Dr Phil’s Interview with Austin Harrouff’s Father

Austin’s father believes that mental illness caused the tragedy. In an exclusive interview with Dr Phil , Austin’s father discussed what he describes as his son’s bizarre behavior leading up to the crimes.

According to Austin’s Dad the night of the murders Austin got up from the table at Duffys and said he was going to the bathroom but then vanished. He had been doing that lately. Just vanishing.
Austin was very quiet during dinner. He was found at his mothers which was two miles away. He had walked there. At his mom’s house he grabbed a bottle of wesson oil and he was going to drink it. Then he put Parmesan cheese in it and ate it.  His dad said he was dehydrated because they had gone for a four hour walk.
When he got back to the restaurant his dad grabbed  him by the shirt and said “What is wrong with you!” Dr Harrouff’s girlfriend Carrie stopped the interaction and then Austin left again. That was the last time he saw his son before the brutal murders.
Harrouff’s father, Dr. Wade Harrouff, said he learned of the brutal attack when he received a call from police at 2 a.m.  The police came to his house to tell him that Austin had killed two people.
“Austin had  always been a happy boy”  his dad said “But for the last two weeks he had stopped being happy. He was very serious.”  Austin had no history of any kind of mental illness or strange behavoir until the last few weeks.
Dr Phil thinks he lapsed into a  severe mentally illness.  He said he thought that Austin had no intention of hurting anyone and he just took the wrong turn. The father said that the animal like whin that was described was his voice from drinking some kind of poison. His airways were closing down and that’s why he was grunting like an animal.

Who knows really?
I refer back to the Wesson oil incident. Psychogenic polydipsia is an excessive water intake seen in some patients with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Those of us that have worked in psychiatric hospitals have seen people drink the most amazing things. People who are psychotic can drink anything and who knows what is going thru their head.  That’s why we keep everything locked up on the psych ward.  Even the hand washing soap is not safe. True story.  I know there is a name for this and can’t remember what it is.  We’ll just say when someone is psychotic you have no idea what they are seeing and what kind of command hallucination they are having. Not knowing what kind of poison he drank I can’t really say what kind of reaction he would have had.

I once did an exercise at a NAMI meeting in Palm Beach County. You sat in a chair. Three people stood behind you chanting out a script of commands one might hear if they were psychotic.  One person was saying”Hurt yourself.” Another was telling you to hurt someone else and the third one was telling you what a horrible person you were.  We did this to give us a basic understanding of what it was like to be psychotic.

Many time people get command hallucinations telling them to drink things.

His father said Austin was not sleeping. He was pacing he floors. Just not sleeping can throw you into psychosis if it goes on long enough.

Dr Phil really did a masterful job interviewing Dr Harrouff. He asked all the questions I would have asked. He did ask about if Austin had any history of hurting animals, which can be an indicator with small children of psychiatric issues in the future. Dr Harrouff said no. He asked him about drug use especially steroid use and his dad said no that Austin was against steroid use.

I’ve watched a few videos oh Austin and he looked quite stoned. If there is a family history of mental illness even smoking pot can cause havoc. You have a gene. Taking drugs will contribute to a psychotic break. We see it all the time.

It’s not unusual that some kind of drug use can lead to a psychotic break. They are not exclusive of each other.

Here is some info:

“Biological factors that are regarded as contributing to the development of psychosis include genetic abnormalities and substance use. With regard to chromosomal abnormalities, studies indicate that 30% of patients diagnosed with a psychotic disorder have a microdeletion at chromosome 22q11. Another group of researchers has identified the gene G72/G30 at chromosome 13q33.2 as a susceptibility gene for child-hood-onset schizophrenia and psychosis not otherwise specified.
With regard to substance abuse, several different research groups reported in 2004 that cannabis  use is a risk factor for the onset of psychosis.”

My message to Austin’s parents is: I’m so so sorry. Please find the help you need to heal yourself. This must be agonizing.Reach out to your local AMI chapter because they can help you.

Detectives are anxiously awaiting to get an official statement from Austin Harrouff. As of Tuesday, Harrouff remains unable to speak. Officials with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office say his condition hasn’t changed, he remains in critical but stable condition. He has regained consciousness at the hospital and is  awake and responsive. However, because of the presence of a breathing tube he wasn’t able to speak with Martin County Sheriff’s Office detectives. Detectives say they will try to get a statement from Harrouff in any type of format, whether verbal, written or typed. Investigators are also waiting for drug tests results by the FBI to see if any kind of drug played a role in the gruesome attack.

I’m not sure if they are letting his parents in to see him but I think that would be a great idea.  People in jail gets visitors.  He was critically ill. Why keep the parents out?  Who does that?

I’m not sure if he is awake and conscious why a written statement can’t be obtained?

The question would be is he psychotic now and if not has he been given anti-psychotic medications?

At the end of the interview Dr Phil talked about getting help for your family member’s if they display behavoir that is not normal for them. Do it quickly.

Palm Beach County NAMI

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  • Posted 8 years ago

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