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How do I help my depressed adult son?
Hello:  I am desperate for help. I have a 25 year old son who lives at home and has never been on his own.  He was diagnosed with ADD in 2nd grade and school was a struggle but he graduated and on time. During his puberty years his father's way of handling him were whoopins, hollaring and restriction.  From age 14 to 18 my son barely spoke to his father and his father was not supportive about his son having ADD.  My husband worked 2 jobs and was absent alot during times when my boys needed him most. My So, this is a brief back ground so you know a little what went on.  My husband later realized his faults and always tries to make up for the mistakes he's made with our sons and our marriage in the past.  He has come a long way and is a great person.  Since my oldest graduated high school he has been working for his dads company and during this time they seemed to get a long but in his job he had no real dicipline with the getting up for work and coming home but he did his job for the most part.  

For the past year or so my sons attitude is this; he has cut his self off from his friends, says he hates people, will never get married or have children.  He quit his job working for his father to go to school for computers which his father supported him and paid his tuition for one quarter but he dropped out without telling anyone.  He was barely looking for a job for about a year unless I asked him about it and I would always help him fill out applications.  He spends all his time in his room watching television and on the computer, takes protein pills and drinks and weight lifts every day at the gym.  He says he is no longer this fat kid everybody made fun of and going to the gym is the only thing that makes him happy.  He started eating only healthy foods and lost over 85 pounds.  With his new job he goes to work from 11 AM to about 5 PM.  If his friends call him he ignores their them. He does not do recreational drugs but drinks alcohol occassionally.  When he does drink it is very excessive.  He is friends with two people; his barber who is female and a friend of the family and his boss who is a youngman he went to school with who opened up a computer business and his training my son while on the job.  In the beginning of the year I almost divorced my husband and then called it off.  We have had our problems and have been together 34 years, 25 of them married.  My son was going to move with me after the divorce and when we got back together he was not thrilled.  Recently; he will no longer participate in his brothers birthday dinners or family vacations to visit out of town family and would not attend the family gathering for Thanksgiving.  I asked him why is he does not want to be around anybody and he says he hates this house and everyone in it.  I said well then why don't you move and he laughed and said he is trying to but he's not really.  

I pleaded with him to come to the family gathering for Thanksgiving so he could see his grandmother which could be the last holiday she may spend with us because her health is declinning but he refused to come.  He will not speak to his younger brothers for the most part but if they talk to him; he will respond but it will be short.  He originally was going to move with his younger brother but decided he really couldn't afford it. He also said that when he does move he does not want to be bothered.  I asked him why is he so mad at everyone and he said he hates people, he hates his family, etc.  We are all worried about him and don't know what to do.  His behavior frightens me and I do not want him to harm himself or try to take his own life.  I asked him if he felt depressed and he said I just hate everybody and everything and I feel this way everyday.  He said he only went to birthday dinner's before and holiday gatherings because I made him.  I asked if he wanted to talk to somebody about what is bothering him and that maybe he would feel better taking antidepressants.  I told him I take antidepressants because I have to and he got mad and said well why the f__k did you have kids when you can pass depression on to them.  

I have had simliar conversations like this with him a few times over the past 3 or 4 years but at present he is at his worse by cutting off all his friends, hybernating in his room all day and night unless he leaves to go to work or to the gym.  He will and not speak to anyone in our house, not even me, unless I generally speak first. He definately will not talk to his father and says he won't go to family dinners and things because his dad will be there.  I know he has issues with his father but they occurred when he was a teenager.  I will not stop until I find my son help but he refuses everything and I feel their is more going on then how his dad treated him growing up.  Can anyone please advise me? I have both my arms up in the air for anyone's help.
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585414 tn?1288944902
I would agree he should see a psychiatrist but it might be more than clinical depression but only a psychiatrist can provide a diagnosis. I do know that before my current recovery from schizoaffective disorder, I did begin to cut off people from my life and alienate myself from people. It would be good if other people could help you encourage him to seek help in a supportive way because it will be helpful for his recovery. It may very well be a difficult process because he experienced abuse but at the end it will be worth it. Only if his behavior becomes violent or suicidal can he be required to seek help by law but perhaps encouraging him with the help of other people or suggesting he attend a support group with other people with similar issues might be one way. It is a difficult process and one I did not go through as I sought psychiatric help on my own initially but that's uncommon unfortunately.
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874521 tn?1424120397
Hi...I really sympathize with your family problems...I too have had my share.
I agree with the advice that IL has given you, he does need to see a psychiatrist real soon, however I do also know you cannot physically take an adult to anywhere he doesn't agree too going!!
You do need your husband and other son to help you with an intervention to convince this son he needs to seek help...he sounds like he is becoming very depressed thus the isolation and recalling all past hurts etc.
He is weight lifting...and losing weight good for him,,,my son who also suffers from depression does also do weight training, he says he needs this for his self esteem!
Is there a chance your son maybe taking steroids along with the weights??
This could trigger depression/anger.
I wish you the best but the help needs to come from all the family you cannot do this on your own.
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...tears of hope...thank you both for writing to me.  I think I will look for a support group of some kind a long with a recommended psychiatrist and get the full support of my family.  If I have all this on board it gives me somewhere to begin reaching and finding help for my son.  Your comments mean more then I can express; it is heart warming to know people care about other people and we all do not know one another but you are still willing to reach out in some kind of capacity to a desperate mother who will do anything for her son. Have a blessed day <3  

Thank you from the bottom of my heart <3
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301494 tn?1259518001
I see some positives in your description of your situation with your son: 1) His regular gym work-outs; 2) He has contact with two friends (M & F); 3) He's able to express his feelings; 4) You & your family largely express positive feelings toward him (now) & wish to help him; 5) He expresses determination to be on his own.  I "hear" him saying he wants to deal with and overcome his anger. In contrast to what he says, he clearly does care about the family. I would make sure he completely understands how much you love him & want to help & support him. (And it sounds like you are doing this.)  Tell him you are proud of these ways in which he has demonstrated determination to developing himself. Sometimes, one seemingly small, accomplishment, serves as the foundation for much more. I'm sure there are many people who would marvel at his weight loss and body-building accomplishments.  I actually think he's doing better than you may think. His dad must show relentless  commitment and determination in making up for his previous abuse (at least verbal abuse) of his son, while at the same time maintaining his own self-respect.  Your son will be watching very closely. Hang-in there and Good Luck.
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...i appreciate your in put...it gives me another perspective to look at and in working and with what you express would be approaching things at a different angle... until i find what works i have to try anything and everything until i can bring my true son's personality out in to the open.  all the more, i get what you are saying and i thank you for taking the time to read my story;;;;; my son is a beautiful person!  ....thank you so much <3
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here it is over 5 years later, how is your son? I am currently going through similar behaviors (lack of interests, feeling overwhelmed,  friends, VERY low self esteem,) with my  adult son.  What helped the most? What were the hardest times? It is SO very frustrating to not know how to support him at home. If I say "great job", am I sounding like he is 5? He knows he isn't "right", but cannot seem to get past it to fix it. The level where he perceives he is at, is just too low in comparison to where he thinks he should be. That distance is just too hard reach in his mind at his age of 26. That's why he doesn't feel therapy will do much, as it takes so long....(been there done that)
thank you for your response
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boy does it sound like my son, but he does not leave the house..will not see his drs, friends and family say throw him out, can't do that, i have seen therapists who agree..can not get him to go to drs...i know he gets depressed,had a great job,went to computer school. but lost a girlfriend because he did not want to marry or have kids,she did. moved back to ny state from Fla., hard to find a job doing graphic designing and the panic attacks started and started leaving the house less and less..any advice will be listened too.. thanks lj
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Sad to say but I find comfort knowing I'm not alone. .. my 29 year old son had finally got a apartment alone but quickly upset the landlord by hiding a cat and not maintaining the unit and has been asked to leave. My husband refuses to let him back home. I'm at a loss for how to help him. I  fear I'll have to divorce my husband to take care of my son.
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Hi, I found this post looking for help with my 23 year old son, most of what you described sounds like what is going on with my son, he works with his Dad and makes a good pay check but he hasn't worked for over a month, he is completely alone, although he lives with me he stays in his bedroom all day, his cousin visits once in a while and my daughter visits when she's home from college, whenever they visit he acts happy. He smokes weed all day long he never used to drink and is drinking beer daily. He has always struggled with his weight and body image, he has been gaining weight quickly while going through this depression. My nephew commited suicide last year, he was in medical school and no one knew he was depressed but his mother, he told her he would never talk to her again if she told anyone about what he was going through, he was doing everything my son is, isolating,quit school and gained a lot of weight, he was taking anti depressants though and wasn't drinking or smoking weed, he was 7 days younger than my son. My son will not go to a doctor or therapist. I also have depression and have been taking anti depressants for years. His Dad,sister and I don't know what to do. I'm living in fear that he will become suicidal and it's heart breaking seeing my son in so much pain. I wish you the best with your son, I will keep you and him in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your experience.
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Hi, I found this post looking for help with my 23 year old son, most of what you described sounds like what is going on with my son, he works with his Dad and makes a good pay check but he hasn't worked for over a month, he is completely alone, although he lives with me he stays in his bedroom all day, his cousin visits once in a while and my daughter visits when she's home from college, whenever they visit he acts happy. He smokes weed all day long he never used to drink and is drinking beer daily. He has always struggled with his weight and body image, he has been gaining weight quickly while going through this depression. My nephew commited suicide last year, he was in medical school and no one knew he was depressed but his mother, he told her he would never talk to her again if she told anyone about what he was going through, he was doing everything my son is, isolating,quit school and gained a lot of weight, he was taking anti depressants though and wasn't drinking or smoking weed, he was 7 days younger than my son. My son will not go to a doctor or therapist. I also have depression and have been taking anti depressants for years. His Dad,sister and I don't know what to do. I'm living in fear that he will become suicidal and it's heart breaking seeing my son in so much pain. I wish you the best with your son, I will keep you and him in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your experience.
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16156158 tn?1445738875
The fact he lifts weights and continues to do so regularly is a GREAT and AWESOME sign. I've battled with major depressive disorder my entire life. My upbringing similar to your son: strict father who now wishes he done things differently, shutout friends and family, never went to family events, stayed home and preferred not to work or go to school (depression left me immobilized and bed ridden for over a year).

My family admitted me to a psychiatric facility when I was 25 through a court order granted by a judge after I became so frustrated one day and tore the house apart. Later I found out through their own admission they pushed my buttons because I refused help. I was involuntarily committed and was released after the bare minimum of 3 days. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS. I will forever resent them for that, regardless of the fact I'm doing better now. And it's not because of what they did. All meds the psychiatrists prescribed me there and the psychiatrists themselves I swore on my grandfather's grave I will never take out of spite. I got better because my parents stopped using "tough love" and actually began to show me empathy as opposed to usual frustration mixed with genuine sympathy.

I see a general doctor who has depression himself and we both clicked from day one. This seeking out for help to find this doctor was done 3 years after my family's betrayal. Their exact words when I came home after 24hrs in a jail cell and 72 hours in a disease ridden psych facility, "they needed to see how you really are." I moved out to a **** hole and was broke. I spoke to my family close to never for 3 years. Purposely I would agitate them in front of their friends and respond, "People need to see how you really are."

My advice, say I love you every day even if he doesn't respond. Praise him for his discipline sticking to the weight lifting. When I had passion for power lifting my parents unabashedly would say "His arms get bigger but his brain gets smaller. He doesn't talk to us but lifts weights not like he sees anyone. He cares about superficial things like powerlifting and weighs out his chicken breast, but won't cut his own Birthday cake. Etc etc etc."

Always praise and never give him negative reinforcement. I stopped taking care of my body and when I did, my depression got worse. So bad, I turned to drugs.

I admit, I needed help then. However their methods hurt and embarrassed me so much that I gained 80 lbs of fat, acquired asthma and attempted suicide when I was at my own little **** hole.

He enjoys lifting, why not consider a career as a personal trainer. Or if he's willing to put in the effort (no doubt he is intelligent), study kinesiology at a 4 year university. My point is, don't ignore the bad just don't dwell on them. Highlight the positives. I wish I was still in the gym. Who knows maybe one day I'll quit smoking, eat right and go out and party. For me, now, I take it day by day with the help of antidepressants and the almost constant reminder of my parents' regrets when I see them daily (moved back home and graduating with my bachelor's this semester).

If you see him attempt suicide, or purchase a gun, then have a private intervention with him, not a public one like mine was where I was video taped showering at psych ward (again, I'll never forgive them for that).

I remember the last words of the counselor as she handed me a bag of pills and pamphlets (with a large officer present given the method of how I was delivered there) "You're not crazy. You're leaving in 3 days which is state minimum. By the way, you can never own a gun. Take care."

I've never wanted a gun would never hunt in my life, but after that, if I get married and have a family BETTER BELIEVE I WILL PROTECT THEM.

When you push too hard, it's counterproductive. I've always been the stubborn type. Even if something wasn't on my mind and someone just out of nowhere says "by the way you can't x, y, or z" instantly x,y,z were what I wanted.
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Hi. I'm going through the same trauma as is my ex and of course our son who struggles and refuses help for the past year. Although this discussion is about our children, I'd like to point out one deviation you had made in the first paragraph of your entry.  "My husband worked 2 jobs and was absent a lot during times when my boys needed him most." ..."he was not supportive." What option does a man have? It's very easy for women to put the blame on the husband for "not being there" as if the guy didn't want to be at home with his kids. A common tactic to shift the blame on anybody but themselves, exterior forces or just bad luck.  That's nonsense. Most every man would love to be with his kids. It bothered me terribly that I couldn't be with my kids more, especially now.

Now that my ex and I have got our hands totally full with our one son's depression/anger, it is forgotten how my "being at work all the time" paid the bills, paid for three cars, got her and kids to Europe EVERY YEAR (even after the divorce) and now this is all my fault. I think not.

You probably think not, but I do sympathize and wish you well. I've been searching for months on line and with therapists and there is no easy answer  for this problem. I just thought everyone should be reminded of the reality of the father's perspective on this.

Good luck
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I am a single mother with no family around.  My son is 22 years of age and has been diagnosed with Schizophrenia disorder and started taking medication.  He is totally isolated from friends and people in general.  He always stays at home, watching TV and playing video games on his phone, he does not work nor go to school, he eats excessively and does not want to move, he likes to stay in the dark and does not want to see light.  

I am so scared and I do not know how to handle this situation.  I tried every different ways to make him motivated but, no luck; I tried to advise him and support him with love and he tells me that my love for him is too much and that he does not need someone to cox him but, to make him a man, by raising my voice, telling him that I am in a financial crises, nothing seems to be working.  

I desperately need your advise how to handle this situation.  My health is deteriorating.  Please help.
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