Academic/Emotional Help for 8th Grader

Our 13yo son needs help, badly. Historically an anxious over-achiever with some obsessive tendencies, during remote computer-based work he became increasingly distracted on the laptop, and now cannot focus for more than 5 minutes at a time. The result is homework taking HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS. We have tried web site blockers, standing over him to nudge, setting hard deadlines with anticipated academic consequences if he doesn't get the work done (though weirdly, not completing the work has never actually generated any academic consequences) -- none have proved particularly effective or impacted his behavior, nor are they really sustainable at this age. All of this is increasing his anxiety and personal frustration, resulting in very very late nights and thus late mornings, impacting his (and our) entire day. Compounded by 3-hour showers, 2-hour bathroom visits (and of course I know what that might suggest at this age, but this really seems excessive). We reached out to a handful of therapists with an emphasis on teen OCD, and the few who actually responded weren't taking new patients. But who should we even be talking to about this? Is it an emotional issue? A learning issue? An executive functioning issue? A school counselor issue? Where do we start? All suggestions welcome!

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I am sorry to hear about your son's struggles. As a mother of a young adult who's had multiple emotional and learning issues (and still has), here's what I wish we'd have done, or done more of. For one, does your son have something other than school that he's really into? Not necessarily a passion, but a hobby he really likes?  What about a job? Things like that help one ground themselves in reality and make it easier to take on academic and other "artificial" challenges. It's hard to tell from your post if he's attending school in person now, but kids and young adults need to have in person experiences more than adults. If school is all or a lot of it is virtual, that could be contributing to his lack of attention.

Speaking of attention, has he been assessed by the school district? Could he possibly have ADHD? If he's in private school, you can say your are thinking of transferring him to a public one and request an IEP. 

Last couple of things. A therapist or maybe a mentor/coach would be nice. Someone who could meet with him and talk to him about his interests and goals. That could get expensive, but might be worth it. I've heard good things about www.eastgatementoring.com

If I'd do it all over again, I would find a good academic coach for my son to work with. My son hasn't ever learned how to study and organize himself, and now that he's in college he's reluctant to seek help to learn that, and is having a very hard time with his classes.

As for long bathroom breaks and showers. I think I know what you are thinking, but another thought is... Have him tested for drugs. That kind of thing impacts ability to focus and takes up quite a bit of time, in a private space. Don't want to freak you out, but...

Take care, and take of yourself.