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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5820
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My son who is 20 years old seems depressed and thinks poeple

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My son who is 20 years old seems depressed and thinks poeple are trying to kill me and his brother. He thinks I just don't see the problem. How can I get him help? If I can not do anything, what can I do to help him see that he needs to seek help.

It is very frustrating 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.

The other concern is your son's paranoia. If he feels someone might be trying to kill you and his brother, that says that his issue might be a bit deeper than just depression. So an evaluation is important to determine exactly what he does have.

In order to help your son, small steps are needed to help him get back on track. For example, if he won't go to see a therapist, consider trying to get him to see his doctor. Then contact his doctor ahead of time and let him know what you are seeing with your son. Sometimes a person will listen to their doctor even if they won't listen to a close family member.

Try to have other family members he may trust to talk to him. Again, he may listen to them over you just because he is too close to you.

Try to not become discouraged. One of the biggest problems with being a caregiver is the burnout. You become stressed or even want to give up because it is so difficult to see progress. 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 are some resources to help:

Helping Someone with Mental Illness: A Compassionate Guide for Family, Friends, and Caregivers by Rosalynn Carter and Susan Golant M.A.

Also, your son may be willing to consider self help over talking to a professional. It can be a great way to introduce the idea that he needs help. Here are resources to help you get started:

I hope this has helped you,

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