Help! Is this normal for a private Residential Treatment Center (RTC)?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Baggy Bags, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    I too would consider the place in Argentina. Maybe you can call them and discuss what their methods of involvement with parents are before you send him there. Let them know you are a hands on parent who feels the need to be involved with your sons medical care.

    The psychopharmacologist who treated my son when he was a minor insisted on very heavy parental involvement or she wouldn't take the child as a patient. Of course my son was with me and I was the one in charge of observing and reporting his mood changes.

    Which brings me to the thought that you could ask the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in Argentina if they have formal meetings (phone conf) with the parents to discuss progress and issues and how often those meetings would be scheduled. Also in what types of situations would they call you right away.

    I can kind of understand how the facility he's in now would be a bit put off by your insistence that you approve any medications prior to them prescribing. We don't know if a particular medication would be good or not. The problem seems they are not communicating with you enough. I don't think it's too much to expect they let you know what they are doing for his care and why. He is a minor after all.

    Do you have a history list to give to anyone who's newly treating him? If you can provide written information that boils down what you want anyone new to know about then if they are worth their salt they will take that information into consideration when treating him.
    It would include a few things:
    ~ any family history of mental illness
    ~ any other medical issues, like allergies and such
    ~ treating psychiatrists with when he went to them
    ~ medications, with dosage, length of time he took them and what the results were
    ~ therapists, when he went to them and for what
    ~ education history
    ~ compliance history, basically his social history, when he did well, when he didn't and what happened with date ranges.

    You are in a very stressful situation and I know you probably feel like things should be done yesterday but you are getting help for him and he is still minor. From what I can see you are doing a great job, you just need the right professionals to also do a good job. Finding people you can trust is very difficult especially after being in a position where the professionals have not come through for you as of yet. I do believe it's possible though, and I also believe the best place for him now is in a treatment facility.
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  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think Deni's post is brilliant and absolutely to the point. Her suggestion that you discuss these issues prior to admission is proactive and entirely appropriate. This way you will not have the kind of mismatch which you have had.
    You should NOT be dismissed, blamed, scapegoated, disregarded, diminished, ignored, or marginalized. This happens in environments that are authoritarian, paternalistic, close-minded, disrespectful, regressive and behind the times. Where the central and important thing is the ego, and power of individuals and the status quo. I am not dissing Mexico here. This was what it was like in the prisons where I worked.

    Face it Baggy. What chance is there, really, that professionals like you have been encountering will not keep trying to stigmatize and scapegoat you, for your involvement, for your lifestyle, for your independence of thought, for your views? Psychology is a highly normalizing and regressive and scapegoating system of thought. They think of deviance and try to get individuals back into synch with what is "normal" to them. This is a culture that you find deeply offensive and flawed. You do not want it for L. Or for you. It would be like a square peg over and over again in a round hole. This will keep happening, I think.

    I was in favor of this facility in MX or one like it, if there was not an alternative. Because he needs a facility fairly long-term, and so do you, for him. But if there is a facility which would be radically different, with the potential to be exponentially better, I would want you to go for it. There are no guarantees, but it could be tremendously better.

    And any risk or inconvenience from being in a different country, you could deal with. You are already dealing with it!
    Very proactive and excellent counsel.
    Yes. That they are offended because you ask to be informed, is really concerning. But I am grateful that they are not just throwing him out and giving you time to arrange an alternative. They are doing this, however from their own sense of professionalism (i.e. for themselves, their own self-regard, self-interest, and self-esteem), rather than your or L's welfare.

    If there was only this kind of place, I would say, work with them. If there are alternatives, I would go for it.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Be aware that once they reach majority age, depending on country maybe the decisions are completely between doctor and patient.

    I was in two dfiferent hospitals. One of them was where I got my first treatment and the second was "pretter" and more suburban and just because I had two very bad medication reactions and needed just to get the medications worked out.

    By far the old university hospital in the not so good neighborhood was the vastly superior one. Both were a lot like a jail in a way for the sake of safety. Many patients are suicidal and they need to be as safe as they can be. We had bars on the windows and could not leave the floor without a nurse. We could not wear shoes because I guess some patients tried to strangle themselves with laces, or anything even a little sharp and we ate on the ward at a table with plastic silverwear only. But honest after a while it was really nice. I improved so much. The staff was so caring and well educated.

    I was 23 so I dont know what they did with kids and parents. I only knew one person under 18. They sent most of the kids to childrens hospitals which are different at least in the U.S.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  4. Baggy Bags

    Baggy Bags Active Member

    For now, biodad is looking into other centers near him. But all the links he sent me are for places that deal with addiction. I think L is letting them believe that he has a much bigger drug problem than he actually has. Sitting and listening to a bunch of people talk about their addictions would be something he could incorporate and imitate, so as to not work on the real problems, and maintain control by keeping everyone confused.

    We have one week before the month is up and we have to pay for another month or put him somewhere else. Given that he keeps saying he's okay there, I think it will have to do for another month. My wealthy friend is one of the people on my long list of fallen-out relationships over things L said. I think she now realizes that she was wrong to believe him, but our friendship is strained and uncomfortable. So, I'll have to put my pride aside and ask her for help with Argentina if that's the route we decide to take. I'm seeing more clearly that perhaps a chance at really decent mental health treatment is more important than keeping him close.
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Could it be that there are more of these places, or they are more accessible to bio-dad? I mean. Easier for him to get to. How invested really is he to find the most appropriate situation for L? That is. Could he be encouraged to branch out? Are these places listed on google, some of them? Or could you find a list of facilities on google?
    Like you say, this would become his reference group and he would or could come to define himself in terms of this group, i.e. drug user or addict. This could be harmful.
    This makes sense to me. Please keep us posted B. Did the brain tests come back? Whether it makes sense or not, I'm curious how this treatment center puts all of this together.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    In our hospitL with I will call.U. of Greatness they had a floor for drug adduction and one for mental health. You may be able to find a good facility with seperate ward focuses. Soumds like you are on the right track. Stay calm. It will work out.
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    To the limited extent I could help with Argentina, I will try.

    Remember the other thing that is said about changing and recovery. Sometimes a completely different environment, apart from everything that came before, (family, friends, even culture, neighborhood, support structure) can accelerate and catapult change, and not impede it.
  8. Baggy Bags

    Baggy Bags Active Member

    Thank you <3

    I had the most heart-wrenching conversation with L today. He begged me to come back. He says he's realized a lot about himself, like that he's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and that he's an addict and can never touch weed or alcohol again. He spoke of a rape that happened one of the times he ran away here. He said he needed to be with us, his family. That he loves us. HE CONFESSED TO TRYING TO POISON ME. And a bunch of other confessions too.

    He used the code phrase I gave him to let me know that he was being listened to, and that he always is, and can't talk freely, and that he's not safe there. The doctor (who manages the center, not a psychiatrist) warned me that he would say these things.

    The psychiatrist sent me an email, finally. EEG results came back normal. He says this is bad news because it means the drugs won't work (???). Nothing will change. He will likely grow into a full-blown psychopath. They can keep him there, but I can not expect change.

    By the end of the convo with L, I was ready to go get him. And now I'm going to share something that might make me lose some credibility, but I saw a psychic last week and she told me that I mustn't bring him back yet. I told her NOthing about his diagnosis, and she said narcissist and sociopath several times during the reading. It was weird. She knew a bunch of other stuff too. So, I need to keep her in my head and remember that I cannot bring him back. Right? Or should I ? I'm feeling panic now. My heart wants him here. My head knows better.

    So I called one of these other centers (we'll call it Clinic 2) and at least they sound better over the phone. This doctor from Clinic 1 makes all kinds of spelling mistakes, and says the stupidest things like "Just stay home and pray, señora". The person I talked to at Clinic 2 said all the right things.

    .....(phone calls).....

    Clinic 2 will go get him with an ambulance and a team. Biodad is going to do papers. They're moving him today! This is good. Very good.

    HERE IS MY VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION - So, if he's a psychopath, how is it possible that the EEG came back normal? Shouldn't it show smaller amygdala and more (or less?) gray matter? Does this mean they were only looking for signs of epilepsy/seizures?
  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    There is no way to show any mental illness, psychopath or not. Thats why I dont believe psychiatry yet. There ARE no tests. The brain doesnt show anything. Its behavior.

    It is up to you but he has been a chronic and rather dangerous problem all his life. He admitted he tried to poisen you. I would be afraid of that, not comforted. Most people NEVER try to poisin anyone in the world. I never have. Have you?

    I think may not be the best but I.think your son IS dangerous; that his newest words dont fit his actions and that you will need to protect yourself from him your entire life. He is not a normal kid by any means. Dont let your guard down.

    He tried to poisin you for no reason and is only a kid. Be careful. I would never live with him again. I am not a fan of psychiatric diagnoses but his behavior is very unsafe and scary.

    Certainly take him somewhere better but hospitals are just stepping stones, not cures. And he should still be able to.try psychoactive medication.
    I did two EEGs were both normal.

    Do what tou can now
    He may or.may not be able to improve. He may get worse too. You cant know.

    You matter. Protect yourself while you attempt to help him. Dont listen to his words. Words are easy. Look at his behavior through the years. Behavior talks and it speaks the truth. It screams the truth.

    Only his behavior will let you know who he is. I hope I am wrong but he does scare me and I would not live with him. He could hurt you. He already tried. Nobody can guarantee he will turn into a safe man . And nobody will ever be able to be sure. So do watch out. Always.

    I am so sorry.

    Hugs and love.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    He is NOT a psychopath. I know he is not. Just let it go, B. The diagnoses will not help you. Please go step by step. The future gets decided by present moments.

    Please listen to L. Give him a chance to change. Please don't write him off.
    This is the most ridiculous nonsense I can recall hearing lately. I won't say ever. But I feel like it. This MD is pure nuts. Why would you take seriously anything he says?
    Nobody is telling you to bring him back YET. I am glad she agrees.
    Poor L.

    Look B. This is step by step. Please try to speak with your friend about Argentina, to see if it is an option, or not.

    In light of what L. said, we should consider the possibility that part of his behavior and symptoms are a response to trauma. Really. I do not think you are helping yourself or him by seeing all of this through a prism of personality disorders such as antisocial personality disorder or narcissism. He is too young to be diagnosed as such. And nobody responsible or competent would ever think in these terms let alone diagnose such a thing. Let alone speak to a parent along these lines. Let alone say that any treatment, whether pharmacological or clinical would never work. This is pure idiocy and irresponsibility, let alone malpractice.

    Is there a way that you can suspend belief? That is, try to be open to what emerges over time? Which is to live one day at a time? With boundaries and with love? Believing that you and your husband and L. as a family will be able to sustain each other and be okay?

    Sometimes the worst thing does not happen. Can we take this one day at a time? I think this is time for love for L. Over all else. He is NOT coming home today, or next week or next month. Maybe you will decide that he cannot come home at all. I don't know.

    He is safe to LOVE.
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  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    L. was always loving. They had the closest of relationships. Everything changed when he was about 14. But they have a history of a loving and close relationship.
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think we need to scour the internet and see if trauma in young adolescent males can give rise to the kind of behaviors he has been manifesting. Of course this is not all of it. Because what gave rise to the running away in the first place? I would not be surprised if some other trauma happened BEFORE he started running away. I mean. You live in an area where people who are unknown come through and then leave. Anything could have happened. Apparently he has been keeping secrets. At least that's one hypothesis. There is no reason to think there are not more of them. SOMETHING happened to change this boy from compliant and loving to OFF THE DEEP END.

    Why do people want to assume the WORST CASE about HIM? To call HIM nasty names and to give him diagnoses that would destine him to the worst, most intractable, outcomes? Rather than open our minds to the possibility that something happened to him or something is happening within him to distress him so that he is not ACTING like himself?

    Give him a :censored2:ing break. He's only a kid.

    This is not to say he should come home. It is to say...let's NOT write him off!!!

    PS. If the psychic lives in your area, what makes you believe she did not have prior knowledge? (I am not discounting that people have powers...I am taking aim at her "receiving" diagnoses.)
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    What I am trying to get across, and to underscore, is that L. was a certain person, is a certain person, apart from these behaviors that emerged seemingly out of the blue. This is NOT the early behavioral pattern of a person who is later as an adult diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is a start. Phase One.

    You are in a conversation with him now. There will be other disclosures. He has realizations, yes. The beginnings of awareness.

    But what has not happened is, one, his awareness of why he targeted you, what motivated his running away, what motivated his self-destructive behavior, his unwillingness to follow rules, or control his behavior, his turning towards bad elements, i.e. drugs and gangs, etc. He needs to fess up in treatment to all of this.

    And then, how does he begin to make better choices? How does he gain self-control over behavior?

    All of this is a process. It does not happen all at once. It is work.

    You need to keep this front and center so that you do not feel guilty or wrong, because you do not bring him home.

    You are doing what a good mother should do.

    I hope you have somebody to talk to where you are, that helps you get through this. Yes. Your needs and safety are important and central. But you are taking care of HIS needs too, to ensure he gets the treatment he requires.

    When you talk to L I believe you can converse about all of this. It is both fair, and justified and helpful to him that you explain to him that you understand what he needs and you will make sure that it happens. And that you will neither be manipulated or swayed by his emotion or your own, from doing the right thing by him, and by you.

    These things happened. They cannot be made to un-happen. There is no abracadabra. Life exists today because of what happened over the last couple of years. They do not define L. But he needs to take responsibility for what happened and learn to do better, and be better. That is what our job is as a parent. This will make him a very decent and strong person. If he deals with it.

    You are doing this B. Good for you!!
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have always believed this happened to my son, when he went alone at age 18 to a third world country where we had lived. He has never spoken of it, but after this trip is when he changed. He had been forced to sleep on the beach, after being ejected from the home of a so-called girlfriend by her parents. It breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that you had to hear these words.
    My son says this, and it, too, breaks my heart.

    The thing is B is that there is the same answer regarding both of our boys. Yes. We hear them that they need us. But until they can hold themselves and us, in a place of protection and safety and respect and care, they cannot be home. This is what L (and J) need to learn and to put into place.
  16. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    B. As I read these posts I am getting confused.
    In your signature it says he changed at age 13. Were things before that? he is only 16 ? right? so 3 years of issues.

    I am also concerned something actually happened TO him to trigger his actions, not excusing the actions BUT it seems something changed pretty drastically at 13?

    I agree. Many times teen years are full of angst. That doesn't mean you ditch your kid.
    I hope you can find APPROPRIATE help for him . I for 1 do not think a place of drug addicts is the appropriate place. I think there may have been psychological problem. Maybe he would do better with a life coach rather than a psychiatrist?

    I KNOW something happened with my son the summer between 9th and 10th grade-- he, 10 year started he wouldn't/couldn't get out of bed in the morning, refused to go to school. It was awful. I changed his school and he went and participated. But there was a definite change in him. In hind site I thing pot started soon after that.
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  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Unlike SWOT, I have NEVER been helped by psychiatry or psychology. Never. I am helped a great deal by my spiritual director (Rabbi) and by the woman I see for Somatic Experiencing Therapy which is focused upon the body.

    However I do think L needs to be in a GOOD and appropriate Residential Treatment Center (RTC), if one can be found. So far, even though this last one was not the best match, he is already responding. The container, in itself, the boundaries, the support, the limits, seem to be helping him to stabilize.
  18. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I think therapy with a purpose is good
  19. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    Yes. But I am afraid that the right people are not working with this boy.
    It seems to me he may be acting out from a violating trauma. His drug use may have been self medication for the trauma. I know he acted out (very violently) against his mom. Was if due to (subconsciously?) blaming her for the trauma. (I am not saying that is true just that) he may have felt that way.
    I don't know how someone goes about finding the right psychologist/psychiatrist/ therapist.
    I think it is hard for a parent to get the right advice to help a Difficult Child unless the advice giver knows all the players. It seems for a young person the person to help needs to be a specialist in adolescence. In a lot of the cases someone that deals with neurological development and neurological problems needs to be consulted.
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  20. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I think therapy CAN be great for many people. I was highly motivated but very much thought of the few therrapists therrapists who.still used Freud as Fraud. That was my name for him lol. I did not buy into or do that sort of therapy. So I obviously needed a therapist who was not Freudian.

    I liked common sense, not theory based help and still do. Like CBT. We all have different needs.

    I dont believe everyone can be helped by therapy Copa which is why I warned that even a hospital can be a stepping stone to a better life, as it was for me, but there are people who go to ten hospitals and nothing resonates with them or they are not interested in changing or they do it with self help or Rabbis/Pastors or are the poor souls who can not be helped and others who will not be helped. Behaviors are not all treatable and not everyone gets better. Think od poor Feeling Sad's son and how hard she tried to get him help. Through no fault of her sweet self, he is a danger to her. And she takes precautions.

    I dont want Bags to spend all her $$ on.L or owe somebody all her money and L may not be any better when all is done..Psychiatry is inexact Because of that you can go broke and still not cure your loved one. In a way it is worse than cancer.

    I was both lucky that a mood disorder is not so serious and can be helped a lot with therapy like CBT and that God blessed me with a spot on medication, which does not always happen. medications dont help everyone. My extreme motivation and self awareness helped me too. I would not quit. Not everyone is willing to fight so hard. The fight in your gut is necessary.

    also, although full of trauma, was never dangerous to anyone else. So I was very treatable.

    I have no idea about L. I know trauma CAN cause dangerous behavior. But Princess was sexually assaulted at 8. She never tried to hurt another.

    Trauma doesnt necessarily cause one to be dangerous. And it can, like the dangerous boy who we foster/adopted who hurt my littles. Just because his sad early trauma caused this boy to be dangerous doesnt mean he will EVER be safe. He has four kids now and I shutter. Three are little girls. Do I think he is molesting them? Yes.

    Trauma can cause danger. Danger cant always be fixed. And many who suffer trauma do not harm anyone else ever. Why? Thats the problem with psychology. We dont know why.

    Some serial killers were never abused. They just became very sick and nobody can say why.

    Sadly.....very sadly......nobody knows what causes all people to go off the rails and become dangerous. I personally believe that in the end everything will be proven to have a physical cause but we are not to the point of knowing answers. Nor do we know how to cure everyone. That is maybe even sadder.

    Bags needs to stay safe. I cant imagine the heartbreak it must cause to have to be even a little afraid that your own child may hurt you. And I feel terrible about the situation. And I hope he does decide to try to do better. I pray with all my heart.

    Unlike strep throat, where you passively take an antibiotic to get well, it takes very hard determination to change the way that you are. Some people cant do it. Some dont really want to. But it is never easy. There is no antibiotic for behavior. Wouldnt that be nice if there were?

    I dont want Bags to go broke yet I want someplace else to try to motivate L. In the end, even at his young age, this is up to L. There is no magic pill, only L's true motivation to at least try hard to be a different, good person and begin to want to be a responsible, good adult. Only he can do it. Not even a top psychiatrist can do it for him. Or for anyone.

    I hope he can try Argentina and see if he changes his life view and becomes determined to change. That is what it takes! And the willingness for it!

    Love and hugs!
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    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019