Maybe a Misdiagnosis? Need feedback.
This is my first post but familiar with forums. I would appreciate any advice that I can get from you guys and in particular from a health care professional. I’ll try not to drag this out but is kind of a long story.
My son joined the Air force at the age of 20 and has recently turned 21. He was honor roll in high school and not from pressure from his dad or myself. He’s just smart. He excelled in Basic Training and actually loved it as he said was a challenge. He graduated from Lackland AFB on the 4th of July weekend 2010 as a first class because he did the “Right Start Program” prior to basic. My son has always been active with mountain biking and weight training and was never a couch potato. Even in grade school, he was very high energy and I would burn that by going to the beach a lot and the park…etc. During high school was focused on getting good grades and staying in shape. He never acted depressed and has told me he never felt depressed. He was laid back and let most everything just roll off his shoulders. In summery, he acted perfectly normal to me all through his adolescence and I never saw a red flag that would deem him as Bipolar. As I said, he weight lifted through out high school and at that point only added protein powders, whey, etc. He stuck to all natural things to enhance the workouts. NOW….. The stacking of pre workout products comes in to play.
After basic training, he went to Keesler AFB in Mississippi for tech training and everything was fine for the first 3 weeks and then all hell broke lose after he turned 21. Evidently he felt popular at the base because of his muscles AND his personality was asked by a few of his wingmen to help them at the gym. I think that is when he got online and started researching all the pre workout products and decided to order something like $600 worth of them… not knowing or not caring that they were full of stimulants. I am assuming that he stacked way too much of these things, didn’t get much sleep for 7 days but still maintained his class work. I know that a person that doesn’t sleep for as little as 3 days can start seeing things so he must have been on a heavy dose of this stuff to stay awake so long and do the things he did.
He rode his bike 50 miles off the base AFTER going to a casino and drinking at least 3 shots of tequila and got lost. He found a store and called his sergeant …I think… and they had to escort him back to the base. When they found him he was literally talking to god and totally out of his head. He called me when he got back to the base and I knew right away that something was terribly wrong. It was like is was possessed, talking about god and the devil ( hyper-religious) I didn’t know what was going on with him except this was not my son and I was scared and freaked out. I begged him to lay down and get some sleep ( at this time I didn’t know anything about the stimulants or liquor) I called his father and he said he had talked to Zach and knew he was distressed and was going to call a pastor?? I suppose he talked so bizarre that his dad REALLY thought he was possessed…. that’s how bad it was!
Ok…. So I get a call from his sergeant a few hours later telling me he voluntarily went to a hospital and the sergeant also told me what he thought had happened and assured me that this was only a set back and Zach would be ok. He even said that that was a perfectly normal young man and a pleasure to be around. I asked what hospital he was admitted to and he didn’t know. This is when I started calling around and finally after the whole night, tracked him down at Gulf Oaks Mental which is a part of Biloxi Regional Hospital and also contracted for their services by ALL the military in that area. I was told later that my son had a violent episode when he first got there and had to be sedated. Zach later told me that he flipped out because they were coming at him right away with a syringe just like you see in the movies. He pretty much remembers what happened but is foggy as well. Keep in mind this is a young man who has NEVER done illegal drugs of any kind… not even pot. I suppose from all of the pre workout stackers and lack of sleep, was hallucinating and experiencing something so far out that he got violent and punched the walls and even tore a door off the hinges and told me it was because of the needle coming at him. The very next day and even before a detox period from all the stimulants to find his base point, put him on Seroquel and Depakote . He signed a waiver so that I could discuss this condition with the staff but was never able ( or allowed) to speak to his primary physician. I talked to him 3 times a day and made it a point to call back and ask for his nurse or his counselor. They all kept saying that he was doing fine…and was “coming along”. They told me what medications he was taking only because I insisted they tell me but not how much. He never seemed himself to me the whole time he was there… Lethargic most of the time but after about 4 days seemed to like being there and told me that he enjoyed helping the others there. ( A new career you think?) This really worried me. He was very confused about what was going on and I can’t blame him considering all the drugs he was on.
Zach was due to be released the following Monday back to Keesler AFB to be evaluated by military doctors and seemed hopeful that they would try to taper him off the meds to see if he was indeed Bi Polar and if he wasn’t, would continue with the military, but if he had the disorder would most likely get a medical discharge. The day before his release day, his stupid father told him that he was 21 and had the right to refuse medications which he did. Monday morning I called to find out when he would be released and was told he had another episode after not taking the medication the night before and had to stay. The nurse told me he got violent again, punching the wall and hitting his head against the wall in the elevator on the way down to the first floor. I found out later that wasn’t the case and he was kept there for refusing the meds. They kept him for another week and that’s when they introduced the Lithium. So he’s now taking Lithium, Seroquel, and Depakote and wasn’t even detoxed from the stimulants that he was on to begin with. IS THIS NORMAL PROCEDURE??? He’s now back in PA and has been informed that hes released from the Air Force without any benefits. They dropped him like a hot potato! He really is not fit to drive or operate any machines as he is lethargic on the meds and his girlfriend told me that he’s kind of drooling from the corners of his mouth, his eyes roll or he loses focus and he’s forgetful. He hates how he feels on the drugs but is aware of the dangers of cold turkeying. He doesn’t have a job or insurance and is unlikely that he can be seen by a professional for several months.
I just want to know if the hospital he was at did everything properly?, is he being over medicated?, is it possible he was misdiagnosed and what can he do in the mean time before seeing a doctor as he feels like crap. He hates the way he feels and is very frustrated. He’s been going to the gym to work off his steam but I’m worried he may crack. He has a girlfriend in Mississippi and wants to be with her and am afraid he’ll leave the state he’s in before he gets this medical issue sorted.
One more thing…. We are not in denial as we are aware that Bipolar Disorder can hide below the surface for many years and rear it’s ugly head because of a traumatic event. I would love my bipolar son just the same and he can accept it as well if he really knew he was diagnosed correctly.
Thank you all so much for any help and advise you can give us……..