10-20-2003, 07:46 PM
My son is 19 years old. He was diagnosed with ADD in grade school. He was never beligerent - just couldn't concentrate and would occasionally do impulsive things. In middle school we opted to stop giving him dexedrine. His grades slipped a bit, but with extra effort he was able to maintain a B average. In high school he began to withdraw - first from sports and eventually he hated all aspects of school. He averaged failing one class per semester - maintaining a C or D average. He started skipping school once he turned 18. We wouldn't excuse his absences, so he had to decide if he was going to flunk out or put forth the extra effort to make up his lost credits. He went to night school and did graduate. His money problems came to our attention when he opened a checking account. We had access to his statements and saw he was writing checks for more than he had in his account. We tried to talk to him about money management and he would be agreeable in person - but his check bouncing intensified. One night he didn't come home from work. When he was several hours late we contacted his work and found out he had been arrested for stealing money from the cash drawer. The actual theft had occured months earlier (while he was still 17), but they had waited until that night to have him arrested (and he was now 18). When confronted he confessed, to stealing that money and some additional that they didn't know about. He ended up accepting a plea bargin admitting to the theft for a reduced charge - but it is now on his permenant record. He has lost several jobs since - either because they find out about the theft charge, or because he has lied about the theft charge and the employer finds out later. In the meantime, he continues to spend money that he doesn't have. We bailed him out this past summer. If we hadn't, he would have gone to jail for all of his bad checks - over $4,000 worth. He no longer has his check book - but that hasn't stopped him from stealing his ATM card and writing counter checks to take out the extra money we deposited to cover his checks. He is receiving mailings from credit card companies where he has applied for credit cards - but thankfully he now has bad credit so for now he is being turned down. We have been taking him to see a psychologist for the past few months. We were told his actions were consistent with manic depressive behavior. He would spend excessively when he seemed happy and up - at points when things seemed to be going well - like graduation from high school and starting a new job. When depressed, he won't shower and stays in his room most of the time. He has been on Zoloft for a few months now. It seems to have helped a bit with the depression, but not at all with the out of control spending. We just found out that he has withdrawn all his account money again and applied for more credit cards. He has no concept of saving or paying any of his debts. He doesn't seem concerned with facing the consequences of possibly going to jail or having to leave home if he doesn't get his life together. He has been lying to all of us - the psychologist and his parents, when we thought he was making an effort and acting responsibly, he wasn't - he was still just finding more ways to access money. His girlfriend of over a year has left him. We are at our wits end. We have 3 other kids and this has been very stressful on all of us. We are tired of bailing him out and have told him he will have to face the consequences of his actions if he is taken to court for any further debt problems. We feel like the sessions with the psychologist aren't making any progress and those aren't covered by insurance. Is there a course of action that we need to take that we haven't already? Does he need a different medication? How do we help him deal with the obsession to spend money? Right now we can't envision him ever supporting himself on his own. He spends his money on games, CD's and misc items - none of which he is ever able to account for. Any advice would be appreciated.