Severely depressed teen. DH against use of medication.(60 Posts)
Ds 17 is having a terrible time with acute anxiety and depressive illness. We are waiting to see the psychotherapist and have seen the Dr and a private psychoanalyst. I feel it has reached a point where Ds would benefit from some medcation to help him function and not be in constant tears / panic mode. DH is really against this as he worries it will block his body from it's own natural healing and will just put Ds in a drugged up state.
Whilst I am totally in agreement that Ds needs to talk to a therapist , eat healthily , exercise etc. etc. I also believe it's reached a point where his suffering is so acute he's unable to help himself and could do with a helping hand to feel a little better in order to start to see a future for himself.
I am really struggling with DH's attitiude as he is not seeing the extent of Ds's suffering that I am witnessing. Friends who have suffered depression have said that medication really helped them. I'm not one to go rushing down the medicalised route but I believe drugs prescibed by a professional who knows their stuff can sometimes be life saving necessity. How can I help DH understand this ?
It's clearly really important for Ds that his parents are united so he can feel confident in his treatment.
The centre dealing wiith his case have advised me to fast track his treatment by taking him to hospital Emergency dept. where a psychiatric doctor could treat him sooner.(otherwise his appointment is not until December) We are not in the Uk.
Does anyone have a story of teen depression and antidepressants that I can share with Dh ?
at 17 it should be your ds's decision, not your h's.
My daughter(15) has been taking fluoxetine for a year now. They escalated her dose gradually and she is now optimised. She is like a slightly more moody than average teen at the moment.
Before the meds I didn't know her. She was so withdrawn, removed herself from the family dynamic, so alone and unable to even talk to us. The fluoxetine has brought my daughter back.
Sertaline have been a godsend for my ds (15), he takes 100mg, he started at 50mg and is like a different boy since starting them, he doesn't suffer the anxieties he had surrounding school and friends.
He will stay on them for 6 months (all being well) then weaned off them.
I agree it should be DS's decission but Ds is not sure how he feels about the idea and is looking for guidance. He was initially against it but he keeps breaking down and crying uncontrollably. He says he's too hopeless to care either way.
Ds is not aware that Dh and I are not in agreement as DH has been away. I mentioned to Dh on the phone that I had been advised to take DS into the hospital and that I imagined they might offer him medication and DH was really against it. I don't want DH to come home being negative about DS's treatment.
Ds is unable to go to school at the moment, has let go of his friends through social anxiety and is clinging to his girlfriend like a drowning man. He clearly needs help.
It is your sons choice, not your husbands.
If your son had cancer, would your husband want him to have chemo?
If he had a serious infection, with pus and everything, would your husband deny him antibiotics?
If he had migraines would your husband say he cannot have painkillers?
Sometimes the body needs help. Sometimes help comes with side effects but they are worth it because treating the condition is so important.
Your son needs and deserves a life. A good quality life.
For how long is he to cry every day and be overwhelmed by anxiety before he is allowed to give medicine a try?
Its easy for your husband to say no because it isnt him suffering this.
It isnt a question of your son fighting this off by eating well and talking. He needs help and he has the right to it.
I didnt get the help i needed as a teenager until after i tried to kill myself.
You dont want that to be the point at which you pull out all the stops. Try everything now, including meds.
I believe that CBT is proven to be more effective than anti-depressants, is that a possible option?
would your husband refuse medicine for your son if he had a physical health problem?
'block from natural healing' - yes, that's called doing nothing. Humanity did it that way for centuries, and many more died because of it.
Tom Cruise is a crap actor, not a role model.
I've had a similar situation recently. But it was me taking your DHs view.
I realised that a) I'm not a psychiatrist b) I'm not the patient and c) the stakes are high.
Like Wimpy's DS the improve my has been dramatic and I'm so pleased I kept quiet about my reservations.
I understand the reservations on medication. I worry abpout his developing brain, side effects, long term effects ,dependence etc. It's encouraging to hear the improvments people have seen in ther Dc's wellbeing.
Why not encourage your son to go to the doctor and see what's recommended? He sounds as though he's in a terrible state and really needs help.
Would your husband say the same if he was ill himself? Would he refuse all treatment? It's ridiculous to deny your son the chance of recovery for the reasons he's given.
I would explain it to your husband this way - from my own, personal history with depression and anxiety.
When you are severely depressed, as it sounds as if your ds is now, you cannot do the things you need to do, in order to recover - you can't eat well, take exercise, look after yourself, sleep properly, participate in therapy - you just CAN'T!
Taking the antidepressants should allow your son to recover enough of himself that he can participate in all the other things that will help him to recover. They may also keep him from plunging further into depression, to that terrible, black place, where the only way out is suicide.
It may also help him if he understands how they work - the SSRIs inhibit the re-uptake of serotonin in the brain - serotonin is a neurotransmitter that, amongst other things, helps us balance our moods, and contributes to wellbeing and happiness. If this is reabsorbed or taken up again too quickly in the brain, it cannot work - it's like putting oil into a machine to stop friction, and immediately wiping it away again - the machine will suffer from friction damage.
Taking an SSRI means that the serotonin stays in the brain, and isn't taken up again or reabsorbed - so it can do its job.
Ds has been to Dr's and was referred to an adult psychiatric dept where he has been assessed and is now waiting for his appointment withthe psychiatric doctor. We are not in the uk so the formalities are a bit different. Because of high demand his appointment is not until mid Dec. We've found a private psychotherapist but they can't prescribe medication. The unit have advised me to go direct to the hospital to fast track seeing a doctor who can prescribe.
Going back to my first point - you could use the analogy of a plaster cast on a fractured limb. The cast does not heal the fracture, but it supports the limb, whilst healing takes place.
In the same way, antidepressants support the person whilst other therapies and lifestyle changes help heal the person.
I have been depressed since I was 14 - but sadly it wasn't recognised or diagnosed until I was in my 40s - up to that point, no-one had pointed out to me that it is not the norm for a 14 year old to be considering suicide, and I never connected my feelings of low self esteem, low self confidence, self-hate and low moods with depression (even though I was a trained nurse!). I was diagnosed with PND after each of my children were born, but I suspect that I was simply suffering a recurrent bout of depression each time.
I have come to accept that depression is always going to be part of my life. I have had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, as well as group therapy, and the CBT has taught me a lot about myself and my illness, and how I can manage it in my daily life - and if I am honest, sometimes I do better than others. But it is manageable, and your son can live a contented life, with the black dog of depression the size of a little scottie rather than a Bernese Mountain dog.
thanks for sharing your experience STDG that's exactly the kind of first hand description that will, I hope, help Dh understand. It's also very helpful to understand how the meds work.
I am so sorry to hear that you have had to live with this alone as a child and have suffered throughout your life. I am glad to read that you have developed an understanding and strategies to help you cope.
I took ADs as a teenager and came off them in my 20s. I'm now acutely aware of the things I need to do to keep myself well and can keep them up. I have a successful job and have a really good life; there is light at the end of the tunnel. But if I hadn't taken ADs I don't know that I could have got here. I think I needed them to level me out so that I could start to help myself.
I was very lucky and had a lovely team around me and benefitted from CBT etc. I still book myself in for counselling if I feel things are going to collapse in on me, and so far that's managed to keep me well <touch wood>
Someone explained to science behind it as SDTG has above and that really helped; I'm not medical but the way I see it is that, when you've a tendency towards anxiety and depression, you're just a bit faultily wired. In the same way that diabetics have issues with insulin, I have an issue with serotonin.
You are more than welcome - and if there is anything else I can do to help, please ask.
Don't forget to look after yourself - I know how hard it is to look after, and live with, someone with depression (dh is a saint).
Big hugs to you, your son and your dh.
Why don't you break your husbands leg and tell him to see how effective his bodies own natural healing is then, preferably while he's writhing around on the floor screaming for pain relief.
Medication for mental health serves (in an ideal world) to work in conjunction with psychological therapy and support. My experiences as a mental health nurse are primarily with working age adults but I do have a good knowledge of untreated illnesses in adolescence which have gone on to produce some extremely damaged adults.
I suppose that is my fear Mrssmith. That i don't want this depression to become entrenched ( not even sure if it works like that ? ) Looking back I can now see that the signs have been there for a long time but I imagined they were just teenage angst.
It's really important to me, now that we've realised what's happening, that Ds isn't left to suffer any longer than necessary. It breaks my heart to read of teens who have suffered alone without support.
If your dh has been away it is possible he will change his mind when he sees just how ill your son is.
The thing is none of us parents who have children on ADs etc actually wanted them on medication. I would say all of us wanted the exact opposite. But when your child is truly suffering from what is a medical condition, you realise that the best choice may be medication.
It is also so true that there is stigma about medication for mental health issues that there certainly not for physical health issues.
We agonized about the meds our teen dd takes. At one point she wanted to quit (over the summer) and we agreed because we didn't want her taking anything into her lovely self either. Well I will never forget her entry to school in the next couple of months - misery, anxiety, school refusal, self harming, absolute social isolation, inability to do school work. The meds aren't a cure all but they help get her to a point where she is functioning so she can do CBT (or DBT which I think is great for teens) and family therapy etc.
YOu need therapy as well as meds but a lot of people can't benefit from therapy until their depression has been put into remission by meds.
Good luck to you and your son.
Personally I'd be wary of just counselling or CBT. I've had 3 rounds of CBT, none of it worked, whereas anti d's kicked everything into touch.
In the UK it would be your son's decision due to his age but it is difficult as no one can know if and how it will help. In our case my DD was 14, in the darkest of places and not able to engage with talking therapy and it helped . She might describe the feeling as levelling the downs, but also the ups, and after a year or so came off them , as she felt a bit numb. But in crisis now I think she would take them again. It's not necessarily a forever decision, and maybe your DH will accept this is everyone trying their best, especially your DS for agreeing to try. I hope they offer regular talking therapy alongside, as this is important so he can learn other coping strategies and in the UK meds are not meant to be offered without talking therapy for under 18s, although worryingly they seem to be. If he is being treated as an adult it might not happen . In the UK, once kids turn 18 there is very little help, even if they have been in hospital as under 18s so I hope things are better where you are.. Effects of meds can take a few weeks, and keep a careful eye for the first couple of weeks , but I do advise careful planned stopping when the time comes, as the withdrawal symptoms were difficult. good luck to you both.
I think it's worth trying different things and seeing which one works best. This research found that fluoxetine is about as effective as omega-3 (fish oil) tablets although taking both was far more effective than either one on its own.
Join the discussion
Please login first.