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Hi, I am the mother of an almost 19 year old male who was diagnosed with Asperger's when he was 15. Before that they said hyperactive, lazy, ADD, PDD and numerous other things. I see in my son a drastic change lately. It is like he is living in an imaginary world. He believes any thing people tell him, except his family, is getting violent mood swings to the point we are afraid at times to fall a sleep. My house is destroyed, he has hit cuboards, walls etc with his fists. He has never had a job, but is saying he is leaving home and hitching. Some girl he met on the internet is pulling his chain and now he believes they are engaged. He has threatened suicide. He quit taking his meds and refuses to go to the doctor. We don't know how to help him. In the past month he has ran our phone bill up to $1000.00 calling around the country to all his "friends" he has met online. He sleeps all day, and is online all night. We fought and got him through high school, but he lacks common sence. He is brilliant with computers, music, math, and chess, but that is about all. I can't figure out how to help him. I am scared he will turn out like my younger brother who is 36 and has the same problems as my son. My brother has never had a job for more than 2 weeks, resists all authority, and is very scary to be around. I have 2 other sons who are doing well age 25 and 23. Found out my mothers sister has schitzophrenia. I think my son has other psychological problems than "just Asperger's". Please tell me where to turn. I live in south east Washington state.


-- Laura (, March 02, 2000


Hi Laura, First -- here is a link that might help. NAMI has many support and educational groups to deal with issues like this. Find the chapter near you and GO to a support meeting or attend Family-to-Family classes! It will help. . As the sister of a woman with schizo-affective disorder (she has symptoms of both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia), I would say that your son's symptoms sound very familiar to me. He could have one of these illnesses, and he wouldn't know it, and may not be able to tell you all the wierd things going on inside his head for a variety of reasons. Your family history strongly suggests a genetic link. Unfortunately, it sounds like your brother has not received medication, even though he needs it to correct the malfunctioning in the cells of his brain and let him live a halfway normal life (if his heart or liver were malfunctioning, he would be on medication to control symptoms, right? Why not when his brain is malfunctioning?). One of the most difficult things about having a loved one with one of these neurobiological disorders is getting them to realize that they might be ill, and that medication can make them feel better and improve the quality of their life. Basically, one of the common symptoms is the inability of the ill person to perceive the change in his own behavior and judgement, and see that his actions are erratic, impulsive, dangerous, irrational, and sometimes outright bizarre. It isn't your son's fault -- his brain is chemically out of wack. The punching of walls, etc, commonly occurs when a person is hearing voices (caused by malfunctioning in the speech center of the brain), or is paranoid and irrationally believes someone is out to harm him. He can't communicate this because he doesn't realize it's a symptom - he believes it is real and he may be frightened or angry! You or another family member, (or co-workers, or "alien visitors") may be the ones he is frightened of or angry with! Trying to talk him out of these beliefs is likely to be no more successful than trying to talk a diabetic out of insulin-dependence. It sounds as if he needs to be evaluated by a Psychiatrist (NOT a general practicioner, and NOT a psychologist) to see what he has. If they give him a diagnosis, that is the key to getting the right medication. Many people wait 5 years to find the right medication, since their families don't educate themselves about the illness and its available treatments. My sister is on 4 medications - there are many alternatives available which might work better for your son, but here are just a few of the medications so you can get familiar with the concept : Lithium to stave off mania (which it sounds like your son might be experiencing) Zoloft to stave off depression (the suicide threat indicates the possibility of depression) Risperidone to avoid psychotic episodes where she hears things (she "hears" the people in her office call her names as they pass her desk, when in fact that isn't happening), believes strange things (police are out to get her, people are "beaming thoughts" into her head or they can "see her thoughts"), hears voices commanding her to do things, or telling her she is in danger. (Keep in mind we only understood that she was having these symptoms once she became well enough to communicate with us coherently about what her symptoms were). This medicine makes her gain weight and causes sleepiness, but it is the only medication we've found which can keep her stable for long periods of time. Some of the side effects are reduced with time. Seroquel also helps battle psychosis, and in addition helps her concentrate, and improves her clarity of thought, ability to communicate and feel emotions properly, etc. Well, I hope I've helped, and not scared you too much. Just educate yourself as much as possible, and find a psychiatrist to consult with (even if your son won't go, it will help you understand his illness). And always keep in mind, if your son has one of these illnesses, TREATMENT WORKS! And he isn't doing these things "on purpose" to upset anyone or get attention! He has an illness. Good luck to both you and your son, Liz

-- Liz Degoursac (, April 06, 2001.

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