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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My son has had problems with anxiety since high school and

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My son has had problems with anxiety since high school and takes serzone. He is now 30 and has had problems with jobs, etc. but lately he seems to be getting more agitated. A friends father committed suicide about 2 months ago and it affected him greatly. He has also come to the realization in the last couple of months that a person he considered one of his best friends has decided for some reason that my son is no longer his friend and this friend also owes my son money and will not pay him back and has said some really hurtful things. My son tells me that he used to be able to get himself back on track when he would get really depressed but he doesn't see that happening anymore. He has also made a remark that maybe his friends father had the right idea. He has never spo***** *****ke that before. He had seen a psycologist before for a couple session and the Dr. told him there was much hope etc. but my son had a hard time getting a hold of him and the Dr. didn't return his calls. I found this behavior very strange and this Dr. didn't have a receptionist, you had to just call him directly. After that he didn't want to try again. I want to get him to go again and I think he will but I don't know how to make sure I get him the right help this doesn't happen again.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

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

I am sorry to hear that your son had a bad experience with the doctor he saw. Sometimes finding the right person to help can take some trial and error. One of the best ways to find a good psychiatrist and therapist is to ask your doctor for a referral. Or you can search on line at You can also research the therapist to see what ratings they have on line. For your son's situation, I would recommend he see a Master's level therapist for talk therapy and a psychiatrist for his medications. Here is how to find a good therapist:

It sounds like your son is dealing with two issues- anxiety and depression. One of the ways you can help your son is to learn what you can about both anxiety and depression. When someone will not help themselves, that leaves loved ones to find a way to cope with their behavior and try to help them the best they can. Learning more about depression will provide you with answers when he acts the way he does and help you help him. Here are some resources to help you get started:

You can get ideas and support on how to help him from NAMI, which is the National Alliance for Mental Health. They offer numerous resources to assist those with a mental illness and those trying to help.

Support groups are another option. You can join one for family members and loved ones. Through the group, you may learn more about how family and friends have tried to help their loved ones get help. Here is a link to help:

It may be that when your son sees you getting support and working towards a solution, he may be willing to try as well. You can always ask him to join in or ask his opinion. It may be enough to get him engaged.

He may also need a change in his medication. Medications are helpful to ease the symptoms but the vary in their effectiveness. Each person has their own body chemistry and what works for one may not work for another. Also, once you take medication for a while, your body becomes accustomed to it and you either need an increase in dosage or you need to try a new medication.

I know it's hard to deal with your son's behavior. Trying to find ways to respond, keeping his motivation going and helping him can take a toll and you can get wrapped up in all the tension and stress. Be sure to care for yourself and take breaks as needed. Take time each day if you can or at least each week and get out of the situation. Go out with friends, talk to people who are supportive and if you feel you want to, try therapy for yourself. It can give you much needed stress relief.

Anxiety can also contribute to depression so treating one can help the other. Here are some resources to help you learn more about anxiety:

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne is excellent for any fears. It is self help and contains everything from supplements to relaxation techniques.

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Program by Bill Knaus Ed.D. and Jon Carlson Psy.D. Ed.D.

From Panic to Power: Proven Techniques to Calm Your Anxieties, Conquer Your Fears, and Put You in Control of Your Life by Lucinda Bassett

I hope this has helped you,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your response. It is helpful, however, my son lives in PA and I live in VA. He rents a room so does not own a home or have an apt. lease. Since he has had such a hard time finding a job and is at the end of his finances should I insist that he come here to get back on his feet? I don't even know if this would work. I would be the one to loan him money for his rent and he makes it very clear that he doesn't want to leave PA but it is also very hard to do anything long distance because now he will also stop answering his phone. He has a major problem with change but when his father and I moved here 7 years ago and he stayed in PA he was forced to adapt and seemed to be doing OK with that. I get very upset,of course, because of distance and I have nobody to check on him. I don't know if this new "suicide" reference is a louder cry for help or maybe a little bit of a manipulation because he is truly at the end of his rope money and job wise yet seems paralized to move forward.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for the additional information.

It might be better if your son moved to be with you if you feel he will need help in the long term, but if he won't do that, could you or your husband take some time to stay with him until he is at least involved with services? That may appeal to him more, since he will be in familiar surroundings. He may also stick with treatment if he feels more comfortable.

Ask your son if when he feels suicidal he has a plan. If he does, then it is best to contact emergency services and try to admit him. If you hear the plan, you can call the ER and file for a 302, which is an involuntary commitment. It is meant to get him immediate treatment and keep him safe. The hospital will walk you through the procedure. If your son does not have a plan, then he is probably ok enough to seek outpatient treatment.


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