Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

Search This Site

Son Drinks Hand Sanitizer

"Mark, Your online support has been a great help to me. I have just begun the program with my 13 year old son. Unfortunately, he is in ACJC a juvenile center in Fort Wayne. He drank hand sanitizer before school and had a blood alcohol level of 1.1. He has a history of sneaking alcohol and many behavior issues for his entire school career. Counselors and therapists, doctors all disagree or do not know how to help. I am thinking he may need residential treatment, but as a single mom this is not feasible financial. I am not sure what the court is going to recommend at this point. My question is : do you know of a treatment program that might fit his profile? I have spent many hours searching and can't find what might fit him. Most alcohol programs are for adults or older teens. I also know that the there are many underlying issues, but don't know what to tackle first.....depression, anger, social behavior, alcohol. They are all tied together. Thank you for any input!"

I can tell you that the 'alcohol-abuse problem' will have to be addressed first. It would be easier - and a lot less painful in the long run - to go beat your head against a brick wall than tackle multiple problems before getting the alcohol issue resolved.

If you haven't done so already, get him in to see a psychiatrist for a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation. I'm guessing that his father abused drugs and/or alcohol as well. If so, there are special 'addiction-risks' for your son (as evidenced by the bizarre sanitizer episode).

Once he gets a few months of 'clean-and-sober' time under his belt, your son can then begin to work on the other issues. And yes, he may very well need 'in-patient' treatment for awhile, but most facilities will work with you on a sliding scale (i.e., payment commensurate with your income).

Mark Hutten, M.A.

==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

We have a challenging teen daughter...


We have a challenging teen daughter (17) who has been in plenty of trouble. I will spare you the laundry list. One of the issues we have currently been dealing with is alcohol consumption. My husband and I have always had a no tolerance rule on alcohol consumption for anyone under age. After all, it is the law. Our daughter tells us that most of the kids in her class drink socially at parties. She tells us that she's going to drink since it's the culture of kids her age. She also wants to be honest with us by telling us which nights she might be drinking and have us transport her and be accepting of this behavior. There are a few parents at our school who have adopted this parenting style which makes my job a little more challenging.

My gut tells me not to compromise our no tolerance rule. Can there be a middle ground/gray area on this issue or does it need to be black and white?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated Mark.


Hi D.,

If you lower your standards (via compromise), you will send a very clear message to your daughter that: (a) if you complain long enough you eventually get your way, (b) if everyone is doing it then it must be the thing to do, and (c) it’s o.k. to break the law depending on the situation. Always follow your gut.

Check out the section in the eBook [online version] entitled “Emails From Exasperated Parents” -- I address alcohol abuse there.

Don’t be fooled: There’s more going on at the party than drinking a couple harmless beers. How would I know? I was a teenager once too, you know.


Online Parent Support


I have a 16 year old that was diagnosed in K-5 she had ODD/ADHD. And nothing worked for her. Then 2 years ago I found out she has ODD/Bipolar instead of ADHD/ODD. The medicine has not worked for her. Her Dr. told me yesterday there is no medicine for ODD. But he has put her on a lot and nothing so far has helped her. She does not want to be told no you can not do that and she gets real mad at me and demands why. I don't know what else to do to help her. We have to drive to Amarillo for her Dr. She does not want to away from me. Do you know if there is medicine for her Bipolar/ODD that would help her. She is in 11th grade. She wants to go to collage and go into medical field. I could use all the info I can get. Thank you.


Re: Meds for Bipolar—

The medication used most often over the years to combat a manic "high" is lithium. It is unusual to find mania without a subsequent or preceding period of depression. Lithium evens out mood swings in both directions, so that it is used not just for acute manic attacks or flare-ups of the illness, but also as an ongoing treatment of bipolar disorder.

Lithium will diminish severe manic symptoms in about 5 to 14 days, but it may be anywhere from days to several months until the condition is fully controlled. Antipsychotic medications are sometimes used in the first several days of treatment to control manic symptoms until the lithium begins to take effect. Likewise, antidepressants may be needed in addition to lithium during the depressive phase of bipolar disorder.

Not all patients with symptoms of mania benefit from lithium. Some have been found to respond to another type of medication, the anticonvulsant medications that are usually used to treat epilepsy. Carbamazepine (Tegretol) is the anticonvulsant that has been most widely used. Individuals with bipolar disorder who cycle rapidly, (changing from mania to depression and back again over the course of hours or days, rather than months) seem to respond particularly well to carbamazepine.

In 1995, the anticonvulsant divalproex sodium (Depakote) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for manic-depressive illness. Clinical trials have shown it to have an effectiveness in controlling manic symptoms equivalent to that of lithium; it is effective in both rapid-cycling and non-rapid-cycling bipolar.

Re: Meds for ODD—

Medication for ODD is not recommended. Rather, Parent Education Training (PET) is the preferred method for dealing with this disorder. And you will get that education in my eBook: My Out-of-Control Teen.

Join Our Facebook Support Group

Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Online Parenting Coach - Syndicated Content