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Do any of you know anything about "DXM" (dextromethorphan)? I initially posted in the new member forum about my son and our situation. This seems to be the drug of choice with him. I'm not sure i understand this very well. Is the drug it self addictive or is it more like a habit?

What i mean is...opiates and alchohol and other things have physically addicting properties. Not only do you have to deal with the habit and what caused it, you have to deal with the physical effect as well.

Also, from what i've seen, most substance abuse problems start small and grow out of hand. One drink or one pill to get through this or that...then 2, then more. With this, he's taking enough of the stuff to have had several trips to the hospital ER in the past few weeks. It's not just getting "high" or getting a buzz... each and every time he does this he's completely out of control.

Thanks

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Hi hermia,

Well, your son has certainly picked a drug of choice for this generation: cheap, over the counter, an easy high, and easy to justify having around. This has been going on now for about 10 years. I'm so sorry this has come into your life- I remember when my son experimented with alcohol and pot, how it ate at me to see him hurting himself and yet pretending we were naive parents who didn't know better.

DMX at the medically recommended dosage is mostly an anti-tussive, as you know, but at much higher dosage you can get psychedelic highs that can even match PCP, with it's body distortions, feelings of dissociation and other effects. At regular dosage, it has very limited addictive properties: at much higher doses, it's been known to cause psychological dependence and even depression if taken for extended periods. At extremely high (and dangerous) doses, kids can develop what's called pisthotonos (spasm where head and heels are bent back, and torso is bent forward), toxic psychosis (hyperactivity, marked visual and auditory hallucinations), coma, seizures and much more. It's cousin, chlorpheniramine (Dimetapp) is equally dangerous at high doses.

The theory that if one starts here, they soon move on to more serious drugs (called the Gateway Drugs Theory) has some research support, and yet there is some research that suggests it's not scientifically valid. It all depends on which study you read.

But, the real issue is what can you as the parent do? It's nigh impossible to stop him by force or by keeping home as a prisoner- your best defense is your relationship with him. Things you can do:

1) Never underestimate the power of talk, honest, open, compassionate and straight. Talk about how you love him, spend time with him if you can-- there's nothing like a fishing trip, taking in a ballgame together, seeing a movie, going to a laser tag game with some of his friends. Don't give up, keep trying even if he shows little interest or says no. Kids who explore with drugs often do so as an expression of disconnection. Well connected kids are less likely to be pulled in by drugs.

2) Know who his friends are, where he's going, how long he'll be there, when he's coming back, etc. Make sure he calls you hourly when he's out later than 9PM and listen to his voice and timing.

3) Remove all medicines or lock them up, including Windex (kids get high off of this also)

4) If you go to church, increase that activity-- go more often, stay longer, make sure he connects with peers and his community (research indicates that kids who are well connected religiously also have less drug problems as a whole)

5) Most kids will consume alcohol, and other drugs between 3 and 6 p.m.-- just after school and before parents get home from work. Having him involved in after school extracurricular activities has been shown to prevent substance abuse in this age group.

These things are a good start. One thing to be aware of is that DMX abuse, like other drug abuses, are signals that there is something not right in the home or school. Family therapy is strongly recommended-- see a cognitive-behaviorally focused therapist if possible, it has good evidence for its effectiveness.

Good luck and I hope this helps. Hopefully other more knowldegable folks will pitch in soon.

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Hi

I googled some links

http://www.gdcada.org/statistics/dxm.htm

http://www.chpa-info.org/governmentaffairs/Medicine_Abuse_DXM.aspx

http://www.drugfree.org/portal/drug_guide/dxm

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/157/2/304

http://www.dextroverse.org/Archives/Massive_DXM_Ingestion_and_Abuse.pdf

This last link is the most distrubing a online community of DMX users, I did not bother to register to check them out.

http://www.dextroverse.org/

To be fair this community did post one of the above links critical of DMX use.

William

Do any of you know anything about "DXM" (dextromethorphan)? I initially posted in the new member forum about my son and our situation. This seems to be the drug of choice with him. I'm not sure i understand this very well. Is the drug it self addictive or is it more like a habit?

What i mean is...opiates and alchohol and other things have physically addicting properties. Not only do you have to deal with the habit and what caused it, you have to deal with the physical effect as well.

Also, from what i've seen, most substance abuse problems start small and grow out of hand. One drink or one pill to get through this or that...then 2, then more. With this, he's taking enough of the stuff to have had several trips to the hospital ER in the past few weeks. It's not just getting "high" or getting a buzz... each and every time he does this he's completely out of control.

Thanks

Edited by Abbadun
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Thank you both for your replies.

David... one of the ER visits was due to a reaction of some sort. Started with complaining that his mouth was numb which progressed to drooling then torticolis in the neck and some very odd eye symptoms...kept looking up and to one side. Initially i thought it was a panic attack but it progressed throughout the afternoon to the point where he bagan screaming that he was dieing and wanted to go to the hospital. He had received haldol in the ER the previous day and when we went back they said this was due to a reaction to that and CO2 retention from hyperventilating. They gave him ativan and the symptoms ceased. After reading some of the info in the links that william posted i am now wondering if it was more a psychotic episode due to the DMX usage itself.

I wish the normal parenting tactics worked...monitoring friends and whereabouts etc, asking him to call home, trying to keep him involved. He's far beyond that.

William...thanks for the links. Saw alot of info i hadn't previously read.

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Hermia,

I understand your frustration and the feeling of hopelessness, but as long as he's in the home (I assume he is), he's no where close to "beyond that"! How old is he? Do you live in a city or in a smaller community? Does he have cell phone? Does he work and have his own money or do you give him money? Where does he eat and how often? Who does his laundry and takes care of his basic needs? How does he get around when there's no "friend" to take him places? Where are his basic needs met and what "services" do you provide so that he can meet his own "desires and needs"?

This may be the only "power base" you have, but it's a starting place for redesigning the relationship.

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David,

He's 19 and we live in a small city. I posted some general info in my introduction post in the new members forum (no job, no savings, history of mental illness, etc.)

Yes, this relationship definitely requires redesigning! Essentially things have come to the point where i only provide for the most basic of needs, food and a home. I won't pay his fines, give him cash, or transportation to any where that isn't directly related to his betterment. I won't even allow him to use my phone anymore if it's not to call for a job or to seek counseling.

Pretty much the only leverage i'm left with is a home and food and i cannot see it in my heart to pull the plug on that.

Thanks again for your reply

hermia

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Hi Hermia

If your son does not have one yet, I would contact his probation officer once he gets one or they may just give him a court officer because he has not committed a serious crime. Often they can stipulate that a person attends a program.

DMX sounds a lot like Alcohol where a person does not crash and burn like with stronger drugs, but slowly destroys themselves. Since he mostly likely never will need to spend hundreds of dollars of day on his drug of choice he may never come under the direction of the law. The situations where he fights with his Father may be the only time that he truly crosses the law and becomes court stipulated.

Good Luck

William

Do any of you know anything about "DXM" (dextromethorphan)? I initially posted in the new member forum about my son and our situation. This seems to be the drug of choice with him. I'm not sure i understand this very well. Is the drug it self addictive or is it more like a habit?

What i mean is...opiates and alchohol and other things have physically addicting properties. Not only do you have to deal with the habit and what caused it, you have to deal with the physical effect as well.

Also, from what i've seen, most substance abuse problems start small and grow out of hand. One drink or one pill to get through this or that...then 2, then more. With this, he's taking enough of the stuff to have had several trips to the hospital ER in the past few weeks. It's not just getting "high" or getting a buzz... each and every time he does this he's completely out of control.

Thanks

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Abbadun is right! You may petition the court for a PO (sometimes you have to fight for one) and if one is assigned, meet with the PO and ask him to assist the family in developing a very strongly and clearly worded behavioral contract. Read up on the elements of such a contract and then jointly draw one up between you, your son and the PO.

Stick to the contract for 40-60 days, w/o hesitation, and you will begin to see changes in your son. If you don't stick to it, it is weakened, so are you, the PO is powerless----- and your son loses again.

Good luck!

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Hi and thanks again for the info and replies. He's definitely in trouble with the law for things other than the fight with his father. Though all misdimeaner charges, i do believe they add up. He has a hearing friday morning, and i'm hoping they do more than issue additional fines. What he needs is mental health treatment, not fines or jail. He had a probabation officer as a juvenile. Hate to say it, but that was a real joke. He was placed in a boot-camp like facility and she saw him MAYBE 3 times in 2 years. They took him off his meds despite my protests. They said he was doing well and didn't require them any longer. Yes, he did well in that environment. He had no choice. But when on his own with choices to make, he can't handle it.

hermia

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Good morning Hermia,

I'm a bit confused. Are you his father or step-father (your use of third person "his father" is a bit confusing)? I'm now unsure of what you're asking. We're unable to help him, so the logical question is: How can we help you? We sometimes get folks in here who want to help someone else and over time realize that the focus needs to be on the person writing in since the 3rd party is too much out of our control.

So, how is this affecting you? What struggles are you having with this? And, if we could offer you support, compassion, insight, and wisdom, what form would be most useful for you?

Pleasse write back and let us know.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Good morning Hermia,

I'm a bit confused. Are you his father or step-father (your use of third person "his father" is a bit confusing)? I'm now unsure of what you're asking. We're unable to help him, so the logical question is: How can we help you? We sometimes get folks in here who want to help someone else and over time realize that the focus needs to be on the person writing in since the 3rd party is too much out of our control.

So, how is this affecting you? What struggles are you having with this? And, if we could offer you support, compassion, insight, and wisdom, what form would be most useful for you?

Pleasse write back and let us know.

Hi david... sorry for not being clear...and also for not replying more promptly. I am his mother. My son is 19. Yes, a year past being a "legal adult", but a child none the less. I am well aware of the implications and futility in trying to help someone who does not want to be "helped". I'm not sure that's exactly the case with my son though. Just because someone says they don't have a problem or want help doesn't mean thats always the case. Sounds a tad delusional, i know...but i know this from my own personal standpoint...not from trying to change others. The human psyche is a strange place. If we all behaved reasonably and predictably there would be little need for places like this.

So...i suppose...what i came here looking for is insight...maybe wisdom. I want a child who attains some level of normal functioning and a reasonably happy life and i'd like to help him do that BEFORE he destroys himself.

hermia

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Hi Hermia,

If i had read more carefully, i would have realized you were his mother... mea culpa... mea culpa!

Hermia, I have 2 children and can recall when my son, in his teen years, began to abuse alcohol (he no longer does) and my sweating it out, fearful and very pained by what I believed lay ahead for him. I think that over the years I have cried over my son more than anything else in life. I've crid about when he had Lyme disease, the the panic attacks and anxiety and depression, then the asthma attacks, then when he fell off the tree, the when he stepped on a golf tee and it went thru his foot. Basically, I can remember every tear and how deeply I wept over all of his pains. We are never free, are we?

The reason I was saying you couldn't change him was not be/c you can't, but b/c at a certain point he is no longer there. Drug and alcohol are much like the pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where the person's mind is snatched away by the chemical and what you have is the shell of the child you once knew. I'm not suggesting this is where your son is, in fact he may be no where close to this stage. Overall, what I'm saying is that you might no longer be talking to the son you once had... he is changed, made different by the chemicals.

Also, kicking him out, which many parents do, only serves to further isolate him from you, his lifeline, and push him deeper into his problem. This is usually the worst decision.

Please keep in mind that the disease of addiction is a family disease, the child does not live in a vacuum. The alcoholic/ addict is obsessed with doing the drug, and the family is obsessed with the problem. Things to do (my list again):

1) One of the best tools (which is where my initial post came from) in working with a family in crisis is effective communication skills. By keeping communication an open door, you will find that it is very useful for putting together a plan of action that you and the family can agree upon. What is your position going to be? Look at the here and now, what can I do right now?

2) Positive rituals are a good starting point-- he has to eat someday, so make an exceptional dinner every night and invite him to join you. Don't discuss the past as this may only silence and agitate him, instead, look forward. With addiction comes a lot of damage; material and emotional, so focus on tomorrow or the next day first.

3) Always have a 3rd party over for dinner, this take the pressure off and they can serve as a buffer. If you son interacts with a third party you will find that recovery often goes better, because often times the family is too emotionally close to the addict to be of any real help. Please realize that you are the parents and you are not responsible for the problem.

4) Consider rehab (preferably non-AA focused rehab- if one can be found) and take him yourself. This may need to be put on the table with your husband. Also, you might have said this, but, does he also have any mental health issues? If so, he may require a dual diagnosis program. If possible, get him involved in a place where they offer various options and have expertise in addictions medicine. This will be your final hurdle and it wil be painful, difficult and could result in aggressive behavior on his part. Remember, you're trying to save a life, and nothing should interfere with this goal.

5) read, read and read some more about addictions, addictive behavior, how to talk to your child about addiction/drug use, etc. Understand how drugs affect the brain and why you can't reach him. Knowledge will be your best weapon here.

Good luck and I hope this helps,

David

Edited by David O
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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Hermia and David O.,

I agree with David but not with all he said. It is not that your son is no longer there because of drugs and alcohol but because we as parents no longer have control past a certain point in their lives, whether they use drugs or not. Yes, all of us parents would like to have the kind of child you mention but, its not up to us. You son is in charge of his life, whether you think of him as old or young. All you can do and should do is to live YOUR LIFE to the fullest. I am speaking not only as a professional but as a parent who has been there and knows from personal experience.

As far as your son getting help, I have two reactions:

1. You can offer to find him help but, its up to him to use it. If he does not want you to find help for him, then, that's the end of the discussion. Also, I don't know if he is living at home with you or not but, if he is using, he should told to move out. You do not want to enable him: that means that you do not want to make it easy for him to use drugs and alcohol. If he uses he needs to learn the consequences. This may sound hard to you but its the truth. This is a truth that comes not just from a professional but a parent who has been all around this neighborhood.

2. I totally disagree with David O about AA and twelve step programs. There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for you son to avoid AA and AA type twelve step programs. This also comes from a me as a therapist and a personally experienced person.

What are your thoughts and, David, what are your reactions?

Allan

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Hi Hermia,

I just want to second what Allan said. Don't be affraid of AA, AA based rehab or (and this you may want to try first) Al-Anon meetings for yourself.

There is a very vocal anti-AA crew out here in cyberspace but you owe it to yourself to find out what YOU think. It is a very effective program for many, many people. At the very least you will talk to a few people in the same boat as you are at the moment. There is no easy answer and there is probably no ONE answer. Best to keep your options open at this stage.

I have been sober in AA for over 12 years. I've seen it work wonders and I've seen it on rare occasions not work. Don't expect miracles. Recovery is a process. Sometimes a very long one. Get some support for yourself. You deserve it. You will suffer as any mother suffers but you don't have to do it blindly. :)

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Hermia,

PS I am hoping that if anyone on this site feels compelled to argue for or against a specific treatment philsophy, that is done through an alternate thread, so as not to impose our personal agendas onto someone who is clearly struggling and deserves to be the uncompromised focus of our concern, feedback, and insights.
JP is right. I was concerned about having this issue on your thread from the beginning. I deleted my posts since I think they are a distraction, serve no purpose and may actually harm others who may be seeking help. The issue is not about AA/12 step, but about you and your son.

Hermia, please accept my sincerest apologies.

Tony, my apologies to you also.. we jointly derailed Hermia's thread. My hope is that you will remove your post and start a new thread surrounding this issue. Thanks so much in advance.

Edited by David O
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xenophon >> Lock this thread. And, from this point on, hold all posts by all posters until approved by a moderator. It is clear to me that such a policy is necessary
Locking the thread would deny hermia access to the ongoing wisdom, compassion, sensitivity and insights of the "family"-- that would not be right, especially when the issue had nothing to do with her. I also would not like to be in a position of policing every post and thread and unilaterally determining the appropriateness of every response and thread.... this would likely have an overall adverse effect on the entire forum.:)

Moderators and administrators would then become Super Gestapos, Thought Police and the Ministry of Truth crew (from Orwell's 1984).

... Little a dewdrop,

Little the minds of men:

All men are not equal in wisdom,

The half-wise are everywhere."

:eek:...............:(...............:mad: Edited by David O
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You do understand that people like to romp and play on the internet. The possible consequences to them are minimal. It is the effect upon others that matter.

Thank you for bringing up that point, however, most of us have agreed that this thread is not the place for personal gripes.

You are not doing hermia any good by continuing that discussion now that all other parties have agreed to stop. Please take your own advice and put someone other than yourself first. Open a new thread if need to share. :)

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Little a dewdrop,

Little the minds of men:

All men are not equal in wisdom,

Originally Posted by John Rutledge

The half-wise are everywhere.

Does it take a Super-Moderator to make a super-silly response ? Don't think you got it somehow, David. Or perhaps you did - which might worry me, in a Super-Moderator ... were I disposed to worry ...

JR,

Please tell me you have something relevant to contribute... something which would assist hermia (and many others) in her struggles.

Attempting to provoke a reaction is not the same thing as saying something significant or meaningful. Posts that undermine fellow members are not a shortcut to significance and can hurt the community by making it less safe for people to post. I respectfully ask you to add value to the discussion (as opposed to detracting from it) when and where you're able, contribute relevantly, and refrain from submitting these types of posts in the future.

Respectfully and Sincerely,

David

Edited by David O
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