It was a parent’s worst nightmare: my seventeen year-old son Alex has a psychotic break in the high school parking lot. He’s hospitalized at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute for a week where he receives a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. We’re told Alex should expect a life of difficult symptom management, repeated hospitalizations and thwarted dreams. There is no cure; hope for more is a form of denial.
“At the first signs of a child’s behavioral disturbance, parents and clinicians are faced with a difficult, sometimes terrible choice. Must we start treatment as soon as possible, and risk doing harm? Or is “wait and see” the wiser option? In her fascinating and important book, Victoria writes compellingly about the “new, new parenting.” One of the most loving things parents can do is to find out about our children’s psychiatric family history. As Victoria found, the quest takes bravery. Research is proving that for most psychiatric conditions, having a family history makes all the difference between treat now and wait and see.
As readers—and clinicians—expecting the worst in Victoria’s story, we are then in for a wonderful surprise. Over the course of fourteen riveting chapters she masterfully interweaves self-revelation, family history and cutting-edge science to share a story of hope, and ultimately, great joy as she and her sons find treatment and meaningful recovery. The factual information she shares about the disorders that trouble her family and the discoveries she makes about causes and new strategies for prevention are worth their weight in gold for readers, especially for parents.”
To read some of my advice for parents, based on the decade of research I did to find treatment for my sons and I, read the articles on this website, including: Teens and Pot and Early Signs of Trouble.