My 17 year old brother is so lonely and sad(12 Posts)
I'm on here writing as an older sister, not a mother. My 17 year old brother is a funny, healthy and good looking boy who up till about 5 months ago had a steady stream of friends and social activities. He was confident and happy. Now, he appears to have no social life and is rarely contacted by his previous group of friends. He comes home from school, goes to his room and sleeps. The weekends are the same, if not worse as he doesn't even get the social interaction he would get at school. I've caught him smoking weed in his room on several occasions- the thought of him doing it socially doesn't stress me out as much. Its the fact that he clearly finds a release and comfort in doing it on his own. I can tell he is high most evenings. I really don't know what to do, i don't know what has happened and i can see his confidence and personality dwindling. I can tell he's sad and lonely- he's implied it several times as well however i struggle to speak to him as i get emotional. I'm really worried he's wasting his young life away, he's got no motivation (except playing football 3 times a week). I'm looking for any sort of advice, any similar situations and i guess some sort of hope that this will turn around. I've been making a subtle effort to spend time socially with him, but there's only so much comfort a 17 year old boy can get hanging around with his 24 year old sister.
He sounds depressed. Would he let you take him to the doctors?
I don't think he would, and even so, i don't want a doctor prescribing him anything that will dampen his personality or something he will come to rely on.
Have you spoken to a parent about it? Someone needs to try and talk to him to find out what is going on and why things have changed. The fact he still plays football 3 times a week means he has not cut himself off completely. Is he close to your parents? I think you need to involve them.
If someone is depressed then antidepressants have some role in treatijg that illness. They are not something he would become dependent on. I'm not saying it is depression but its worth considering.
I think the fact you would get emotional talking to him is not necessarily a bad thing. It may hit home for him how worried you are. The trouble is as well if he is already low and using weed regularly he's at risk of developing paranoia which would only compound the problem.
Has anything happened to him to make him withdraw?
Feeling you care could be really important for him x
Antidepressants and adolescents don't go together. Much higher suicide rates in young people when first prescribed. The weed probably won't be helping because it takes away motivation, but it can help some people deal with depression. I've certainly known several people who claim it helps them, but I guess they may just justify its use to themselves.
Has he moved from school to college? What do your parents say?
Tell your parents and let them deal with it
He does sound depressed and its hard to say whether the weed is a sympton or cause. He does sound isolated from his friends but on the positive side he is still playing football 3 times a week - which is good for him physically, mentally and socially.
Could you try talking to him about whats going on? Has something happened with friends, is it by choice, drifting apart or did something happen? Maybe try and find out whether there is anything still going on (eg online) and check how things are going at school.
I'd definitely discuss it with a parent - it needs sharing. When a similar thing happened with my DS we got in touch with his head of house at school who talked to him and found he he was being bullied (DS never knew I'd seen or spoken to the teacher). We worked out a plan that involved me and my DD.. It got much better due to a range of issues/elements.
The risk is that if he continues with heavy weed smoking on his own (I agree with your distinction between social and on his own excessive use) he will isolate himself even more and it could impact on his mental health, motivation and school performance.
Please check his vitamin D levels, it can be a real problem as winter develops. My 17 year old was severely deficient (25mol - level should have been 70-100) it can lower your mood and might be a reason he has turned to weed. It also makes you incredibly tired and lethargic, even if you take exercise (as he obviously does) A doctor could give him a simple blood test to check for folates, iron and B vitamins, and Vitamin D. Failing that you could force him to take those chewy vitamin d3 tablets, at least 1000iu dose a day. Vitamin D is not available in sufficient quantity in food, even in fortified foods like milk or cereal, sunlight in summer is only way to get it!
Yyy to checking vitamin D..
Also, just going to doctor with depression doesn't mean they'll be rolling out the anti-depressants then and there. With such a young patient they may well take their time:
dd had to wait 2 years despite suicide attempts. Having said that, the ADs, when she finally got them, turned out to be a lifeline and she went back to something far closer to the active, alive girl she used to be. She has now come off them, as far as I know without withdrawal symptoms, but they did a great job at the time. Probably much easier to give up than weed, once you have become emotionally dependent on them. Not for everyone, but not a bad thing for everyone either.
Please, please, please remind him that cannabis can have a seriously detrimental affect on mental health. My sister smoked weed and was one of those unlucky ones who ended up with a schizophrenic breakdown.
You need to tell your parents that he's struggling if your brother can't do it himself.
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