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Social Anxiety in eighteen year old.(8 Posts)
My nephew is 18 and seems to have some sort of social anxiety, he's always been a bit shy but he seems to be completely retreating into his bedroom. He finished his A levels last year but didn't want to go to Uni and deferred because he couldn't face it. He rarely leaves his bedroom for anything other than food. Won't sign on because he's scared he'll be quizzed about getting a job and he is too scarred of getting a job. He says he doesn't need money. He won't go to the GP - he pretty much avoids talking to anyone. His Mum is suffering from depression and feels very low and helpless, she doesn't think she can encourage him to seek help and as an adult she can't help him anyway. Money is very tight, mum is on a low income and no longer gets any money towards her son's up keep.
We need to help but we are not sure how to proceed - wise ones we need help, this family are drowning.
I completely agree with you. Something has to be done and now is the time.
- You, or his mother, could get in contact with his school. Did he have a year head or guidance teacher? Although he is out of their care, most schools I know would want to help a former pupil.
- Depending on where you are, there could be local charities that could help. The links below take you to specific pages/sites aimed at young people.
A long term goal could be to get some work experience for him or to get him to take part in some sort of activity that gets him out of the house. My local gym takes troubled youngsters on for work experience as the guy who runs it is great at building their confidence and self esteem.
Thanks for your reply ! The mhis parents have tried to get him engaged with voluntary work but he won't do it.
I wonder if limiting his wifi connection might encourage him to at least leave his bedroom - or maybe that's a pointless step? I doubt the Mum would contact his old school - she didn't rate their approach - felt they told her what they thought she wanted to hear - they told her he was doing great, confident in class, asked questions etc. I remember her saying to me it was like they were taking about a different child and it seems likely they were.
Sounds tough. It's possible he can't leave the house because of his anxiety. My DD was like that for a few months when she first developed it. Forcing the issue by doing things like switching off the wi-fi would have made things worse (I mean that kindly).
We printed a self help booklet off the internet, from a site called Mood Juice. It's probably the same sort of stuff you'd get through CBT counselling, but we had to wait 8 weeks to see CAMHS so needed to take action. Being a teenager we didn't exactly sit together and work through it - she was a typical moody, not willing to engage much, type. But she worked through it herself and found it helpful. She was relieved to realise what was 'wrong' with her, and that she wasn't alone in having these symptoms.
Are you close to him? Could you talk to him about it? Or at the very least just give him the booklet and say 'wondered if this might be of any use? Might be helpful in discovering why you're feeling like you are?' Whilst acknowledging that you may be way off the mark and it might not be social anxiety at all.
Good luck, I hope things turn a corner.
Forgot to say that the booklet had some very practical suggestions. E.g. Identify the places that make you feel anxious (going on a bus, going to the shops, going to my friends'). Then number them in order of which makes you most anxious to least anxious. Now aim to do the one that makes you least anxious (going to my friends'). And you slowly work up to being able to do the most anxious one.
Trouble is, I had to be fully on board and supportive etc. For example, DD couldn't get the bus to her friends as buses were high on the anxiety list. So I drove her. Just thinking of his mum and how she's struggling with her own issues and may not be in a position to provide such full on support. Anyway, they are lucky to have you and I hope things improve for him.
Thanks Peebles we're not close to him at all mostly when we visit he just stays in his room. Occasionally he has come out to lunch with us but he doesn't want to talk much - he used to engage with my dcs really well but now has no interest. He seems chronically shy and getting more so all the time.
I was thinking leaflets would be a good way to get him to think that there is help out there, he needs hope. I worry he can't remember feeling more confident - he was at 14 and thinks this is just the way he is. We were thinking he might agree to see a therapist who did home visits to begin with, someone who didn't need a GP referral.
His Mum is coping with daily life, holding down a job etc despite being depressed but she probably doesn't have the energy to seek out a solution, she is just convinced nothing is going right in her life and can't see a way through. But she is starting to try to encourage him to come out of his room and do stuff he enjoys around the home. And would be able to help him work his way through a program of graduated challenges.
Limiting wifi doesn't seem to be a good strategy as he is on his phone a lot rather than gaming. I think his parents thought he was displaying typical teenager behaviour for quite a few years but without the need to attend school he has retreated to the safety of his room.
So we will try to nudge both his Mum and him in the right direction - we can't talk to him about it, he'd be horrified and mortified but we can help his Mum see a way out and just be a listening ear we know we will need to tread gently.
Peebles - just managed to pull up that site - it's really good, we'll pass on the link. When you say She was relieved to realise what was 'wrong' with her, and that she wasn't alone in having these symptoms. I think this would help him enormously, these are symptoms of a condition - not who he is and who he can be.
We might be wrong with our diagnosis, there's a possibility that he may have other issues too that we are not aware of but if we can get him to take the first step forward in getting and wanting help - hopefully the professionals can take over from there.
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