June 16, 2011

My Heart-Stopping Conversation with The Boy

The Boy will be sixteen in a few weeks. In the car the other day, he announced that when he is sixteen, he is going to stop taking his medication and stop treatment for his bipolar disorder.

I died a little inside when I heard that.

Apparently, he heard somewhere (perhaps it was in New York), that a child can choose to stop treatment when he/she reaches the age of 16.

Nothing good can come of this. I tell him how he's doing such a good job now, how the medication is working well, and he's working hard.

He's unconvinced. He feels that stopping is best. He is tired of taking all those meds, tired of the side effects - he thinks he may be allergic to one of the medications.

I then tell him that I can choose not to visit him when he lands in detention - because that is the most likely outcome.

Not the most mature response,I know, but I wanted him to hear how seriously stupid it would be to stop taking the medication that we've been adjusting for the past ten years.

I did a web search, but couldn't get a definitive answer on the age of non-compliance.

This morning, I called the doctor's office to check if The Boy is within his rights to stop (but really, there's no way to force anyone to take medication).

In Missouri, the magic age is 18. When The Boy turns 18, he can stop all meds, and can stop going to the doctor if he chooses. If he decides to continue treatment, the doctor is not allowed to tell me anything about his treatment unless The Boy signs a consent form.

So I guess we dodge that bullet for two more years.

Silly me, I was beginning to think I had a handle on this stuff.


  1. (((HUGS))) and many prayers. Don't know what to say. Not too good with advice on things like this, but my heart is with you and you will definitely continue to have my prayers.

  2. Kim,
    No easy answers. Maybe if he feels he has some control he'll let it go for awhile and make it less of a daily issue. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I know how upset and devastated you must feel.

  3. The Mister says,

    Age does not relate to maturity or the ability to make good choices, (even for a 18 year old boy, or even one that is 16). Why is it our society insists on forcing adult choices on children?

    Hopefully the boy realizes if his behavior gets worse due to a choice of forgoing medical treatment. Pointing out that the medicines and his new school has helped with his successful progress towards being able to live in the world. This attitude can result in dire consequences.

    One of those consequences might be time in the barred hotel. (Three hots an a cot, not the 12 meals a day which he prefers). No therapeutic water treatments whenever he wishes, No major hours of computer internet time. The list goes on and on.

    It is up to you June to point the benefits and others not listed, which he thinks is entitlements, will be lost to him.

    There is more benefit from continuing to take the medicine (even with the side effects), and continue going school, than to decide that he should stop taking his medication.

    Ward (the Mister) Cleaver

  4. Hey June ~ I agree...very good thing you have a couple more years. In those 2 years, he'll probably have 20 different points of view about all this. Hopefully, he will understand better then, and will choose the best/safest path.

  5. That is heart-stopping. I hope he comes to see that this isn't the most mature decision and has huge ramifications for his life. Let's hope he sees the light in the next two years. Ai yi yi ... that boy keeps you on your toes.


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