Family Matters: An Intervention: The Home Situation

Family Matters: An Intervention: The Home Situation
Dr. Phil prepares a family for a life-saving intervention with a drug-addicted 21-year-old.

Doug and Debbie are successful, have a beautiful home, and three children they love. They never thought one of their kids would wind up addicted to drugs. Their oldest son, Brandon (upper right), started exhibiting signs of drug use five years ago. Since then, he's flunked out of college, been arrested four times for drug possession, and is currently on probation. A doctor once told Doug that the amount of drugs Brandon has taken on a daily basis could kill the average person.


"I think people see us from the outside as having it all, and many times I'll think, 'If they only knew,'" says Debbie.


The entire family walks on eggshells most of the time because of Brandon's mood swings, whether he is medicated or not. He has demonstrated violent behavior and when he rages, he often punches holes in the walls and kicks in doors.

 

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Dr. Phil set up cameras in the family's household to see what an average day was like. They caught a good example of Brandon spinning out of control.


Talking about his relationship with his sister, Brandon screams at his mother, "She yelled at me, 'Well you're a drug addict!' She's such a bitch! I'm not proud of that, Mom. I can't f***ing help it. It's not my fault!"


In another incident, he was seen yelling at Debbie saying, "And all you see is a f***ing worthless drug addict who needs help!"


"Those are your words, not my words," replied Debbie.

 

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"I was ready to kick him out of the house years ago," says Doug, "but Debbie and I didn't see eye to eye." Because they disagree, Doug distances himself from any situation that involves Brandon. "I don't

sleep at night," he says. "I'll often look at pictures of him as a little boy. I know in his mind, he thinks I don't love him. But I do. I just don't know how it happened. Today he's a shell of what he used to be."


Every morning, when Debbie goes up to Brandon's room to wake him, she's afraid she's going to find him dead. "Many times when I'm worrying about him, I've planned his funeral," says Debbie. "I've picked his pallbearers because I'm so sure it's just a matter of time."


Doug and Debbie are also concerned about the impact Brandon's drug abuse and behavior has on their other two children, Christina and Bobby. "I can only hope that Bobby and Christina don't go down the same path," says Doug.

 

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Christina, 17, says Brandon hasn't been the same since he started using drugs and alcohol, and hardly seems like her brother anymore. "I think Brandon is in a lot of pain right now," she says.


Christina says they're not as close as they used to be, mainly because of his temper. She explains that Brandon once went into a rage at a restaurant and was verbally abusive toward her. His violent behavior continued at home where he destroyed something belonging to Christina. "It was very... ugly," she recalls.


Christina finds Brandon's behavior embarrassing. "Everyone at school knows that my brother does drugs," she says. "They just put two and two together and think, 'Well, maybe she does drugs.'"


"The way he's going right now, I don't see a future for him. He needs help," she says.

 

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Bobby, 15, wishes for the days that Brandon would spend time with him. "When we were younger, me and Brandon used to fish a lot. We used to hang out a lot," he says. But now when Bobby gets home from school, Brandon is just waking up, and Bobby just tries to stay out of his way.


Bobby also feels cheated because all the attention goes to Brandon and it makes him feel left out. "I worry about people thinking that I'll do drugs just because my brother does," he says. He's also scared that Brandon will get into a car crash from driving under the influence of drugs.

 

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