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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5782
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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We just determined that our 17 year old son most likely has

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We just determined that our 17 year old son most likely has exisential depression. I feel very helpless on how to help him. What can we do? Can he come out of it? We have an appt. with a psychologist set up, but is there any hope? What I am reading on the Internet sounds so discouraging. I don't want my son to feel like this for another minute, let alone another week,year or more.

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

Can you tell me more about your son's symptoms? Is he suicidal?

Thank you,


Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No, he is not suicidal. He has been open about how he is feeling though since we determined about a month ago that he was depressed. Almost positive unit is existential from everything we have read and a health professional we have talked to. He says he feels like he is in a black hole, feels tortured, and is suffering. He has shared with a few friends and that seemed to help. We have talked with him, (my husband and I) for hours and hours when he is feeling ok. He is able to verbalized some of how he is feeling, but he doesn't know what is wrong and says that every day that goes by is another day he feels tortured. He is an amazing person and was a very easy and fantastic son to raise. We are devastated by this and I just want to know what to do to help him immediately. Also do people come out of this? I've been reading on the Internet that people struggle with this for years.!

Thank you for the additional information.

People do come out of depression. The key to getting better is motivation. It is very hard to watch a loved one cope with depression. One of the most difficult symptoms of depression is lack of motivation. It often keeps people from helping themselves and reaching out to others. The person prefers to not make an effort because making an effort takes so much energy. But someone who is depressed benefits from helping themselves and making an effort to overcome their symptoms. And if your son is willing to seek help, then he is well on his way to feeling better. That is what will help him overcome his depression and feel better. So there is hope.

There is no actual diagnosis of Existential Depression. Depending on your son's symptoms, the type of depression he is diagnosed with is based on when his symptoms started, the duration, the intensity and the variety of symptoms that accompany depression. Here are two guide on depression to help you:

You can help your son best by doing what you are already doing. Supporting him and encouraging him to talk about how he feels. Also, getting him help is the next best thing. He needs to talk with someone about how he feels, get a diagnosis so he knows what he is dealing with, and the appropriate treatment. He may need medications initially at least until his therapy takes effect. The medications alone can help lift his mood.

One of the biggest problems with being a caregiver is the burnout. You become stressed because of the worry and stress over your son. That is why you need support yourself. Besides having family and friends who can be there for you, consider support groups, either on line or in person for family members who cope with someone who has mental illness. People who are experiencing the same situation as you are can offer invaluable support, ideas and companionship to help you feel less stress. Here is a resource to help:

Also, your son may want to get involved with support for himself. Self help is invaluable in helping him get additional support. Also, talking to others who experience the same issues can be invaluable to his recovery. Here are resources to help you get started:

I hope this has helped. Please let me know if you have further questions.


May I please request that if you find the answers helpful at all that you rate me with three or more stars? Anything lower results in a negative against my record (ratings are confusing, sorry!). It is also the only way I am reimbursed for my work. Thank you so much!

I am sorry you were unhappy with your answer. Is there anything I can do to give you a better experience?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.
What do you mean that there is no diagnosis of exisential depression? It is the first thing our health professional mentioned when we explained our son to him and what he is like. I then have been looking it up on the Internet and it seems to describe him perfectly. It is a depression that is not from a certain event, but comes up spontaneously. I just want to know what we can do to get him out of the pit. He seems to do well around others and then comes home and crashes. I also want to know how long does this typically last? He says it is dep rooted and he doesn't think anything can help.

Diagnosis are made based on the DSM- which is a diagnostic manual used by mental health professionals including therapists, psychiatrists, hospitals and all of the National licensing boards. While Existential depression can describe your son very well, it cannot be an actual diagnosis. Here are the types of diagnoses your son can have:


It depends on what is wrong with him as to how long this will last. If you are getting him treatment, then he should improve quickly. And if he takes medications, then you will see improvement within 4 to 6 weeks. It sounds like he is feeling discouraged and that is understandable. But he is doing the right thing by getting treatment.


The professional your son sees will be able to tell you the best course of treatment and the quickest way to help your son.




May I kindly request you rate me again for the effort so the negative is
removed (three or more stars)? Thank you!

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