Jan 14, 2013

Re: "I Am Adam Lanza's Mother"

" I Am Adam Lanza's Mother "  is a autobiographical Web post, written by a Mother of four about life raising a teenager with a burgeoning personality disorder.

Actually, nowhere in this harrowing tale  is there any mention of this or any other formal diagnosis for her volatile teenage son; yet she shares enough information about him to render it clear to most College Psyche majors what her son's is "suffering" with.

And it's a serious...

This glaring omission of anything akin to a diagnosis, is very worrisome and would appear to be a theme consistent with thousands of other families in this country with so called "problem" kids or teenagers: One finds a huge sampling of adult siblings who were raised with destructive kids teens.

Lisa Long, the author, does not mention a father on the scene, and as such we must guess that she is a single parent,   struggling alone on the edge of a proverbial cliff with her eldest of  four, whom she dubs "Michael" for anonymity sake.

She refers to her son alternately as" troubled", "special needs", and "mentally ill" and makes the proclamation " I am Adam Lanz's mother" in her title and her first line, she reiterates this theme in the conclusion. While this certainly grabbed my attention, and many others I'm sure, it is a far cry from being correct or reasonable.

From the harrowing  life- accounts that the long shares,"Michael" has something called "Oppositional defiant disorder".which is an outcropping of "conduct disorder" the term given to younger children displaying some of the same traits.  ODD often evolves into adult Socio-pathology, although a small percentage of children and teens respond to treatment if its earnest and begins early enough. They are the exception.

Laymen bandy about the term psychopath and sociopath interchangeably, but they are somewhat different. Either way, the two diagnosis are  a far cry from Adam Lanz who according to sources had Autism -  a completely different disorder. The last thing we need is the public connecting mass violence with Autism. Lanz might very well have had other diagnosis' which has yet to be revealed.

Of course, the parent must actually bring the "troubled" teen to one mental health specialist long enough for them to make a proper diagnosis, be it inpatient or intensive outpatient treatment  In small snippets of 20 minute sessions Sociopaths and Narcissistic PD are very difficult to expose. In teenagers a history of their behavior from parents are the
A surprising number of parents do not bring their volatile ODD children into regular treatment.

Some, like the mother of "Michael",  use hospitals as a temporary strait jacket which while one step better than nothing,  serves only a a temporary intervention for each crisis with no lasting change or informed decision making regarding institutionalization the teenager to preserve her other children's mental health who are deeply affected by Michael's tyranny.

The thing that disturbs me most about the article and the barrage of comments after,from other parents with "problem children" of their own, is the fact that few discerned the difference between kids or teens with mood disorders such as bi-polar (which can be pharmacological treated (with relative success) schizophrenia, Autism or the more common personality disorders that so often wreak havoc upon the entire family unit as well as all siblings of that disordered child/ teen.

There seems an abundance of parents in our country that are lumping all of these into " Special needs" kids  These kids run a broad gamut from suffering from actual brain conditions such as Autism/ Aspergers to Bipolar mood disorder and many of the more dangerous personality disorders such as Sociopaths and Narcicisists.

The whole article would seem at once an outcry and com-plaintive wail for help: "I have a son that might wind up like Adam Lanza and there are not enough resources to "fix" him or her!".

The author relates that she is told that the only tangible way to deal with her predisposed to violent son is the criminal justice system. Where this article is a cry for help from a parents perspective.  I see society's growing plaintive wail that your son and others like him, left untreated or institutionalized, are likely going to commit violence against someone or many someones, perhaps sooner than  later. Especially teens that are already attacking the authority figure in their life - mom..

"Michael" has physically harmed his mother, repeatedly threatens her and his siblings who are both younger, and undoubtedly scarred quite deeply by their brothers unpredictability, although" sometimes charming.... anything can set him off...."  and the family is forced to " walk on eggshells around him".

This particular parent recognizes that her son might kill someone, yet she is reluctant to bring in the law and follow through, even though he is breaking the law, and wreaking havoc in what is supposed to be a safe haven for her two other children. She also does not mention institutionalization, which seems a no brainer to me, and indeed a social service agency should have already intervened on behalf of the other children in the household. Yet despite years of rage fueled attacks, regular trips to hospitals with policemen restraining "Michael" not one agency has stepped in be it in concert with the crimnal justice or not.

Authority, consequences and accountability are despised by ODD teenagers, yet so many parents of what could be an evolving sociopath will cocoon thier teenager and even their young adult sociopath, from the criminal, legal and even social consequences of their own actions. These Parents create criminals and adults who wreak havoc upon every life they touch.And these are just the emotional scars.

Some parents believe they are doing the right thing hiding the behavior  their "child" after all", or worse  try to cover up the legal financial and criminal "troubles" of their sociopath and narcissist adult children out of  fear of exposing their family's "failings". Middle and upper middle class families are more likely than poorer families to enable their destructive offspring well into the child's adulthood and their own deaths.

In this enabling and bailing out covering up propping up, these parents embolden their evolving sociopath offspring with a sense of non - accountability - ( ie' My parents will bail me out of this again - or later in life, my sister or brother.)

And while it sounded heartwarming to this writer mom that her violent son has a nice articulate charming side that will often regale others with subjects from philosophy to physics( like many ODD he has a high IQ ) ..... who cares if he has a genius IQ - if his emotional IQ is that of a 2 year old and his family and others are not safe around him?!

It is this exact coddling and enabling that makes bigger monsters out of  kids already pre-disposed to criminal behavior Yet somehow the refrain.' But he is so intelligent or artistic or speaks well.....' is heard above the we better insulate others from his volatility because its not getting better.

Anti social Personality disorder is not curable' Sociopaths hate Authority, are highly manipulative and deceitful, with no true conscience or ability to empathize as they are immersed with self. Other people are to be used abused or in the case of unflinching authority and those who see through them - avoided but even this they do with bitterness and often a sense of vengefulness.

We know that talk therapy doesn't work with sociopaths, in fact is usually forced upon them by either the criminal justice system or family members and they are re known for manipulate the therapist even feigning other mental illnesses in attempt to control the psychiatrist and the therapy..

Anti-psychotics may or may not dull the edges of a teen with op positional defiant disorder, but they are notorious for being non compliant with medications, they do not want their volatility dulled. They cannot be trusted to take those medications by the very nature of their disorder and outside of a controlled environment unless the teenager or young adult is inpatient psychiatric and even then closely supervised..

Whenever we look over our collective shoulder to see why and how most sociopath's became people that murder and/or maim, there is often an enabling parent or parents that did all the wrong things and often for selfish reasons. The enablers often produce a more serious criminal than negligent parent's as the latter wind up in the criminal justice system after running afoul of the law time and again.

If you have a child that has symptoms of oppositional defiant , conduct,  intermittent explosive -and or  PD  your first responsibility is to protect your healthy children who will not be healthy if you allow what is akin to a brewing sociopath in their midst. The community and society at large are equally important .They are all someone elses child sister brother parent.

The mother writing this story actually has a rehearsed drill for her two other children, who are to lock themselves in or out if rooms, the house or the car, (depending on the locale) any time that "Michael" begins to have a rage attack. The fact that this has happened so many times that this mother feels she has to physically remove her children from harms way, translates into"Michael" requiring segregation/ institutionalizing, period.

Because 'Michael also likes Harry Potter when he's not terrorizing and attacking  has a genius IQ however, this mom is sucked into the typical vortex of wanting to fix him because he is articulate and intelligent - and her "child" after all.

If finances and insurance are issues; as they are with this family, there are state assisted programs and hospitals. Obviously we can do more in this arena.  However many parents do not enter the realm of mental health, until authorities intervene or someone has been hurt.

After reading through every one of the comments following this piece, I was shocked by just how many so called "problem" kids and teenagers exist in this country and how far reaching their destructive behaviors are. Due to so many parents lack of firm action with those problem kids years later, the adult children that shared their lives with this volatile person make a chorus of bitterness over the pain and damage visited upon them by one problem relative often given far too much  always beginning in childhood or adolescence..

Shortly after this article was published  one appeared in the New Haven Register about the shortage of child psychiatrists in our State of Connecticut.  The daunting costs due to the supply demand would seem to be pushing the Psychiatrists to an ugly avarice provoked by the fact that they are so exclusive.

Shortage of child Psychologists Psychiatrists in Connecticut