When Your Adult Child Breaks Your Heart: Coping with Mental Illness, Substance Abuse, and the Problems That Tear Families Apart

Overview

Behind nearly every adult who is accused of a crime, becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, or who is severely mentally ill and acting out in public, there is usually at least one extremely stressed-out parent. This parent may initially react with the bad news of their adult child behaving badly with, "Oh no!" followed by, "How can I help to fix this?" A very common third reaction is the thought, "Where did I go wrong--was it something I said or did, or that I failed to do when my child was growing up that caused ...

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When Your Adult Child Breaks Your Heart: Coping with Mental Illness, Substance Abuse, and the Problems That Tear Families Apart

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Overview

Behind nearly every adult who is accused of a crime, becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, or who is severely mentally ill and acting out in public, there is usually at least one extremely stressed-out parent. This parent may initially react with the bad news of their adult child behaving badly with, "Oh no!" followed by, "How can I help to fix this?" A very common third reaction is the thought, "Where did I go wrong--was it something I said or did, or that I failed to do when my child was growing up that caused these issues? Is this really somehow all my fault?" These parents then open their homes, their pocketbooks, their hearts, and their futures to "saving" their adult child--who may go on to leave them financially and emotionally broken.  Sometimes these families also raise the children their adult children leave behind: 1.6 million grandparents in the U.S. are in this situation.
       This helpful book presents families with quotations and scenarios from real suffering parents (who are not identified), practical advice, and tested strategies for coping. It also discusses the fact that parents of adult children may themselves need therapy and medications, especially antidepressants. The book is written in a clear, reassuring manner by Dr. Joel L. Young, medical director of the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine in Rochester Hills, Michigan; with noted medical writer Christine Adamec, author of many books in the field. 
         In the wake of the Newtown shooting and the viral popularity of the post "I Am Adam Lanza's Mother," America is now taking a fresh look, not only at gun control, but also on how we treat mental illness. Another major issue is our support or stigmatization of those with adult children who are a major risk to their families as well to society itself.  This book is part of that conversation.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/07/2013
“My son is now twenty-eight years old.... On many occasions he has been very physically abusive to me.... Doctors have diagnosed my son with depression and borderline personality disorder; and he also has a problem with drugs.” With this anecdote, psychiatrist Young, the medical director of the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine and a specialist in working with the mentally ill and their families, begins a moving and vitally important book on mental illness and parenting. Intended for parents of troubled children, the book also serves as an excellent introduction to mental illness for anyone who has known a troubled family. Cowritten with self-help author Adamec, the well-organized book includes sections discussing the difficult situations that parents face if the adult child is living at home, and incisive guides to dealing with manipulative behaviors. Later chapters address the disorders that cause difficult behaviors, as well as the symptoms of those disorders, from child neglect and abuse to suicide. The final section encourages parents to take care of themselves first: managing sleep and health; dealing with unhelpful comments from friends; and knowing when it’s time to walk away. The book offers practical advice, stories, and resources—and, perhaps most importantly, comfort for any parent facing one of the biggest parenting challenges. Agent: Roger Williams, New England Publishing Associates. (Dec.)
From the Publisher

“At a time when we have a veritable crisis of adult children coping with mental illness, substance abuse, or their combination—coupled with a lack of resources for their concerned parents—this book provides understandable, practical advice for parents that is useful in real life. Dr. Young is a member of the new generation of psychiatrists unburdened by the tradition of a hierarchy and stereotype and is to be commended for the effort he expended in putting together this concise and practical summary in this important, underserved area. Any parent and clinician would benefit greatly from reading this book.”     —David R. Rosenberg, MD, professor and chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University; and psychiatrist in chief, Detroit Medical Center

“It is often very hard to find help for despairing parents of adult children with mental illness and substance abuse. Easily understood and clearly written, replete with anecdotes, advice and quotations from real people, this unusually helpful book offers timely and practical information.”     —Mark S. Gold, MD, distinguished professor and chairman, Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida

“This authoritative guide couples practical, no-nonsense information with support and reassurance. A must-read book for parents who wonder what went wrong and who mistakenly blame themselves.”   —Irene S. Levine, PhD, professor of psychiatry, NYU Langone School of Medicine

“Parents struggling to understand and support their adult children in distress now have this engaging, comprehensive, and practical book. In When Your Adult Child Breaks Your Heart, Dr. Joel Young provides invaluable information, stories, and strategies. He has given us an essential go-to-resource for families and those who work with them.”     —Steve Weine, MD, professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago

“Brain-behavior illnesses almost always become family issues. Family and friends are impacted, play crucial roles in assisting children of any age in finding and adhering to treatment plans, and are always in need of guidance about how to navigate the predictable hurdles. This book by Dr. Young provides a road map that help parents along often-rocky roads.”     —John Greden, MD, executive director, University of Michigan Depression Center, University of Michigan Medical School

“This book addresses an often overlooked cost of mental illness—the agonizing suffering of family members who make every attempt to support and love the impaired adult child. You will appreciate the ‘in the trenches’ insights and guidance these knowledgeable authors offer.”      —David W. Goodman, MD, assistant professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; and director, Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Center of Maryland

“Mental illness and substance use disorders are highly prevalent, cause enormous personal suffering and disability, and pose extreme strains on even the best-functioning families. There are no guidebooks or other educational materials available to parents of adult children with these conditions. When Your Adult Child Breaks Your Heart admirably fills this enormous void. Clearly written by Dr. Young and Ms. Adamec, this timely book provides extremely useful information and practical advice to parents of adult children with mental illness and substance use disorders. I found the book inspiring and comforting and would highly recommend it to all parents who struggle to understand their adult child with mental illness, cope with the knowledge of their adult child’s problematic behaviors, and strive to help their child while retaining their own sanity.”      —Rajiv Tandon, MD, professor of psychiatry, University of Florida College of Medicine

Library Journal
★ 11/15/2013
Psychiatrist Young and author Adamec (The Encyclopedia of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse; How To Live with a Mentally Ill Person) address parents who suffer financially and emotionally as they try to save their adult children from dysfunctions such as committing crimes or alcohol and drug abuse. According to the authors, mental illness and substance abuse are at the core of most problematic behaviors, and so they focus on topics such as having a child forcibly committed, dealing with the criminal justice system, and coping with suicidal behavior. The authors also discuss setting limits, taking care of oneself, and the possibility of having to face reality and walk away. VERDICT A valuable book for parents of out-of-control young people.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762792979
  • Publisher: Lyons Press, The
  • Publication date: 12/3/2013
  • Edition description: First Edition, First
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 203,399
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Joel L. Young, M.D. is a board-certified adolescent, adult and forensic psychiatrist. He is the medical director of the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine outside of Detroit. RCBM is a clinical research site and outpatient clinic specializing in the treatment of individuals and families struggling with mental illness, including ADHD, substance use disorders, mood disorders, and psychosis. In addition, Dr. Young teaches Psychiatry at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. He is the author of ADHD Grown Up and Contemporary Guide to Adult ADHD.  More information about Dr. Young, and the Rochester Center of Behavioral Medicine can be fount at www.rcbm.net.

Christine Adamec has written more than 30 self-help books and encyclopedias, most recently Amphetamines and Methamphetamine and The Encyclopedia of Kidney Diseases and Disorders. In addition, she coauthored Fibromyalgia for Dummies. Adamec has also written or coauthored numerous books on substance abuse and mental illness, including The Encyclopedia of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, The Encyclopedia of Drug Abuse and How to Live with a Mentally Ill Person.  Read more at christineadamec.com

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