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Monday, March 10, 2014
I have a 3 year old daughter and her biological father went to rehab a couple years ago. A source told me that while he was there he was diagnosed with drug induced schitzophrenia I was wondering if he does have it and he does not treat it is he capable of taking care of his daughter? He forgets things a lot and has huge mood swings that don`t make sense sometimes.
Thank you for your question. As you can imagine, neither the question nor the answer is an easy one. Some street drugs can cause people to have ongoing thought disorders, known as substance-induced psychotic disorders. Other patients do not use street drugs or alcohol and have thought disorders, such as schizophrenia.
A primary diagnosis of schizophrenia requires the patient to be free of street drugs. Obviously, I do not have enough information or did not conduct an evaluation on your daughter's father to state what specific diagnosis applies to him. The response to medications and overall treatment can be positive, but everyone's course is different.
Any primary diagnosis in psychiatry does not automatically disqualify someone's role as a parent. It is more important to look at the parent's overall course and central issues of safety at home and others, certainly including children.
Ultimately, this is a legal decision, but personal information and clinical information may play a role. I recommend talking to attorney. If the situation is dangerous in the moment, call the police.
Ram Chandran Kalyanam, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University