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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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My son is suffering from depression and has no drive or ambition.

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My son is suffering from depression and has no drive or ambition. He has flunked out of college after 2 1/2 years and is now working just a few days a week as a dishwasher. He keeps saying he does not want to grow up and has even started playing with toys/transformers ALOT. I have tried to get him help, but the counselors don't seem to think he has that much of a problem and I am pretty sure he is no longer taking his antidepressant medication. Any suggestions of how to motivate him before he ends up homeless?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 5 years ago.
Hello. Welcome to JustAnswer. Let me say I can imagine how worried, anxious and sad you must have been about this situation. It sounds like your 21 year-old son has symptoms of Depression. Perhaps, he may have been under some stress. Medical reasons for Depression may include thyroid hormone abnormality, Vitamin B12 Deficiency, Chronic pain, Stroke (Brain injury), Alzheimer’s disease, other medical problems such as kidneys, heart, lung, epilepsy, migraine headaches, brain injury. Malnutrition/brain damage can dull mood further. Excessive alcohol use may aggravate depression. Some medication can cause or contribute to depression. As you have tried, he may need to see a counselor to express and process his feelings and thoughts WEEKLY for 6 months or longer. If he is resistant to psychotherapy, he may work with a personal coach/life coach to increase his motivation and take constructive steps to his future. A combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy are considered to be effective to treat Depression. You may ask his doctor for a psychologist/psychotherapist that he can work with weekly. Or, you can search a licensed psychologist or psychotherapist who provides psychotherapy or life coaching on internet- such as the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website. Go to ( and enter your zip code and optional category of specialty such as Depression or life coaching. Read psychotherapists’ profile to see if he or she specializes in Cognitive-behavior therapy and Depression OR life coaching. You may also want to create your mental image of psychotherapist that he wants to work with – Male or female? To note, many therapists offer initial consultation for free. So you can see it as an informational meeting. You can ask any question and negotiate psychotherapy fee. Additionally, he may benefit from having a support group for young adults with depression in your area. To find a group therapy or a support group for him, contact a local hospital or a clinic by asking if they offer a group for young adults with depression. You also may encourage him to try some or all of the following to improve and manage his mood - 1. Exercise moderately, but regularly, 2. Eat healthy but delicious meals, 3. Regularize your sleep cycle, 4. Don't drink to excess or abuse drugs, 5. Spend some time every day in play, 6. Develop recreational outlets that encourage creativity, 7. Distance yourself from destructive situations or people, 8. Practice mindfulness meditation, or walk, or an intimate talk, every day, 9. Allow yourself to feel pride in your accomplishments, 10, Listen to compliments and expression of affection, 11. Build and use a support system, 12. Pay more attention to small pleasures and sensations, 13. Challenge yourself, 14. Avoid unstructured time, 15. Yoga, meditation, Acupuncture, Guided imagery, and massage therapy may be helpful. Additionally, Biofeedback may work for anxiety and insomnia. I hope your son gets well with help and support from his doctor, a counselor/psychotherapist, family and friends. Please let me know if I have overlooked any or you have more questions. Warm regards,
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