Return to Transcripts main page
The Way to Support a Person with Alzheimer`s; How to Handle an Addiction?; Casey Anthony Reports to Probation in Florida; Mother Charged With Deliberately Dropping Baby off Roof
Aired August 25, 2011 - 21:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
A mother is charged with murder, accused of deliberately dropping her baby off a roof. Could there be a medical reason for her behavior?
Then, a famous basketball coach reveals a devastating diagnosis. What we all can learn from the courageous Pat Summitt.
Plus, the mom of an Oscar winner`s son reaches out for my help.
Let`s go figure this out.
We`ve got developments in a big story tonight. Take a look at this.
NATISHA LANCE, PRODUCER, "NANCY GRACE": Casey Anthony reported to probation in the state of Florida just last night. The Department of Corrections is going to keep her location a secret for her safety. And not only her safety, but also the safety of her probation officer. Casey Anthony`s name won`t even be entered into the database for the Department of Corrections as to where she is located. Now, there have been death threats against her, and this is a precaution they want to take because of that.
There`s several different conditions to Casey Anthony`s probation. One of those conditions is that she has to be gainfully employed.
Now, what we did hear from Jose Baez, who gave an interview to Fox News, is that Casey Anthony wants to finish up her schooling. Now, she is a high school dropout, so her schooling is something that she wants to now focus on. And that will be of importance to her.
However, where would she go to school? So we do believe that she would probably take some online courses in order to finish up her schooling.
Now, the condition here is that if she is pursuing her education, then she won`t have to be gainfully employed, as in set in her conditions. So we should expect to see her getting a degree at some point.
Now, this probation is supposed to last for about a year. She also has to pay $20 a month to her probation officer. So that will be about $250 for the whole year. Her probation officer also will be able to check in with her at random points in time.
Now, just to take you back, this whole probation issue started back in January of 2010. Now, this is when she was convicted of those charges of check fraud against her friend Amy Huizenga, stealing checks from her.
At that time, when Judge Dan Strickland sentenced her for those charges, he said that she would serve out her probation once she was released from jail. But his verbal order did not match up with the written order, and Casey Anthony was serving out her probation while she was behind bars.
When she was released, this became an issue, and it went back to Judge Perry, who then said that she will have to serve this probation even though it was thought that she was serving it behind bars. The defense did not agree with that. Jose Baez filed an appeal in order to have this overturned to a higher court. That court denied that appeal, and now Casey Anthony will be serving out that one year probation -- Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Thank you for that report. Appreciate it.
Orange County, California, a community in shock, a father in mourning, and a mother in jail, charged with killing her 7-month-old baby. Police say Sonia Hermosillo dropped her son off a hospital parking deck.
Watch this, and then we`ll talk.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The call came in just before 6:30 last night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 3-month-old baby is thrown from this parking structure. Police don`t know who did it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The one witness that was walking by did say that he was just -- h e was falling. It was the fourth level. The husband had reported his wife, the suspect, not knowing what had happened, and the 7- month-old son missing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said, "Hey daddy, my mommy`s not here, and by brother, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sonia Hermosillo remains behind bars after what she allegedly told police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our investigators are sure that we have the right suspect in this case. We do think that it was done on purpose.
PINSKY: Little Noe clung to life for nearly two days, but died on Wednesday.
Now, we`ve seen this before. Andrea Yates drowned her five children in the family bathtub. Yates was stricken by postpartum depression, as was the mother in this story.
Joining me, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, and KTLA TV`s David Begnaud, as well as Andrea Yates` ex-husband, Rusty Yates.
Rusty, of course you have an intimate understanding of this family`s ordeal and loss. The story must bring back a lot of painful memories for you.
With your wife Andrea, were there any warning signs? Was there anything that could have been done to prevent this sort of thing?
RUSTY YATES, EX-HUSBAND OF ANDREA YATES: Well, you know, there`s a difference in -- from the family`s perspective and the doctor`s perspective. You know, I think what I read on this case, it sounded like she`d been hospitalized a couple months ago, actually prohibited from being left alone with her small child.
You know, the doctor may have known even that she was psychotic, but didn`t relay that to the family and just said, hey, don`t let her stay alone with a small child. But the problem with that is that a family can`t really protect itself from a psychotic person. You know, she could wake up in the middle of the night and kill the whole family, so --
PINSKY: And Rusty, I want to make that distinction that you point out there. It`s a very good one, which there is something called postpartum depression, which I think a lot of people are aware of, which can be different from the baby blues. It`s a real depressive episode where people have bona fide major depressive symptoms, sometimes with psychotic features.
And by psychosis you mean disconnected from reality, disturbance of thought, believing certain things are true that aren`t, being paranoid. Sometimes even being confused and delusional.
In the case of a postpartum psychosis, which is different than a postpartum depression, the thinking and the thought processes and the hallucinations can be wild and bizarre. People aren`t as aware of the postpartum psychosis as they are of the postpartum depression.
David, I want to go to you. Police described the mother as "unemotional" when she was picked up. That was similar to another recent case where a Louisiana man killed his special needs son. And he was described as sort of unemotional.
What are you hearing about the mother`s emotional struggle leading up to this tragedy?
DAVID BEGNAUD, REPORTER, KTLA: Well, it`s interesting. The family was telling us that right before, 48 hours before this incident happened, they actually weren`t allowing her to be alone with the child. The family would see to it during the day that she couldn`t be alone with the baby, or even her other children.
But on this particular day, the father in the living room, the kids in the playroom, she was allowed to be around the family. And then, suddenly, the husband says he`s on the computer, the kids coming running and they go, "Where`s mom? Where`s the baby."
And he says, "Well, she`s there." And the kids go, "No, they`re gone." He goes outside, the car is missing. He calls police, and hours later the news breaks.
PINSKY: OK. Got it.
And then finally back to Rusty, one of the things that happens when women have these depressions or these psychotic episodes, they actually believe they`re doing something right or good for their children.
Rusty, was your wife in that kind of condition where she believed she was doing something that was helpful to the children?
YATES: Yes, absolutely. And it`s something that`s really hard for people to understand. It`s like, not their entire reality changes, but just part of it.
So, they wonder how a person can drive down the street or do some routine task. That part of their reality may not have changed. The walls may all seem the same, but there`s spiders on it that aren`t really there. You know?
So, it`s really horrible, because they really, truly believe things to be true that aren`t. And they act upon those false beliefs. So, to them, it`s just a little shift in reality. The rest of us don`t see it. They`re living kind of in a half dream state, half awake state.
PINSKY: That`s a great way to describe it, Rusty.
Now, Tony, I want to go to you. There were early reports from family members that the mother mentioned wanting to harm herself and the baby. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her husband told her, "No, you`re crazy. He`s going to be OK." "No, he`s going to be all the time -- he`s going to a baby, and I don`t want him. Just give me a chance. You`re going to see I`m going to be all right with the baby, the baby is OK."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Now, hearing that, Tony, some might see this as a calculated sort of murder and dismiss the idea of a postpartum depression or mental illness. Can you tell us anything about whether you`re going to look at it as a misadventure of a medical problem, or whether this is really a murder?
TONY RACKAUCKAS, ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, let me start out by saying that it`s so very difficult for us to have any idea what motivates a mother to do this to her 7-month-old baby. We do know that she made statements before -- there was evidence that she did not want this baby. And this was the way she chose to get rid of the baby, to put him on a ledge and push him over to his death.
So we`re going to proceed as a murder case. And I`m quite certain that we`ll hear a good deal of psychiatric opinion and testimony as this proceeds. But I think we`re called on to proceed with this as a murder case.
PINSKY: All right. Thank you.
Now, next, Hermosillo was seeking treatment for apparently postpartum depression. Tragedy struck anyway. We have to do more to stop this.
And we`re going to keep this conversation, so please stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SGT. DAN ADAMS, ORANGE COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: So I don`t know the answer to why, which is really what everybody wants right now. Unfortunately, I don`t have that answer. One thing that I did get from the investigators last night was that we`re 100 percent sure that we do have the right suspect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: A devastating condition with tragic consequences. Possibly a contributing factor in the death of a 7-month-old this week, a 7-month-old boy.
Thirty-one-year old Sonia Hermosillo was hospitalized in June for postpartum depression. She was taking medication. She actually went to her first therapy session Monday morning, the same day police say she killed her son.
Back with me are Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas; KTLA reporter David Begnaud; and Rusty Yates, whose ex-wife Andrea killed their five children in 2001.
Now, Rusty, it`s clear that this woman was seeking help, but it clearly also wasn`t enough. Given Andrea`s, your wife`s diagnosis of postpartum depression, what more do we need to do? When I say "we," I mean we as physicians, we as family members, we as community members.
What are you thoughts on that?
YATES: Well, I think one problem we had was confidentiality. So her first doctor at least knew that Andrea was psychotic, but didn`t relay that to the family. And I think given that the father here used the word "postpartum depression" instead of psychosis, either they missed the diagnosis or they didn`t relay it to him. And that would be helpful also.
Not sending a psychotic person home and expect that person to be protected and the family to be protected from them I think is a -- that would be a big help. And furthermore, I think with respect to the justice system`s response, it`s an incredible burden. I mean, if they could --
PINSKY: Thank you, Rusty. I want to throw that gauntlet down at the feet of the Orange County district attorney, Tony Rackauckas.
He raises a very important point here, does he not?
RACKAUCKAS: Sure. I think it`s an important point, but we do need to prosecute this case, I`m afraid. And, I mean, the process starts with the charges. And of course the defense and others will present a great deal of information concerning whatever her defenses might be.
PINSKY: Tony, I`m going to interrupt you. I`m going to interrupt you.
I really want to challenge you on this, because it bothers me greatly that we have a shortcoming in our health care system which is we`re only allowed to hold people for 72 hours, even when they`re gravely impaired like this. Maybe you can get them for 14 days, but again, that`s very difficult to get.
This person went home in an impaired state. She says, my baby is possessed by the devil and I need to get the devil out of it, whatever it might be. And now we`re going to encumber the legal system with it and add to the misery of this family.
How is that OK?
RACKAUCKAS: Well, she intentionally killed this baby. And --
PINSKY: In a psychotic state though. Wait a minute, Tony. In a psychotic state because of a shortfall of the mental health system.
And who knows what the insurance issues were here and why she was pushed out early. I mean, she is clearly psychotic. She believes the child was something outside of reality, and she was engaged in responding to internal stimuli that caused disturbing behavior.
Why do we have to encumber the legal system with that? I just don`t understand.
RACKAUCKAS: Right. Well, I think if we don`t, then if we just don`t pursue the matter because we believe that she has these mental problems that you`re describing, then what? How do we ensure that this doesn`t happen again? I think we`re in a situation where we really have got to bring charges so that we guarantee as much as we can that this doesn`t happen to some subsequent child.
PINSKY: But Tony -- District Attorney Rackauckas, excuse me. You`re making my point exactly, which is the indictment should be of the health care system and our ability to deliver mental health care in a contained way to people that really need it.
That`s where -- I challenge you to take action there, because that`s where the shortfall was. If she could have been held until her psychosis cleared -- which, of course that`s violating her rights. We can`t possibly do that. But isn`t that really what`s at issue here?
I don`t know. Listen, I don`t want to keep going around and around about this. You see what my opinion is pretty clearly.
RACKAUCKAS: That might be a very good idea, but I don`t have the ability or the jurisdiction to indict the health care system. I think we do have certainly a political question there. And you might want to rethink that Lanterman-Petris-Short Act that only keeps these people in custody for a very short time, as you said earlier.
PINSKY: There you go.
David, I`m going to you now, your coverage of the story.
We`ve learned -- what have you learned about the mother`s attempt to get help and what may have gone wrong there? That`s what I was -- I was beating up on the district attorney about. I apologize. I feel guilty now, but it`s something I`m very passionate about it, because I have to deal with that out there in the real world. And I can`t help people and horrible things happen as a result.
What may have gone wrong from your standpoint?
BEGNAUD: Look, Dr. Drew, the father says the mother was open to help. But interestingly, I asked the prosecutor today, one of Tony`s deputy prosecutors who will prosecute this case, Scott Simmons (ph), did anyone know? Did a counselor, did a therapist, did someone here this woman say, "I want to hurt this child"?
And they have a duty to report. Did anybody not report this? Because if they would have reported it, could the child have been removed? Could this death have been prevented?
And today the prosecutor said, "We are going to take a look into that." But he also added this -- he believes there is an element of premeditation for this reason. After the baby fell -- and the witness thought it was a baby doll falling from the garage and realized it was a child -- after the child hit the ground, the mother is seen on surveillance video walking into the hospital to validate her parking ticket. And that, says the prosecutor, tells him she thought this out.
PINSKY: Rusty, I`m going to go back out to you.
For you and I, that have dealt with postpartum psychoses and depression, we know that these women are in an altered reality. They often are in sort of a fugue state, like you said, where they behave appropriately in certain areas like getting their parking ticket validated, but in another area they believe they`re Napoleon or they believe their baby is possessed or on fire or whatever.
How do we help people understand that that`s what we`re dealing with here? It`s very frustrating. And I know you`re very much of an advocate on this issue. How do we help people understand it?
YATES: Well, I think there`s one part of it, just being able to understand the concept. It`s a little abstract to think you have elements of, like, a nightmarish dream overlaid on reality, interacting with a distorted reality. I mean, that`s one level.
But I -- you know, I want to come back a little bit to the whole idea of deterrence. What troubles me is how prosecuting a psychotic woman could possibly deter another psychotic woman from harming their child? I don`t get that connection at all.
PINSKY: But, Rusty, you must get the connection I was saying, that if we could just hold people until their psychosis is cleared -- because that`s against their rights, we can`t do that -- that would be a good way to deter horrible behaviors that respond to psychotic symptoms. Yes?
YATES: Well, if they consent, yes.
RACKAUCKAS: Sir, in the first instance, however, if I can respond to that, I`d like to.
PINSKY: Tony, please. Go ahead.
RACKAUCKAS: I think it`s very important for us when we`re talking about deterrence to understand that the first thing we need to do is to try to ensure that this particular lady doesn`t kill another child that she might have at some later time. And that deterrence I think is very important. Now, whether or not it deters other people similarly situated, of course that can be argued.
PINSKY: And Rusty, let me challenge you on this issue, because it is kind of an interesting question, because a lot of people with mental health issues become murderers, and they should be in prison. But this, you`re saying, is not one of those issues.
YATES: Well, or detained. I mean, a person could be detained in a state mental hospital and get treatment, versus being in a prison and not get very good treatment. And here, you know, if the state finds with a reasonable assessment that this woman was psychotic, then put her in a hospital. Put her in a state hospital until she`s well, and then that deters her from harming other people.
PINSKY: But I think what the district attorney is saying -- and I`m going to give you the last word, Mr. District Attorney -- he`s saying that it`s incumbent upon him to make sure this isn`t somebody who, A, is a criminal, or somebody with a severe characterological disturbance who could do this again, and it`s not just a psychosis.
Am I paraphrasing your position reasonably?
YATES: I agree with that.
RACKAUCKAS: Yes, I think you are. And the evidence I think that we have makes it very clear that she did intend to kill this baby. And so we really have a duty to act.
PINSKY: OK. All right.
Next -- thank you to my panel, by the way. Gentlemen, very, very interesting.
Next, your reaction to the so-called "Hot Sauce Mom" verdict.
And later, the son of an A-list movie star is in trouble. His mom is here reaching out for help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSICA BEAGLEY, "HOT SAUCE MOM": Why did you lie to me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not want to get in trouble.
BEAGLEY: You didn`t want to get in trouble? Does it work to lie to me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
BEAGLEY: What happens when you lie to me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I get hot sauce.
BEAGLEY: You get hot sauce.
What else happens when you lie to me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I get a cold shower.
BEAGLEY: Do you get in more trouble for lying to me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BEAGLEY: Why did you pull a blue card?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because it was --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That is just so painful, to watch that video. A mom wanted to get on a TV show, but a video that she thought would end with her as a guest turned into a court trial and a world of trouble for this Alaska mother.
That was the clip from the "Dr. Phil Show." Jurors saw it. They convicted Jessica Beagley of misdemeanor child abuse.
Now, we`ve received a ton of feedback on the verdict, and many of you also have questions.
So let`s get started with Marcie in Indiana.
Marcie, go ahead.
MARCIE, INDIANA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Marcie.
MARCIE: I just want to make a comment.
MARCIE: This woman does need to do some time to assess the irreparable damage she`s done to her child`s mental health. He`ll probably have to go through years of therapy, but he`ll never be his true little boy self a again. I think that giving your child a taste of soap on the tongue when they use profane language is one thing, but what this woman did is out and out abuse.
PINSKY: Marcie, I mean, I agree with you. And the fact is, we call abuse the gift that keeps on giving.
Once that is imprinted in the brain, it changes the person, and they go out and do not so great things in the world as well. But you heard this very complicated situation. This child may have had some attachment issues having been in an orphanage in Russia. So it`s a complicated situation. But I happen to actually agree with you.
Amber in Florida, please go ahead.
AMBER, FLORIDA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Amber.
AMBER: I just wanted to say that I completely agree with the court that she is guilty. Coming from a broken home myself, I feel as though children don`t end up in the same situations as normal children, per se, would. And I turned out OK, but most children don`t. They either, you know, act out in school or become criminals later on in life.
PINSKY: Point well taken, my dear. That is the source of many of the behavioral problems we end up dealing with on the disciplinary fronts.
Got a Facebook question from Helen. "I`m having a hard time getting out of a an abusive relationship. I think it may be lingering from childhood abuse that I had suffered. Is that possible?"
And that Facebook question is actually something very important, because I want you guys to know this, that even if someone doesn`t have significant emotional consequences of abuse, the strange thing about the human is that experiences that are terrorizing in childhood become a source of attraction in young adulthood. So the kind of person that would perpetuate abuse becomes appealing and attractive to someone who has been a victim of abuse.
And so the person who has been abused acts out that abuse again and again in their relationships and their romantic lives. So, if you don`t want your children to get involved in abusive relationships, think about the modeling of the relationship that you have with them. If you abuse them, even moderate abuse, that becomes the fittedness with which they seek their relationships in their young adult life.
The gift that keeps on giving, abuse. Really? You want that for you kids?
Next, a Hall of Fame basketball coach makes a stunning announcement.
And later on, the mother of an Oscar winner`s son and her desperate plea for help.
Stay tuned for both.
DOCTOR DREW PINSKY, HOST: Alzheimer`s and dementia, they destroy lives with slow and painful demoralization. This week, a sports icon announced her frightening diagnosis. But Pat Summit has been bringing her A-game for over three decades and does not plan to stop now.
And later, a broken relationship, a battle with addiction and a son repeatedly hospitalized. All under the glare of the limelight. Nic Cage`s former girlfriend speaks out about their son`s dire straits.
And tonight, a brave admission from a haul of fame coach. This week, the University of Tennessee women`s basketball coach Pat Summit reveals, she has early onset dementia of Alzheimer`s type. Coach Summit was diagnosed early this year after acknowledging she had memory problems. She`s just 59 years old. She`s had her job for 37 years and plans to stick around for a 38th. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAT SUMMIT, HEAD COACH, TENNESSEE LADY VOLUNTEERS: Earlier this year the doctors at the Mayo clinic diagnosed me with an early onset dementia, Alzheimer`s type, at the age of 59. I plan to continue to be your coach.
For that reason, I will be relying on my outstanding coaching staff like never before. I appreciate the complete support of UT chance with Doctor Jimmy Cheek, and UT athletics director John Cronin to continue coach k at the University of Tennessee as long as the good Lord is willing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Here to talk with me about Coach Summit`s diagnosis is Doctor Gary Small. He`s director of UCLA`s Longevity Center and author of the forthcoming book "the Alzheimer`s prevention program." Also with me via Skype is Lisa who cared for her grandmother who is stricken with Alzheimer`s. She then produced a documentary about it called "Fourteen days with Alzheimer. And on the phone, we have USA TODAY sports columnist, Christine Brennan.
Christine, first you, you covered Coach Summit`s career for quite a while. Were you surprised at this news?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, SPORTS COLUMNIST, USA TODAY (via telephone): I certainly was, Doctor Drew. I think we all were. The sports world was shocked and rocked by this news. Because she`s just so strong and so tough and is that face and that bark on the sidelines. And one of the toughest, strongest people in sports, not just women. And now to hear the words Alzheimer, early Alzheimer`s, dementia associated with the great Pat Summit, I think that`s jarring for everyone in the sports world.
PINSKY: Are people generally supportive of her symptoms - excuse me - of her decision to stay in the field and continue coaching and teaching? And by the way, she looked pretty good in that tape, didn`t she?
BRENNAN: Yes. She sure did. Absolutely they are. The support has been, well as far as I know is unanimous, I have not heard anyone say she shouldn`t. First, probably because we don`t know. And there`s so much we don`t yet know.
I think it will be interesting to watch how it al plays out. Basketball season of course, starts in November. There`ll be practices in October. This is a professional organization. This is one of the great programs as you all know in the country. And she`s got great assistant coaches who know exactly what she wants to do. She`s very fortunate in that way.
Pat Summit can rely on these coaches who basically are head coaches in their own right. And so, she`s having trouble one day, they will now understand what`s going on. Last year they didn`t know. I think they`re actually going to play better as a team and have a better organizational flow and structure because now everyone knows what the head coach is dealing with.
PINSKY: All right, I want to talk to everyone about dementia, thank you Christine by the way, and the symptoms people would understand what it is we`re talking about here.
So, the primary symptoms are of course, memory loss, it can be associated with difficulty communicating, sometimes difficulty with coordinating and motor functioning, often times personality changes or inability to reason, behavior problems, paranoia, hallucinations, striking out.
Now, Doctor Small, I want to go to you first. We know that Alzheimer`s is a common cause of dementia of people 65 and older. I guess, five million in the U.S. approximately have the condition. Do you think that with the increase in the baby booming generation heading into their older ages we`ll see more dementia?
DOCTOR GARY SMALL, DIRECTOR, UCLA LONGEVITY CENTER: We`ll see an epidemic of dementia because age is the greatest risk factor. And we have about 80 million baby boomers coming to age. This year they`re starting to turn 65. We have five million people today. We anticipate triple that amount by 2015. So, we are going to see a real way of dementia suffers in the very near future.
PINSKY: I suspect what most of my viewers want to know, and I hope I`m speaking for you as, do I have this or don`t I? What`s a normal memory change with ageing versus something we called dementia and what can we do to help prevent it?
SMALL: It`s a challenging question. Because we all know that our memory gets worst as we age. Our brains age and short-term memory is the first thing to go. But with dementia, it means these kinds of memory slips are really interfering with our everyday lives. It`s impairing function.
PINSKY: Word finding and name loss is common.
SMALL: Very common.
PINSKY: And it`s normal.
SMALL: It`s normal.
PINSKY: I`m just checking. What`s your name again?
SMALL: Exactly. You took my one joke, but that`s OK. Yes, we`re finding difficulties, trouble with people`s names and faces. Normal part of ageing. When it really starts interfere with daily functions, that`s when it`s becomes more like dementia.
PINSKY: My understanding also is that working memory shrink is just a Norman part of ageing as well. Do you want to talk to me about what working memory is?
SMALL: Working memory is like short-term memory. It`s a kind of memory we need to hold information in mind. So, you call directory assistance, you`re able to call that number and then it`s gone. That`s working memory.
Now, when working memory goes away, that affects all areas of mental function. Complex reasoning, planning skills. And all these kinds of impairments contribute to what we call dementia.
PINSKY: Now, in 2008, Lisa Cerasoli brought her paternal grandmother who was treated with Alzheimer`s into her home. Liza wrote a memoir entitled as "Nora Jo fades away." She also produced a documentary about her experienced as a caregiver. Take a look at this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She doesn`t know what she`s coloring but the interesting thing is she`s good at staying in the lines. That`s what`s interesting about it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s the middle of the night and no one`s out there. You`re having a bad dream and you need to take your shoes off.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just put the (beep) things on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, gram. You know when people grow up they usually quit coloring?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Do you ever see yourself quitting coloring?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But I got that god (beep) Alzheimer`s.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. It`s a drag for me too gram.
PINSKY: Lisa, why was it important to document for you Nora Jo`s illness?
LISA CERASOLI, AUTHOR, NORA JO FADES AWAY (via Skype): You know, when she was diagnosed and we eventually moved her in, our lives, we thought that it would be OK because we had her up for every weekend for a couple of years. So, we thought it would feel the same. And our lives literally shifted from Michigan to Mars.
So, as a writer, I just started writing about it. Also because as you and Doctor Small were just saying, there`s going to be a rush of this illness into the planet, really because of the baby boomers. And everybody, half the planet is going to be over the age of 65 in the near future. And I just thought there`s going to be a bunch of people care giving and I need to document it.
And you know, the book got a lot of really nice critical acclaim, Doctor Drew. But then I thought it wasn`t reaching the masses. And I thought gosh, a film might reach masses faster. And I just created the documentary within the last year. And it is actually reaching people a lot faster. And it`s a really intimate look and real and raw look at as you can Alzheimer`s really brings out. It sort of releases the inhibitions in people. We had a few bleeps there.
PINSKY: Yes, Lisa. That`s right. People become violent. They become - their personality changes. They become paranoid, they can be very difficult. What I tell caretakers of Alzheimer`s patient is we don`t need a second patient. And if you don`t realize how stressful this is, we are going to end up with another patient on our hands, the caretaker. Do you Doctor Small?
SMALL: I agree completely. And in fact, the risk for depression is very high for caregivers of dementia patients. And we are going to see another problem with this age wave or the ageing of the baby boomers. There are going to be fewer adult children to take care of them.
PINSKY: It`s going to be interesting.
Lisa, last word to you. How do you feel about the Pat Summit story? Any word of encouragement or concern?
CERASOLI: No. I think it`s absolutely amazing. I think she`s outstanding. Her son Tyler is amazing. University of Tennessee. I can`t be more excited they`re supporting her. Because the biggest deal with us for my gram, even though it`s not early onset, so it`s much different situation, was to maintain passion and purpose. That`s what Pat is doing.
So, I`m wildly impressed by that. And I wish her and her family and University of Tennessee and everybody around her all the luck in the world. And I think she`s doing the right thing because holding on to purpose is the best medicine right now. That`s how I feel about it.
PINSKY: Thank you, Lisa. Thank you for producing that documentary. Thank you to Doctor Small. Thank you Christine.
And next, the former girlfriend of Nicolas Cage breaks her silence as their son they have together confronts the dangerous consequences of his drinking and drug abuse. Her son`s public beating, apparently who was caught on tape. Find out why Weston Cage was hospitalized just this week.
PINSKY: Weston Coppola Cage is the son of academy award winning actor Nicolas Cage and his former girlfriend Christina Fulton. Tonight Christina is here. She`s going to break her silence as their son confronts the very real and dangerous consequences of his alcohols and addiction.
Thos consequences seem to make headlines weekly. On June 07, Weston was in a public and brutal violent in the streets of Hollywood. The fight was caught in tape in June. And in July, Weston was arrested for domestic violence. Watch this and we will talk.
CHRISTINA FULTON, MOTHER OF WESTON CAGE: Weston was being punched and was hurt and it was bloody. And he was taken down he said by his trainer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Weston Cage, son of actor Nicolas Cage, punched over a dozen times by his assistant outside a Hollywood restaurant last month.
FULTON: What was disturbing was no one was helping my son. It was, it was plain as day that something was really wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not just that day. Weston was arrested twice for domestic violence concerning his wife Nicki Williams.
FULTON: I knew we had reached beyond the code red, the crisis moment was here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her troubled son has battled alcohol addiction for years and has been in and out of treatment. Christina Fulton asks what now for Weston?
FULTON: I want my son to be in good hands.
PINSKY: So hard to watch that footage. Welcoming Christina Fulton. I`m sorry to have you watch that over and over again. How`s he doing today? I mean, that beating was a few months ago. It was a beating, and people walked by and drove by.
FULTON: Just watching that is so hard for me. Heart breaking. And to, as a mom, watching that footage and realizing that no one helped, no one intervened. And you know, where are we going with this media and where are we going with -
PINSKY: What have we turned into? We pull out a camera as opposed to not helping somebody.
FULTON: Nine people decided nothing was wrong. And those punches Weston was receiving, even one of them could have killed him.
PINSKY: Now, let`s go back a bit. When did you notice something was wrong with your son?
FULTON: Well, it`s been something that Weston`s had to deal with. It started around 14. Like any mom, I was you know a very diligent mother watching over my son making sure as any good parent should be -
PINSKY: I will tell you the most, I don`t know your story on this but the most common story I hear is well, we found some pot in his notebook or whatever. Or they found it at school. So we had a talk about it and he promised he wouldn`t do it again. That kind of thing happened?
FULTON: We had that more about drinking. And you know, I love Weston, he is a very honest person. He sat me down and he said -
PINSKY: I`m going to stop you there. He can`t be. He is an alcoholic and addict. They are not honest by the nature of their condition. They may try to be. And when they`re in recovery they are, but in their condition that`s a feature of their condition is they are not honest. It`s hard to deal with that because they lie to us and we feel offended by that.
So, let me ask you a question. The way that we recommend people to deal with having family members with these conditions that change who they are, I mean, he`s a different person in his disease right?
FULTON: He wasn`t, I mean especially on that night when the day he was beaten, I mean he was not in the right state of mind to defend himself against his trainer. And that`s something I wanted to talk to you about.
How I need to set that record straight for him? Because it really bothers him coming out of that and watching that tape and realizing that he had no chance and that he had taken advantage of him.
PINSKY: What happened? This is your chance. Set that record straight.
FULTON: Well, on that day Weston had been drinking. He was completely intoxicated. And he had told his trainer that I`m going to let you go. And that set the trainer off. And he got into an altercation with him. Then the trainer punched him in the groin. And that caused Weston to be down. I mean, he wasn`t very a big kid. He`s 6`2", 250.
PINSKY: Wow, he`s a big guy. What is it he wants to set straight?
FULTON: That he was completely intoxicated. He had, he was taken advantage of.
PINSKY: Does he need to make an amends to the trainer for coming in intoxicated?
FULTON: He - yes. He wants to, you know people to know that he was not able to defend himself, normally he would.
PINSKY: Because he was loaded. Sure. Why do you think he hasn`t been able to embrace treatment fully?
FULTON: I mean, I don`t know. Maybe you could help me with that. I mean, he`s really trying.
PINSKY: He goes to meetings every day? He has a sponsor?
FULTON: Yes, he has a sponsor. He`s been in rehab. He`s really trying. We`re not there yet.
PINSKY: Not where?
FULTON: We`re not there yet.
FULTON: The place where one is when - and he`s trying. He`s starting. We`ve done everything we can. Nicolas and I have come together.
PINSKY: Well, the one thing you know, parents always tell me I`ve done everything. I`ve done everything. And the one recommendation we always, always, always make to families, for everybody out there, is to go to Al- Anon and get a sponsor and work the 12 steps yourself. That`s all we ask you to do as family members. That`s all we asked you to do, that is an order. Have you done everything? Have you done that?
FULTON: Yes. We`re on our way. We`re on our way.
PINSKY: So doing everything is doing nothing unless you go to Al-Anon and get a sponsor.
FULTON: What I`m saying is that -
PINSKY: No, no, no. You need to hear me. I need you to promise me you right here in front of God and everybody that you will go to Al-Anon tomorrow and you will get a sponsor and you will go on regular basis, otherwise your son is going to die. He`s going to die. You love him to death as all parents with addicted children. That`s just what happens.
FULTON: Well, I mean, that`s the thing.
PINSKY: Do I hear a yes?
FULTON: Yes, that`s a yes.
PINSKY: OK. Go ahead.
FULTON: There`s a family here. A very strong family. Nicolas and I have really come together as a team and we`re not going to let anything happen to Weston. We are here to save our son. We are not just going to walk away and tough love it. We are here -
PINSKY: People have grave misconceptions about tough love. Tough love is about continuing to love that person but not engage with their illness. When I see a patient, when I go if I were to see your son, I would not go into the room alone with him. No way. I would have another person with me, just what you would have to have an Al-Anon sponsor every time I dealt with him. Because you will get sucked into his disease every time. It takes you and him down. That`s how it works.
You cannot do this without program or therapist. You can get a therapist too. That`s another way to do it. But that person has to be with you constantly because you will dance with the disease every time. This is not, hey, you need to exercise more and lower your cholesterol. This is if you don`t do this, a horrible thing will happen to the patient.
FULTON: Well, listen, I have devoted my life to my son.
PINSKY: So you`ll go to Al-Anon and get a sponsor. Because that`s the -- if you`re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
FULTON: He`s so misunderstood. And Weston, he`s just an incredible person. And he deserves to get well. I`m just asking the nation to pray for Weston.
PINSKY: Fair enough.
FULTON: And to be there as a mom.
PINSKY: Fair enough.
Now, when we come back, we`re going to talk about what Christina might do and other moms as well.
PINSKY: We are back with Christina Fulton who for the first time is discussing, she and her son`s father, academy actor Nicolas Cage, are facing with her son, Weston. He was arrested in April. Tell me about that.
FULTON: You know, I just think, you know Weston, he really is overwhelmed. He`s so stressed out. He needed a program. He needed to really realize that he needed a program. And the stress has really, it snapped him. And without you know getting off of alcohol, and he`s been on for awhile. He wanted me to be able to say that`s been a big source of his problem. And he`s realized that. And knowing that he has a film that he`s getting ready to start and he has a record career, I think he`s really taking it seriously.
PINSKY: And my understanding is you have a little message for moms and parents out there struggling with kids who may have substance issues.
FULTON: Well, I definitely think that, you know, important that your job doesn`t stop at 18. And you want your kid to go out there and be independent. However, there`s just so many influences going on. And you just don`t give up. You don`t stop.
PINSKY: Never give up. By the way, misconceptions about tough love giving up on your child. No, no. You never give up. I heard Weston had some other mental issues such as OCD.
FULTON: He had OCD. He had it at seven. And at five, he had Threat syndrome and that been very, very difficult.
PINSKY: And these concurrence psychiatric problems make treating his addiction that much more difficult because sometimes the medication trigger the addiction. And sometimes if the psychiatric symptoms aren`t controlled, it motivates addiction. It`s very, very challenging.
FULTON: I`m proud of him. Because he`s coming out and he`ll be a leader and he`ll be someone that other peers can speak to about his issues with OCD and how that`s affected him. And how he`s dealt with it.
PINSKY: I want to ask something difficult I ask many moms. Which is do you believe he`s going to die?
FULTON: Weston -
PINSKY: Let I put it this way, your fantasy is he`s going to die if you don`t save him.
FULTON: I am saving him. We are saving him.
PINSKY: You`re not. You cannot. It doesn`t work like that. That fantasy that he`s going to die is going to come true if you keep insisting on saving. This is what I have to tell every mom, every mom of an addict harvest this fantasy that if she doesn`t save the child when she die and that loving him to death in the process.
You have got to let go of that. And that`s the process of not dancing with the disease. Because he, some part of him knows you have that fear and they`re going to play upon it every time they interact with you. And that`s what the disease will take advantage of.
FULTON: Well, here`s -
PINSKY: You know that, right? You`ve been through this. Here`s what?
FULTON: I have all the faith in the world that Weston being an absolute and I say that I`m not just the doting mother, that savants. He is a highly intelligent boy, he`s man. And he is working so hard. I`m watching him work so hard. That is making me happy.
PINSKY: If he follows that direction, he will get better.
FULTON: No one is perfect. He has a lot going on for him.
PINSKY: Of course not. But he deserves to be well and flourish. He deserves that. Thank you, Christina.
And thank you all for watching. I`ll see you next time.