My 20 year old son is diagnosed with moderate to severe depression

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My 20 year old son is diagnosed with moderate to severe depression. He is in colllege now. He takes medicine for his depression which had to be changed few times and he still says it's not helping. He feels down without any energy and can't make himself  get out of bed. Now he wants to quit school and take a break for an year and is asking me for advice. I don't know what to tell him. Do I push him to continue? Do I support him with this? I'm thinking if he takes a break are there support groups or activity groups for people with depression? is there an alternative for people like him?

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  • Posted

    So sorry to hear about your son.  What about home educating him?

    Is it possible in his case?  You could always check if such arrangement could be made...

    My son did opt for home education in his final years and worked out fine.

    Has he had any talkyng therapy?  Maybe he isn't happy in his school environment or other issues he can't talk about.  My son wasn't talkative but studying at home suited him fine.   

    It is often difficult for us parents to know what is the right thing to do...

    Best wishes,



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  • Posted


    I do not know where you are in the world or the subject your Young Man is taking, all I can say is sometimes when we go to college or University they can feel they do not have the gift to take this pathway they had decided upon earlier. The course can become a trail and that in turn can affect mood and make the student depressed. The use of AD medications can just make matters worse as they can dumb down the edge needed to study various subjects needed. This can lead to the need to get away on a gap year mid term/course etc.

    I am not saying this is the case, it can also be caused by a personal life outside of college and that may affect His studies.

    If He is however having problems with the Course He is taking this could make him feel uncomfortable and and a feeling He has burnt His Boat, He may be frightened to admit an expensive error have been made, He has chosen the wrong pathway.

    You need to discuss the real reason why He wishes to take that gap year, to work out the problem He has and able to address His conerns a more positive situation may be reached, as He discusses His feelings and concerns. The whole problem He has will be worrying Him and will prevent a meaningful discussion regarding His future

    I do not know the situation in the family dynamic and how you are treating your Son with His studying, that may be part of the problem if He feel He has let you down.

    Sometimes medications and education are unlikly bed fellows and this can also cause problems.

    You know the situation your family finds itself in only you can work that out with family members. In the UK your Son can be looked on as an adult, when push comes to shove He will need to make His own decisions. I feel for you all



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  • Posted

    Hi, I am a mom of a 19-yr old daughter who has been suffering from anxiety since she was 16 and who went through her most severe anxiety attacks this April, almost going into depression. The anxiety symptoms started to build up since November when she went to college, we moved homes, we got ready for the holidays, etc, so it was really tough. Aside from school, she has so many other activities and commitments because of her philanthropic work and she is very happy doing acts of kindness. All throughout these years, she focused on one main dream in the arts, dropping some of her other interests and taking a break. She postponed a huge plan to go to university in favor of a trade course where she is able to express her love for the arts. Each time she said that she wanted to take a break off of a huge plan; or to take a break altogether from a career path, we listened to her and allowed her to make the final decision using one question as a guide always: Will doing this make you happy, or are you feeling obliged to do this?

    As long as her answer is that it will make her happy, then we support her decision. Before she went into her very serious anxiety attack, she had so much on her plate, but when I asked her why she went into this lowest moment of her life despite so many good things happening around her, she said : "Because there was this one thing that I always had to do but no longer liked to do." This made her lose her identity and losing one's identity can put someone's morale really down. I share my story and hopefully, it can provide you with some help as to how you can guide your son. smile

    As for support groups, there are so many  and the campaigns to share awareness of mental health are truly empowering and encouraging! The first thing we need them to do (or their families to do) is talk about it,, be open and ask for help. Until we all talk about it, the stigma around mental health will always be there, preventing those who are ill to ask for help.

    There are so many treatment options and whether our children live with their anxiety (or depression) for the rest of their lives, will not prevent them from still enjoying life because there are strategies that help them to manage their anxiety and depression. Family support and love are foremost. Be there for them always. Their battle is not their battle alone. Their battle is our battle and we will fight mental illness with them, every step of the way, even if it has to be baby steps.

    One day, mental health will be talked about, discussed and shared openly, like any other physical illness and no one will ever feel like they have no one to run to. smile Take heart. 


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    • Posted

      Thank you for yor reply Bernjd! You gave me some good points to think about. I know I have to learn to listen more and talk less. I am scared for him. Vupo
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    • Posted

      You are welcome, Vupo. It is natural for us, parents, to feel scared for our children because we want to protect them from all harm. The good news is that you are there for him. The fact that you are in this forum is because you are looking out for your son's welfare and in doing so, you want to be able to make the right decision for him. I know you will be able to find the best option. As long as you keep him involved in the discussion, then you know that you are listening. smile

      All the best to you and especially your son! smile

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    • Posted

      You all make valid points but we are talking about a very sensitive age group and children suddenly becoming adults.  It is never a smooth ride for both parents and children.  And never mind how much we are open to talk, listen and support still doesn't resolve some of the serious issues. There is often other reasons or traumatic experiences they had that they might feel they can't talk to us about.  We sometimes have just to be there showing them love and giving them the time they need without pressurising them to talk or take any rushed decisions.

      Both of my children suddenly changed after a happy childhood and I was out of my depth.  Now they are young adults and settling down well.

      Also, I would agree with Bob starting on mental health medication ought to be treated with great caution.  It is best not to go down this road.

      I opted for it and now know was the wrong decision.  

      Of course all cases are different  and very difficult for parents to know what is the right thing ...


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