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Carol Kryder LMFT
Carol Kryder LMFT, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 808
Experience:  APA Board Certified, Diplomate,Substance Abuse Professional, 20 years family therapy experience
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Our son is 20 years old and he has just abandoned his degree

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Our son is 20 years old and he has just abandoned his degree course in his first year, citing depression and crippling anxiety. He did not confide in us and we found out through a letter from the university. We have had indications that all was not right with him for a number of years but he was very reluctant to discuss this with us. I arranged a visit to our doctor when he was seventeen where he was offered counselling but he refused it. He has difficulty sleeping and regularly sleeps in late (well into the afternoon) and has very little energy or enthusiasm for anything. He insists on staying away from home in uni accommodation and has not confided in any friends as he is embarrassed. He tells us he will go for counselling but never makes it to the centre. As you can imagine we are very worried and don't know what to do particularly because of the distance! Do you think removing his accommodation funding would force him back home so we could help him?

I can certainly understand your distress about your son. It does sound like he has a problem with depression. If he says he will accept counseling but does not follow through, it is time for some tough love.

I agree that you need to stop funding and enabling his lack of initiative to get help. You can tell him that you want him to come back home and are no longer going to pay for the accommodation housing.

When you tell him your expectation is that he will return home and get into some counseling, he can choose to refuse to come home, and you will not be able to help him. However, it is not doing any good to continue to fund his present situation, in which he is not seeking any help.

You are the only ones who can decide if the risk is worth the benefit, but something has to change in this situation. Depressed people rarely seek help voluntarily. They usually must be forced by loved ones. Make sure he knows you love him and want the best for him, and that all your actions come from love.

Let me know if you need clarification on any of this.

Warmest regards,
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