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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5822
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Son, 22, has anxiety and probably depression. Won't seek

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Son, 22, has anxiety and probably depression. Won't seek treatment. What options does a parent have?
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

Getting someone to get treatment when they refuse is always difficult, especially when dealing with an adult that you have no control over. You want them to see the importance of taking care of themselves but for some reason, they refuse. It can be upsetting when you care about the person and they will not listen.

It may help to ask your son what he might be willing to do instead. Are there any smaller steps he would be willing to take? Any small step is better than none at all.

Another thing you might try is to ask your son if he will be seen by a doctor. Sometimes a person will listen to their doctor before they will take the advice of their family. And if your son is willing to see his doctor, you can contact the doctor before the appointment and let him/her know what is going on so the doctor can talk with your son.

Try asking other relatives to talk with your son. If he won't listen to you, he may listen to a friend or another relatives, especially if that person has the same type of conditions as your son. And if your son has children and/or is married, you may want to point out that not caring for himself could hurt his family. They see him as an example of how to live and if he doesn't care for himself, then it shows them that staying in good health is not important.

If you have tried all of the above and he still refuses, you may have to let it go. Your son needs to make his own choices, even if they are not the best ones. And you do not want to create tension in your relationship by making this a big issue between you. You want to try to keep your relationship on good terms so you can keep an eye on him. And if things ever change and you can try again, maybe he will listen.

I hope this has helped you,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Have tried all that and more. Realize it is his issue, but he lives 500 miles away and I am concerned for his safety. Are there some coping skills that I can help with him. Some things he can do when the anxiety hits?

Here are some coping skills he can use to help himself:

Relaxation techniques- Practicing how to relax helps a lot with anxiety. Here is a very commonly used technique that helps many people with anxiety:

Distraction also helps. Calling a friend, going for a walk or otherwise engaging in any activity that will help distract him from his feelings.

Try helping others. It is easy to get absorbed in your own problems, but when you help others, it distracts you and helps you feel better because you are making a difference.

He can also seek support from online and in person. If he won't go to therapy, maybe he might try a support group. Also he may also want to self help. Here are resources he can try:

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

If you feel that at any time your son may hurt himself or others, you can contact the local ER for instructions on how to get him help in his area.

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you