Adderall Abuse Alters Brain, Claims a Young Life


"It ended up going too long and at some point a few beers moved to too many beers, and the depression from the alcohol came on to that psyche," said his father. "Unfortunately that night his best friends weren't around to watch him."

Kyle ended up by himself, refusing a ride home and stepping onto nearby railroad tracks, just a few miles from the spot where several other local youths had taken their lives. Just minutes before taking his life, Kyle text-messaged his siblings, parents and a few close friends, "I love you."

Only after his suicide, did the therapist tell the Craigs that she had "multiple concerns" about Kyle and intended to include the Craigs in a third session, which never took place.

"It was probably the early stage of paranoia when he was alone wondering, 'What's happening to me?'" speculated his father. "It comes in a wave -- a tsunami that you can't see over. A darkness. And if you don't have real adult skills when it comes, you probably don't make it over it."

After his death, the Craigs wondered why neither the doctor nor Kyle's counselors had shared their concerns about his deteriorating mental health.

"The medical and legal system works totally against the parent," said Chip Craig. "No parent is able to get into this loop until an official intervention has been determined and that can come too late."

Dr. Igor Galynker, a psychiatrist and director of the Family Center for Bipolar Disorder at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, agrees that families should be more involved in the health care of adult children.

"Family and parents cannot be kept in the dark," said Galynker, author of "Talking to Families about Mental Illness."

He is critical of the "explosion" of ADHD diagnoses and "profit-driven" pharmaceutical companies that "do everything possible to twist doctors' arms into treating diagnoses they don't need."

As mental health issues increasingly plague college students, Galynker said colleges need to do a better job of communicating with parents.

"When you are a teenager, your parents supervise you. When you work, if you start behaving erratically, your co-workers will take care of you. Nobody tolerates it in the workplace," he said. "But in college, you have young adults without any supervision."

Chip and Andrea Craig say that their heartbreak is unfathomable, but they hope Kyle's story can make a difference in another young adult's life.

As hundreds of friends from Kyle's hometown, prep school and college poured in to his funeral service, many told the Craigs that Kyle's leadership and strength had helped them.

One, who had attempted suicide twice, told them, "He is the reason I am alive. He pulled me forward because he made me go get help."

Ultimately, help didn't come soon enough for Kyle.

"There is a void, emptiness," said Chip Craig. "He was such a joy for 22 years. Really, it's just a blink -- that beautiful life and all the promise he had."

Andrea Craig advises all parents to get help for their children immediately at the slightest sign of depression, even when its interspersed with normal behavior. And talk openly with children about Adderall and its dangers.

"We feel the loss every minute of every day," she said. "As parents, we have concern for his brother and sister, and I think that helps us to be stronger than we really want to be."

"But we have to readjust," she said. "We were a family of five and now we are a family of four."

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