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17 year old using drugs, possibly depressed. What do I do?

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17 year old using drugs, possibly depressed. What do I do?


17 year old using drugs, possibly depressed. What do I do?

Hi I’m new to this site and was wondering if could get some advice about my brother. He is 17 years old and has no ambitions in life except going out with his friends to do graffiti or drink/do drugs/smoke. He currently has no job, and now wants to quit highschool with no ambition of doing TAFE or some other form of education.

Despite being strict, my parents have spoiled all of us growing up. My sister and I always joked Mum and Dad went easier on my brother when it came to strictness because he was the baby of the family. However my brother feels now he should have no consequences for his actions, and I think my parents are realising now they need to be strict on him to prevent him from ruining his life. But this just ends up causing more arguments.

We moved quite a bit from where we used to live, so my parents would drive him to his mates house back in our old neighbourhood since he didn’t have a license. My grandma also died around that time as well so I think that effected him quite a lot too.

We eventually found out he wasn’t hanging out with those friends anymore but a new group who influenced the beginning of his drug use as well as his grafitting addiction. This was 6 months ago, and nothing has changed- in fact things are getting much worse. He is taking harder drugs now and I’ve noticed his personality has changed a lot.

He has told my parents he is going to quit drugs and smoking on multiple occasions, but has lied to them each time. They have even stopped him from hanging out with his “friends” as punishment, which resulted in him verbally abusing my parents and then running away.

He has no interest in anything anymore, and spends most of his day inside his room sleeping or on his phone and hardly interacts with my family anymore. My parents have tried on multiple occasions to get him to come along to the doctors to get a psychologists appointment, but he refuses to get any treatment. Despite trying to help him, my brother acts aggressively to my parents, saying they are belittling him for making out like he has a “problem.” He says he can’t deal with my parents anymore interfering with his life. He says they stress him out with their help, and that they he won’t let them control him no more and that they are preventing him from being a “normal” teenager. My parents get abusive texts from him all the time saying how much of a failure as parents they are and that they don’t love him at all, which is totally untrue.

I don’t know what to do because he is ruining his life at such a young age with drugs. He is causing such immense pain and suffering due to the drugs/ not going to school/ constant lies/graffiti and verbal abuse. My parents only want to help and I want to at least help them help him. Any suggestions on what I should do?

Sorry for the long post, your responses really mean a lot to me.
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Re: 17 year old using drugs, possibly depressed. What do I do?

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Hi @Bubble_girl01 and thank you for your courage in reaching out to this community. I can hear how concerned you are for your brother, and he is very lucky to have a sister that cares about him as much as you do Heart


It sounds like there has been quite a few changes in your brother's behaviour the last few months including drug use, graffiti, and disengaging from your family. I can understand why you are feeling concerned. You have mentioned your parents have been trying to uphold boundaries more firmly for your brother, but that he has not adhered to these. Did you notice the changes in your brother before or after the drug use?


I'm hearing that he is not open to seeking help right now, and I can imagine that must weigh on you when you can see all the things you want him to seek help for. We often encourage parents and family members to go and seek help on the person's behalf. It may be the case that speaking to a counsellor or professional yourself (or your parents seeking professional support) may be helpful in finding some new strategies to approach the situation. Would your parents, or yourself, be open to something like this?


This community is mainly for parents, so you might get some good ideas how to approach the situation here, otherwise I would also encourage you to post to our youth community as well if you are under 25. We have a lot of young people supporting family members, and you may find more support there too Heart


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