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When recreational drug use is a factor

Posted Aug 29 2012 12:00am
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?
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