My 22 yr old son (Type I diabetic) is online for > 8 hrs/day. He has failed his college courses, ignored his health (HBA1C’s >12) and lost jobs due to oversleeping.
We spoke with Cyber Junkie author Kevin Roberts who personally used (and recommends) 12 step method to overcome, but he didn’t hit bottom/admit he had a problem until age 30. This is pretty late for a diabetic.
My son is in denial, so we’re trying to get him help, but we can’t legally force him since he’s an adult. There could be depression there, and low self esteem. We’re not sure which mental health and parenting tools/strategies to use which will incentivize him in a timely manner. Some address the symptoms versus the cause.
Solutions/issues we have considered: 12 step program, Intervention, Therapy, Joslin Diabetes Center, non Virtual Self Esteem opportunities, Frontal lobe doesn’t develop fully until approx age 25, Tough Love constructs, enablement issues, mentoring from Type I diabetic uncle......
Lots of ingredients, but we need a recipe for what to use, how to use it, how much, how little, what sequence.....The experts out there seem to operate in chimneys, but it’s very difficult to find someone who can operate in the diabetic/therapy/addiction domain at the same time.
We would very much appreciate your thoughts.
The first and foremost thing you need, of course is your son's cooperation. Is he willing to get help? If not, you're between a rock and a hard place and the only tool in your bag is either intervention (which may or may not motivate him) and/or tough love if he is living with you which you don't say. If he is, you can make requirements for him living there such as work, school, up and out so many hours a day, etc. But you need to be prepared to follow through with hard consequences if he doesn't meet the standards.
As for therapy, you are obviously not going to find a specialist on diabetic/therapy/internet addiction. If you are looking for expertise I would definitely go with internet addiction (or addiction in general). While the diabetes is a major issue, any good therapist is used to dealing with various issues the person has. However, you may have trouble finding an actual licensed therapist who even specializes in addiction. In general people with addiction issues usually go to specific drug and alcohol or eating disorder programs. While you know the issues are similar, he wouldn't relate which is a problem in early recovery. But again, a good therapist will be knowledgeable about addiction and perhaps knowledgeable about chronic health problems. A good therapist will deal with what the person presents. And I think you are right that there is more going on emotionally than just internet addiction (there usually is). So if your son is willing you can seek referrals to therapists. I always recommend seeing a few - often the first session is free - and laying out the issues and seeing if it is a good match. Most therapists will (again, if your son is willing) allow you to spend the beginning of the session in the room, or ask you to come in for awhile and then see your son alone. Family members always provide useful insight to a therapist. Good luck, this is a hard issue and scary due to the D.
I also highly recommend you do what you do to take care of yourself, especially during this crisis time. You are focused on caring for your son which is what good parents do, but it is definite burnout material and you need to take care of you as well.
Thank you Zoe. My youngest brother was non compliant. He had numerous amputations and eventually died from liver failure at age 32.I’m sure that you can appreciate my motivation. I have another lead on some Intervention and will let you know if it’s a good fit.
You might explore what resources are available from the Behavioral Diabetes Institute, headed by Dr. William Polonsky. He is a pioneer in addressing the psychological aspects of diabetes (including depression), and is highly regarded. He has done live interviews here at TuD in the past, also.
Their web site is located HERE.
Thank you David. I will look into it.