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TherapistMarryAnn
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5770
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My adult son has been recently diagnosed with narcolepsy, his

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My adult son has been recently diagnosed with narcolepsy, his older sister also has the disorder. My son is struggling to accept the diagnosis I believe and thus far is working with his physician to find the best medicine for treatment. He seems very depressed to me and has no interest in keeping his physical space remotely clean. I am trying to help but he seems inordinately angry and now lives in a hoarding situation. How can I help him?
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It is natural for your son to feel depressed about his diagnosis. Although everyone reacts differently to bad news, most people eventually need time to mourn the loss of their health and the way things used to be for them. It is a loss just like a death. And how your son is reacting fits. Here is a guide on coping with loss:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/grief_loss.htm

However, it can be very hard to see him go through this. You don't want to see him in pain and struggling with his diagnosis. And what you are doing is helpful, though he may not be responding to it yet. Being there and being supportive may feel you are doing very little but that is one of the best things you can do.

Other things you can try:

Let your son know that he may be in mourning. Tell him that although grieving is normal, working his way through it and feeling better is a good goal.

Suggest he talk with his doctor about how he feels. If he is not coping with daily life, a mild anti depressant may help a lot until therapy can make a difference.

Talk to a therapist. Just talking can help him give a voice to his feelings and he can feel better. He may be resistant to talking to someone and if so, contact his doctor to ask if he/she will suggest it as well.

See if there are any support groups he can get involved in. His doctor may know of any or you can search on line. Although he does have a sister with the same diagnosis, talking to others who also have the same diagnosis can help him feel less alone.

Let him vent as much as he needs to and just listen. He may express things that are uncomfortable and seem out of proportion to the situation, but that is normal. Suggest he start a journal or find other outlets like art or taking a kickboxing class.

Exercise may help him feel more in control of his body, which he may feel has betrayed him right now. Ask his doctor for suggestions on exercise that is medially appropriate for your son.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
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