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Heidi LPC
Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 278
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor
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18 years old turmoil

Customer Question

my son is 18. He is displaying an increasing level of apathy, social avoidance and even paranoia. He dropped out of art college, avoiding to look for a job as as he feels unfit and uncomfortable amongst the people. So he is sitting in his room and spend 100% on computer refusing to contribute to a family, not even a shore or spend any time with his little sister. He sleeps at least 50% of time and is always angry, negative and depressed. People around him feel guilty. he lost interest even to activities he once loved such as alpine skiing , photography. He is leading parasitising lifestyle and has no life direction to follow. Offers to put a goal list together, so we could brake it onto smaller steps, was continuously declined. He is in turmoil. He is 18 and i can't force him to get help or see a doc. The only light in his life was his girlfriend. After she split w him, he stopped eating looks like a ghost, i worry he might be suicidal. i realize there are serious issues but where do i start my quest to help him? There is little parent can do as at 18, he suppose to make his own decision and he is not capable, the situation is deteriorating every day - what it may lead to?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Heidi LPC replied 4 years ago.

Heidi LPC :

Hi there! I hope to offer some suggestions here; this is definitely a situation that will require some very creative and intentional thought and planning, but there is hope!


Heidi LPC :

At the age of eighteen, he is still somewhat reliant on you and clearly needs some help right now. It sounds as if you have tried a variety of discussions with him, and this hasn't worked. Now, it may be time for some "tough love".


Heidi LPC :

If there are some stronger family members whom he looks up to, I suggest a family "intervention" meeting. This is done without his knowledge, and takes place in a somewhat dramatic fashion with everyone converging on him at once. Every takes some time to express their concern in the group, and to tell him you will now stop taking "no" for an answer. You have decided that it is your responsibility to get him the help he clearly needs, and you are now taking him to either a Dr. (appt. set up prior) or to the emergency room, if you feel that there is suicidal intent.


Heidi LPC :

If he has expressed a suicidal ideation, or a plan to hurt himself, rescue should be called and him taken to the nearest emergency room.


Heidi LPC :

You can simply explain to him that his body chemistry is probably out of balance, which is causing this depression. Explain that the symptoms that he is demonstrating are absolutely indicative of a depression, and that his body needs help to get back in balance. Make it clear that this isn't his fault, but that when people are sick, they sometimes can't help themselves and must rely on and trust others to help them. And you are all now going to do so.


Heidi LPC :

Don't offer him a choice any longer about getting this help; just make it happen. He needs you to be strong and offer confident leadership right now; and unless you take some action, things could possibly get more serious.


Heidi LPC :

I hope you found this answer somewhat helpful. I wish you all the strength and courage you may need to take control of this situation, and help him. Please feel free to reply with any further information or questions, and I will be happy to reply as soon as I can! Hang in there--- you will get through this!


Heidi LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Heidy, got a couple of your email updates encouraging to update.
Well, nothing has changed and my son is not willing to help himself, regardless several conversations to which I have integrated your advice.
He started eating though and only after I "threatened" him with calling an ambulance if he continue this self neglect and dont stop his hunger strike against himself. His father works and lives far away from us, has arrived for a vocation and we are in good position to join efforts in doing something strong and definitive in relation of getting him back to his track, Where, at your opinion shall we start? Just to let you know I am very sick and can't take care of him any longer. He is not looking for job, and as I mentioned earlier, he dropped out of college,

he has developed some social (communication) paranoia and avoid people at any cost. He doesn't care if I sick and how bad. His self fixation is getting worse. I am in a difficulty position, I can leave him behind as he is socially unfit and not ready to transit into an adulthood, and I can't keep him because my own boat is sinking and I need to repair before I collapse! I am a strong person, but this is too much even for me, I feel like a marathon runner who came to an end unable to make any inch further...
Expert:  Heidi LPC replied 4 years ago.
Hello Ludmilla.... I am truly sorry to hear this news. Have you tried getting the whole family together to speak with him, and did that have any effect? The only other thing you can do is call his Dr., describe the symptoms, and quite possibly get him forcibly admitted into the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Other than that, your hands are somewhat tied. It certainly sounds as if he is in need of medication/treatment and I hope that you can find the strength to take the steps to get him the help that he needs. I wish you courage and strength, and keep taking care of yourself, as well!!

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