Our daughter was diagnosed with ADHD in early elementary school but continued to work at grade level and seemed to be okay. In middle school, she began to struggle academically and with her peers. She qualified for an Individualized Education Program (IEP), and she agreed to try medication to help with attention and focus.
In high school, she was discharged from her IEP as she performed very well with support, but her mental health began to decline, and she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and began self-harming. She was prescribed an antidepressant along with Vyvanse. She was hospitalized for suicidal ideation and then attended an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and therapeutic school.
When she returned to regular public school, and did very well!
Then Covid hit, and her mental health started to spiral down again when she switched to online learning. She began using marijuana and vaping THC and nicotine despite warnings from her parents and her psychiatrist to avoid substance use. Her doctor specifically said, “Marijuana will change the way you think, and the sad part is you won’t even realize it.”
The following year, at the age of 18, our daughter fired her psychiatrist, and she graduated high school by the skin of her teeth. Then, she found a psychiatrist who approved her for medical marijuana to treat her anxiety. She had friends with medical marijuana cards who influenced her to do this.
Her mental health continued to decline, and she essentially stopped functioning. She didn’t work. She stopped driving and confined herself to her room. Eventually, she was admitted to Newport Residential Facility, California, for dual diagnosis treatment (cannabis use disorder and mental health conditions).
We supported her treatment by attending Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) classes and family therapy sessions.
Upon her return home from a step-down program she abruptly stopped taking her prescribed meds without our knowledge. She became mentally unstable and psychotic during a family vacation over Thanksgiving.
Since then, she fled the family and has remained semi-estranged from the family for all of 2023. I do hear from her occasionally, and she reports that she is back on medication, working, living nearby, and has been refraining from marijuana use.
Marijuana has been nothing short of a nightmare for our family.
My message to all… If you or your young adult loved one has any pre-existing mental health conditions, marijuana will “seal the deal” and make the mental illness way worse or even permanent.
Doctors must be prohibited from prescribing medical marijuana to teens and young adults!
Our daughter is still present on earth, and for that, I am grateful. However, she’s not the same. Marijuana changed her brain, and she seems to lack insight.
I hope that with time and adherence to medical treatment and clean living, my daughter will continue to improve, find her purpose, and return to her family that truly loves her.
T. U. concerned parent from the Philly suburbs