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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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My 17 yr old son has an on going problem of not being able

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My 17 yr old son has an on going problem of not being able to get up in the morning. This has been going on for about 5 yrs but has gotten worse each year. We have tried pouring water on him which just makes him angry and makes stay in his bed longer. We bought a special extra loud alarm with a vibrating disk to go in pillowcase, but that doesn't even phase him, taken him to counseling, nothing has worked. He gets very belligerent when trying to wake him cursing and he just won't move. He's says most of the time he can't remember that he has acted that way and says not to listen when name calling starts during this time. He can't get to bed at what I consider a decent time 11pm instead sometimes he up till 1 or 2 on school nights and then has to get up at 7:30. I feel like I am going to have a nervous breakdown everyday and dread the morning.  He misses a lot of school because of this and receives many detentions for tardiness, they accumulate and he has even had quite a few in school suspensions, all because he can't wake up.  It doesn't seem to bother him to receive all these detentions either.
Hello and thank you for consulting JA,

This actually sounds like a sleep disorder such as narcolepsy. The specialist which diagnosis this are pulmonary specialists at a Sleep Wellness Clinic or Program. Your local Children's Hospital may even have a Sleep Clinic. The diagnostic work up is a sleep study whereby he sleeps and is monitored at the clinic/hospital overnight. In lieu of the whole sleep work-up, you can have his primary MD refer him to a neurologist. The treatment for the difficulty arousing is medication similar to that prescribed for ADHD, a psychostimulant. The counselor may have treated this like a voluntary behavior when the cause is really physiological and involuntary. You might want to pose your question to the neurology experts at JA as well.

Good luck,
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I forgot to mention that I had taken my son to Dr. to check for ADHD 2 yrs ago. Dr. said he had all the signs of ADD tried meds, my son did not like the feelings he had actually said they made him feel very anxious, started at 20mg vyvanse then went to 50mg. Refused to take them. Now he won't take any type of meds. He has allergies and won't take the prescribed allergy meds anymore.

Also once my mom stayed over because I had to work at 5am when she woke up my son he got up with no problem at all. A couple other times when I had to work early we had one of his friends sleep over to help get him up and he got up in time. It did take a little longer but he was not late for school.
Does he want this behavior to change? Does he want to have better success getting to school on time?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
He claims he does but then it doesn't seem like he puts any effort into trying to make it better. A lot of people have told me to just let him sleep, its up to him to get up. I have tried but the closer it gets to school time the harder it is for me to just let him sleep.

Tell him you have found that there is help for sleep problems and schedule him for a sleep study. Then, let the sleep team work with him on ways to change this behavior (and in addition to other recommendations, medication may be an option presented). But, then, it can be his choice whether he takes the advice of the experts. If he choses to ignore their recommendations, then your hands are tied to help him. Then, let him suffer the consequences. Maybe that will motivate him to comply with the treatment.

I hope this helps.....good luck.
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