Anonymous asked this question on 5/20/2000:
I have a 19 year old son who I believe is suffering from chronic depression. He has never really been the same since he returned from a 3-month overseas exchange program at 16. He has dropped out of high school, spent close to a year in the house without going out; for the past 8 months he had a job as a courier and things were looking up; but he just suddenly quit on Thursday and refused to call his boss. Anyway, a lot more could be said but....
I believe he may have clinical depression. He has refused to attend counselling or take medication, and he essentially denies he has any problem that needs help. He is very idealistic and sometimes expresses hopelessness, but he is generally uncommunicative about the thoughts that are going through his mind. His mother and I think he is very fragile at this time and we are extremely concerned for his well-being. To be blunt, the thought that he might take his life has crossed our mind.
How does a parent deal with a young adult who is not open to professional help. Can you suggest strategies that will minimize the chance of him bringing harm upon himself?
Drjoe9 gave this response on 5/20/2000:
Please understand that all depession becomes biochemical in nature.It may be a result of a tramatic event or it may be due to other stressor. But regardless of the prescipatator, the body reacts by trying to shut down. You need to talk to your son and explain to him that it is a medical problem much like diabetus or any number of diseases that are caused by the excess or lack of body substances. The first line of defense is your family doctor. He can prescribe an anti-depressant medication for your son. He does not have to talk about his problems with anyone if he dosent want to. The medication may give him the strength to tackle his own problem. It may also give him the mental energy to realize that he can solve these problems by therapy with professional help If you feel that he is a danger to him self or others you can have him committed involentarily for 96 hours in most states. Then he will be allowed to go before the court and be judged as to his competancy. Any citizen or police officer can do this. Hopefully this will not be necessary.But it is a step that I have taken many times when some one expresses to me that he feels like suicide and has some kind of plan to do it. Again your best bet is to convince your son that depression is primarily a medical problem, Not a character fault.