My AH is in the VA hospital again. Without a doubt he has mental illness (non combat PTSD, drug impacted delusions/ SZ/ SOMETHING, etc) but he’s there bcz the psych ward is the gateway to rehab. He’s been turned down for rehab 3 times because he is too stable. Never gets meds while there, told delusional once or twice. Complete lack of insight.
Tonight is 72 hours since admission so I went to see him. I imagine it’s probably 75-80 hours since he last used. And when I say he’s a heavy user… he’s a heavy user. His DOC was opiates (yay VA) and we had to go outside the VA to get suboxone. He was successful in stopping using opiates but switched to cocaine… which has been so much worse for him. My point is, I know what opiate withdrawal looks like. I have no idea what cocaine withdrawal looks like.
He’s always in a bad mood there. And negative, and hates it. PTSD always triggered. Sometimes delusuons even increase. But tonight was different. He actually worried me. He said he is running out of options. It wasn’t in a sad way it was like deep anger and hopelessness. ANGER.
To get in, he told them he was suicidal… which he has told them before.( I think that’s one reason he uses heavily- he’s tried to OD before). But he also said, in this steely cold anger that he will be in a long time because it is different this time because he’s “suicidal” . Maybe sneering is the right word. I dont know if they are treating him differently since he’s been there so much? He even told another patient “oh, you have combat related PTSD and want rehab? You’ll have a place. Its people like me they dont help.” Which was awkward…
If they let him out without rehab or ptsd treatment, I honestly think the next binge is his last. The only possible mental health treatment he will get is around ptsd. I’m pretty confident if he gets that far in treatment he’ll get help for the SZ stuff. He did literally just call me and tell me he started amyltriptaline today “to help him sleep”. I haven’t even had time to Google it and I’m sure I spelled it wrong. I’m actually so glad… this is the first time he’s allowed any medication at all… but he also was resistant to allowing them to talk to me about his treatment.
For the addict side of my husband, I have not been calling social workers or trying to control things. For the mentally ill side, though, I think I really need to talk to his social worker. The VA is a very large organization that does very insane things. For instance, he was furious that he HAD and LOST a place in a rehab. A nonprofit, religious rehab. He was angry that it was religious and not the VA (his PTSD is due to abuse mixed with fundamentalist religion) but equally angry they used a very old phone number he no longer has to try to offer it to him… which I don’t get because they have been calling my number and I deliver all messages. I did confirm they used a 5 year old number. He seemed to be both angry that they gave the spot away and angry it is religious based.
I don’t think you can have someone you care about in the VA system without advocating like crazy. For ALL his health issues I have had to advocate. Control issue much? Absolutely. Necessary bcz the VA is ineffective and toxic? Yes. Last time he begged and begged to get in to rehab and they turned him down… he is very proud. He won’t beg again.
I don’t know what I am asking you all. First, I’ve never seen him act like this. Have any of your loved ones acted this way, especially the ones with dual diagnosis? It’s like he’s hopeless and furious at the same time. I hope since he has never acted like this and never got clean, maybe this is different.
How do I not control but advocate? The only thing I know to do is have a conversation with his treatment team and give them my perspective and then let what happens happen. Any other ideas?