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Teenage depression and medication

Teenage depression and medication

Casual scribe

Teenage depression and medication

Common problem I know, but currently struggling with 18yo who has depression. Dealing on and off with it in past 2 yrs but he has reached a very low point in his life now. Has tried medication before with minimal effect but discontinued after several months. Had at least 10 therapy sessions which were ineffective and he won't try that path again. Fast forward to now - convinced him to attend GP appointment 6 weeks ago, started medication and attended 1 follow up appointment. Has refused to go to further appointments and has stopped taking medication  again.  Have tried in every way possible to encourage him to stick with meds and hope for some improvement because I worry he will continue in a downwards spiral if nothing changes.  He won't talk to anyone either in person or on the phone who may be able to guide him through this difficult time so my only hope at this time is medication. He is closed off from everyone, family and friends, and is unresponsive to any discussion so I do all the talking. Have run out of words and ideas to try and get him back on medication - I'm not relying on a magic pill but hopeful he will see the world in a more positive light if he takes it for a period of time and then he may consider further counselling. Advice/suggestions would be welcomed.


Re: Teenage depression and medication

Hello @AnnieB,


Firstly, welcome to the ReachOut forums. Thank you for taking the time to share what is going on for you and your family at the moment. It seems like your son's depression has been ongoing for some time and has been quite difficult for you.


It's wonderful to hear the level of care that you have for your son and the efforts that you have made to support him. Have you been receiving any support yourself?


In terms of your son and his refusal to take medication or engage in appointments, it would be really hard trying to support someone you love who is not actively engaging or responding with you. Has he discussed any reasons why he is refusing medication or further appointments with a GP?


It can be a lengthy process for anyone to find the right combinations of medication and GPs or mental health support that fits. It is often a very personal journey to be willing to accept help and to work through ongoing issues and side effects of medication and therapy on the journey to recovery through mental health issues. Whilst your son is going through this, what are things that you have been doing to take care of your own needs?


Our community is very resourceful and they may have other ideas and perhaps previous posts may give you more insights.


We're here for you and think it's wonderful that you're seeking help. Look forward to hearing more from you.

Casual scribe

Re: Teenage depression and medication

Thankyou for your response. I know that I can only continue to support and encourage my son as he has to be an active participant in his own recovery to better mental health and I can't do it for him. But it's exhausting, both physically and mentally as I am the only one who can talk to him and it all falls on my shoulders. He is still living at home with us (parents and siblings) but the others are all poor communicators. I know in theory all the things I should be doing to make sure I'm ok too, but when he's down so am I and I know at the moment I am just existing but not living. I have also been undergoing treatment for cancer in the last 10 months so I don't have a lot of energy to try and motivate him to get outside or join me in a walk etc., and any offers of a short trip, visit to the shops or to see friends/ family have been refused. You asked about his reasons for discontinuing appointments and medication but the only response I get is that he feels that it's a waste of time. His self esteem is at rock bottom and he probably thinks that he isn't worth the fuss. I know I'm saying the right things to him and offering alternative responses to his very negative views on everything but I've run out of ways to ask and encourage him to continue his treatment. I worry if I push too much or too often without offering anything different from our previous conversations that he will shut down altogether or just leave. He has done that before (briefly) and it didn't solve anything because he didn't change anything, just his accommodation!
Community Manager

Re: Teenage depression and medication

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Hi @AnnieB 


It sounds like you are dealing with a lot at the moment, I really admire how much you are trying to support your son even when you have a lot going on yourself. However, sometimes we need to put ourselves first in order to be the best support for those around us. Are you getting any support with how you are feeling at the moment?


Cancer treatment can be extremely exhausting both physically and mentally, are you getting any support for this? The Cancer Council have some great local support groups available, you can find more info here.


We also have an article that goes into what to do when your teenager doesn't want help, that you might find helpful. It can be very frustrating and worrying when your child won't accept or continue with the support you can see they would benefit from. Hopefully this will give you some extra strategies to try, whilst making sure you're also looking after yourself too.



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