Anxiety & Depression in Young Adults
Archived Q&A and Reviews
- 20 year son having severe anxiety and dropped out of college
- Depressed 20-year-old needs help finding a job
2 years ago I thought I would stop reading this forum because my son turned 18 and went to college out of state. I had no idea that I would posting in the teen newsletter as a parent of a 20 year old.
My son went thru some depression (hid the problem from us in the beginning) earlier this year which turned into a severe anxiety disorder (OCD). He never went to the college therapist as he didn't think they would help. He dropped out of the out-of-state 4-year college(after failing the winter and spring terms),and now refuses medication for his problem. He has severe panic attacks/OCD that stop him from going anywhere freely (he has a car), stays at home all day, doesn't want to look for a job, he wants to keep playing video games all day to keep himself calm. He has disconnected from all his friends (he had few to start with) due to the stigma, and doesn't want to exercise.
We are considering CBT therapy for him. But until then, he needs to occupy himself; we are looking for some volunteer position/ or a place for him to spend his day produtively until he can go to a local community college. We are working, immigrant parents, and at a loss how to help him become social again. He has no one to talk to the whole day. He has a severe reassurance seeking problem as well.
Looking for some advice desperately. Desperate mother
I'm so sorry your son is going through this. I'd put almost all your energy into getting him into CBT--I don't see how he can realistically do much else until he gets his anxiety under control.
To that end, I would make it mandatory that he attends CBT if he wants you to support him. Put your questions about how to occupy his time/support him to his CBT therapist. Hopefully you can find someone who will help you partner in the process, so that, for instance, you know what your son's exercises are so you can provide encouragement to him to do them and feedback to the therapist about whether it's happening.
My foster son has a variety of emotional problems, and that's what's worked best for us--finding a VERY good therapist and then getting advice and help from that person. This has been very effective. Before that, we were just struggling on our own to make meaning of the situation.
My other suggestion: contact your local chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). Most counties have one; if you don't like yours, try a neighboring county. They offer a great peer support group class that's free and meets weekly (at least it used to). You will meet many other parents there. It will really help you. They have other services as well.
I personally don't think that anti-anxiety meds are all that helpful. They are habit-forming, and they do not get to the root of the problem, and I don't even think they're that effective. This was my experience when watching my ex go through anxiety that led to being home-bound. Your experience may vary.
And lastly, it takes great courage to overcome anxiety. You are asking your son to face major fears all the time. Imagine what you are afraid of (heights? tigers?) and picture yourself facing them day after day. It's hard. If he wants to heal, he will have to be brave. good luck to your family
I am sorry to hear you and your son are going through this painful time. I think that it is wonderful that you are considering CBT therapy for your son - this could help him get some traction on the depression and fear symptoms (which could make it easier for him to get back to doing more healthy, productive activities again).
One outlet for social support I wanted to recommend is through the International OCD Foundation. Under their ''Find Help'' tab, they have a list of local OCD support groups, as well as online and phone OCD support groups.
I wish you and your son well on this path to recovery. Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can be helpful in terms of cognitive-behavioral therapy for your son (or provide referrals for CBT folk in the area). I also work as a mental health counselor at Chabot College in Hayward and could give feedback about beginning at a community college. Best wishes, Jennifer
Hi, I would like recommendations for a career counselor for a young adult (20). We need someone that has lots of resources, not just suggestions. My son has suffered from major depression since he was about 15. He is finally working with a psychiatrist that seems to be getting him on the right track. My son took the CHSPE to get out of high school and has worked some minimum wage jobs. The longest he held a job was about 14 months. This was a major achievement for him especially since he found the job on his own. However, he is now unemployed and somewhat lost as what to do with his life. He has an interest in cars and DJing. We would love to find someone that is good working with this population and is not outrageously expensive. Thanks, never stop being a parent
Don't waste your time and money with a career counselor/coach. No matter how well meaning they are, they have zero training dealing with depression and psychological issues. It wouldn't help your son, and in fact, might hurt him. It's good you have his depression under control with his psychiatrist monitoring his meds. It sounds like the next step is to find him a good psychotherapist. In due time, as your son works through his issues and starts to feel better, he will be able to make the career decisions that he can't make now. Anon
Look into WorkLink in San Francisco, http://www.transcen.org/worklink/. They provide an employment service for people with all sorts of disabilities, and I'm guessing your son would fit within the population they serve. Their services include career counseling, job placement, and working on the transition into adulthood. They start from a positive view of the client's talents and interests, and help identify jobs and careers where the client can be happy and successful, taking into consideration their dislikes and challenges. Best of luck to you and your son. Mother of another late bloomer