Hot Warning Signs: Veronica, Erika

Daughter in Distress
Dr. Phil examines hot warning signs that say your child is in crisis.

"I want my little girl back," says Veronica of her 15-year-old daughter, Erika. "She used to tell me everything and give me hugs and kisses, but now I'm lucky if I get a hello from her in the morning."

According to her mom, Erika met a girl in school and that's when she started changing. Veronica found birth control pills and condoms in Erika's room, Erika's grades started dropping, she started buying fishnets and garters, and she started doing drugs.

"Before I started doing drugs I was like one of the biggest losers at school," says Erika, who has admitted to smoking weed and doing crystal meth. "I hated the way I looked. I hated


Veronica took Erika out of the school she was going to and put her in home school. "Everything seemed like it was going on track, then I had a parent come to my door saying [Erika] was passing out Vicodin 750 to kids," Veronica says. "I took a belt to her and got her pretty good."

Her stepfather Jesse is at his wit's end. "I think Erika is on a track of self-destruction. If she keeps doing what she's doing, she's going to end up in the morgue or behind bars," he says. "I believe in tough love. If she does another incident with drugs, I'll call the police myself."

Veronica asks, "Dr. Phil, my daughter Erika is heading for disaster. How did we miss the warning signs?"

Dr. Phil asks Veronica and Jesse, "Do you believe that she is in acute distress at this time?"

"Absolutely," Veronica replies and Jesse agrees.

Dr. Phil points out that they have done some positive things by taking Erika out of the school she was in, and by Jesse staying at home to supervise her more closely.

"I think she is in acute distress. I do think she's doing drugs," Dr. Phil tells them. "She needs help with drug intervention. At this point you're not dealing just with her, you're dealing with the drugs."

Dr. Phil tells Veronica she needs to intervene with the drug behavior and help Erika find a passion. "She's got to find something she's good at. Something she's excited about in her life," he says.

Veronica says that Erika used to be involved in activities, but now all she wants to do is stay in her room and listen to the radio.

"You've got to get her off the drugs and then you've got find that

passion. Whatever it takes, however long it takes to do it," Dr. Phil explains. "She needs to be in a treatment center. If she was my daughter, she would be in a treatment center before the sun set today." He offers to help find a place for Erika.

A tearful Veronica replies, "I don't want her to think that I am giving up on her."

"You're not sending her away, you're sending her to help," Dr. Phil reassures Veronica. She needs to be detoxified and rehabilitated by professionals. "It is not a failing, it is the courage to step up and do it. And you should not feel guilty about it, you should feel peace about the decision," Dr. Phil explains.


Veronica agrees.