felt very alone in my opiate addiction. I WAS alone in my opiate addiction. I didn't hang out with addicts (except to cop), NONE of my real friends were addicts, none of them understood what physical withdrawal felt like or the "need" to have a drug. I want to convey to him that what you see on the surface is not always what you get with a person.
All I really want to do is talk to him. We'll go from there. If he's in denial or it is just mental issues, well............we'll see.
Thanks again.


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Board Certified Psychiatrist
  • Asst Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

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