18 year old son refuses to take his medications

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by cjohnson296, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. I am so glad I found this site I felt I was the only one going through this.
    My 18 son decided to stop taking antidepressants because he is 18 and refuses to finish high school. I know

    I cannot coddle him and am offering him choices: he can stay here and finish high school without medication, he can go back on medication and therapy and stay here and hopefully will want to go back to school or he can get a job and live here or he has 2 weeks to get a place to live. I love him and it hurts me to have to do this but an adult can't stay home playing video games forever.
    How do you get them to leave your home? I am really unsure of this step and hope it will not come to this.
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  2. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi cj, welcome to the forum, sorry for your need to be here. If this is your real name, you may want to change it, we are all anonymous, being that the public has access to this site. You have a few ideas already on how to move forward with this. It is hard when our kids become adults, live in our homes, but want to do things their way. You may want to check out your state laws, some states require an eviction process, even for adult children. My niece did this, for her adult kids, who were disrespectful to her, and would not follow house rules. I hope it does not come to this for you, but the fact is your son is an adult in the eyes of the law. Even if he does have difficulty with depression, he still has to learn to cope with it, and be a responsible adult. This is your home, your rules. I hope things go well for you. I had to ask my eldest to leave when she was 18, it had become too much, refused to listen, follow rules, disrespectful. If d cs are going to act this way, they do not need to be in our homes and make us miserable. You are correct, one cannot just sit around and play video games. I would think this will only continue, if you do not put your foot down. Setting rules and boundaries is important, then following through with them...otherwise the same old, same old will drag on forever, and before you know it, years go by. You are doing your son a big favor, by letting him test his wings. The sooner the better, is what I have found to be true. Wish you all the best. It is hard. Keep posting, others will come along. It helps to get ideas from others who have been in similar situations. Depression is tough, but folks have to learn how to take care of themselves, get treatment, and exist in society. Take care cj, you sound strong and have considered much already. We are here for you, you are not alone. {{{HUGS}}} leafy
  3. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi and welcome to the forum.

    We have to set ground rules for how we expect adults (our adult children) to behave as they grow up but still aren't ready to launch and need to live with us. If they don't want to live by our rules, which hopefully are few and reasonable, then once they are 18, they can make other arrangements. After all, according to the law, they are adults at that point, even if they don't act like adults.

    With my son, I was willing to allow him to live here while he was in college. That is, until he flunked out, started acting very rude and later stole from me. Then I found out more about the extent of his drug and alcohol use, and started setting more rules and boundaries, and writing contracts (not worth the paper they were written on) and there was a lot of conflict. Finally, I had had enough and he walked out the door.

    The next few years were more painful than I could ever have imagined.

    So, given my experience, and that you are at the beginning of this with your son who is depressed and doesn't want to take the medications, I would suggest this:

    1. Get all of the professional help you can get. Go with him to a therapist and ask him/her to help you both. Consult his physician (with him involved) about the fact he doesn't want to take medicine and how he behaves when he isn't on it. If your county mental health services are available to you, get them involved. Don't try to do this by yourself.

    2. Take away the video games. Set reasonable rules within your home about chores, lights out, a part time or full time job, contributing some $ for rent, etc. It's not reasonable for an 18-year-old young man to sit and play video games all day and all night. Put a stop to it. Take out the Wifi if you have to. If he doesn't like living there, and gets "bored" enough maybe he will move out without you having to force it.

    3. Take care of yourself. Start putting yourself first. Read the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. Most of we mothers have awful boundaries with our adult sons. We truly don't know where they begin and end, and where we begin and end. We are separate people from them. It's time to start realizing that and acting accordingly.

    4. Use this forum as a sounding board. Most of us have been there and done that. We are glad to offer thoughts and ideas, and you don't have to do any of what we recommend. (isn't that great! : )

    Hang in there. Eighteen year old boys don't have a clue, quite frankly. You're the adult here. He has a lot to learn. Stand tall and claim your power as a Warrior Mom!

    Hugs on this Monday!
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I'd be interested to know WHY he is choosing to become non-compliant with medications. It could be that the medications are not working for him, or that he has an incorrect diagnosis or is missing an additional diagnosis. Been there done that.

    It could also be that he is using "non-compliance" as a way to be able to quit school. Given what our family has experienced with school, it's entirely possible that he is actually "school non-compliant". I know, the current "world" expects our kids to all get their grade 12. Even if it kills them. I'm serious - school almost killed TWO of my kids - not just the most challenging one.

    At almost-18, it's harder to get to the bottom of it all. We allowed ours to quit school... on condition that they were either working full time, or some combination of school and work that was equal to full time - and ours has complied with that requirement (and, having been allowed to drop out of school, has remained medications compliant as well).
  5. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Frankly, once they hit adulthood, living at home is a privilege, not a right.

    I'd make taking his medication and either going back to school or getting a job conditions of his continuing to live at home.

    Otherwise, give him the notice required by law re: eviction, etc., and chuck his butt out.
  6. Thank you so much for your replies I feel better already! I offered him options, if he was to live here he needs to see therapist and go to school if he is not willing to be on medications, he did not go to school today but agreed to go to therapist. Keeping fingers crossed for tomorrow.
  7. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    He also needs to see the doctor who prescribed the medications to tell him or her why he is no longer taking the medication.
  8. My ex wanted a 2nd opinion on his medication treatment, son liked other dr but she was horrible and put him on medication that kept him sleeping all day, she wouldn't listen when I told her it seemed to be wrong medication and I think that experience turned him off to medications. He was fine with his medications until this happened, and I am so sorry that I went along getting a second opinion.
  9. I am in phone contact with his psychiatrist, hoping psychologist may be able to talk him into trying again. He may listen better to a professional than his mother.
  10. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    He may have good reasons for not taking the specific medication he is on. One side effect of SSRI/SSNI medications that can really be an issue, especially with young men, is that they cause difficulty is attaining/maintaining an erection, and difficulty in reaching orgasm.

    There are also other unpleasant side effects, but the sexual side effects of modern antidepressants are the main reason younger men especially quit taking them.

    These medications affect women in the same way, by the way. If he is experiencing side effects, but the depression is being helped by the medications, perhaps the doctor can try one of the older anti-depressants.

    in my opinion, therapy is just as important as medications in the treatment of depression.
  11. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I like this COM, yes 18 is young, and they do not have a clue, although, they think they do.....lol.
    That is rough DSM, we try to do right by our kids, it would be upsetting to me to have mine not be able to function after taking medications. I have read many posts where it is a matter of finding the right medications, so hang in there. I am glad he is willing to continue therapy. If he is not willing to go to school, maybe he at least can get his GED. Good luck dear, stay with us, keep posting and let us know how things go for you and your son, we care. {{{HUGS}}} leafy
  12. You are all awesome thanks, I told him there were so many people going through this, I think that helped him too at least he is out of bed :)
  13. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    :thumbsup: Yay! That is great news........:staystrong: leafy
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    As somebody with a lifetime of severe depression that started in childhood, I can tell you that medications don't always work. It took me ten years to find a combination that worked well enough to make me feel pretty normal AND not give me debilitating side effects. To this day, I enjoy helping younger people who struggle with the stigma and discrimination and frustration of mental illness, primarily mood disorders. Some adults have found ways other than medication to control their depression. I tried, but the only thing that helped me was medication. But not everyone chooses that method to control it. And everyone has their own level of depression. Their is mild depression and severe and they are very different. I still get mild depression now, but I can function. Severe depression...you just can't and you don't want to do anything.

    Has your son ever been assessed for possible Aspergers? Just asking because a videogame obsession seems to often be connected to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

    Ok, here's my two cents.

    Your son is eighteen and I agree he shouldn't just play videogames. It's your house and your rules. This is what I'd do if it were my child. He would have to finish school or work full time, do chores, and pay some rent (young or not...he is choosing to give up his younger years by dropping out of school and is legally an adult). I would not take his videogame system as it is his and he is now an adult and as long as he works or goes to school, I just personally would not interfere with how he spends his free time, BUT I wouldn't let him live with me and do videogames and nothing else, depression or not. I would allow him to quit his medications and go to therapy and talk to the doctors about his choice about how to deal with his depression. He is an adult and his main problem seems to be a failure to launch, whether it's because of depression or not. Trust me, from experience, you feel even worse with depression if you sit at home all day. Yet it's hard to get moving and it's not intentionally being rebellious. But at 18, he has to do this himself or not do this himself. You have no legal rights over him. You DO have control of what he has to do in order to live with you.

    I quit many medications because they didn't work or the side effects were intolerable, however I would then try other things or other medications until I finally got stable. I did not give up. I did not have parental involvement and did it myself. I think your son will be more apt to decide how to treat his depression HIS way, thus comply, if you let him decide what path to take. He could also have been misdiagnosed and more or less could be going on with him...ten different psychiatrists, the only healthcare professionals who are legally able to diagnose (I think some PhD psychologists can too) could give him ten different diagnoses. When the majority think it's just depression, then you can be pretty sure he has that, but psychiatry is NOT an exact science and there are no blood tests. But your son has to WANT to go for assessments for him to be honest and get a good assessment. If he lies, the doctor has nothing to go by.

    I know people with mild depression who exercise and that's enough.

    Your son will know what is right for him, treatment wise.

    However, I do totally agree that he should be working full time or going to school if he wants to live in your home, depression or not. You may want to look up Aspergers Syndrome to see if you think it fits, but even if it does it is up to your son again to go for an assessment and accept help. Aspies do not necessarily need any medication to improve and many suffer mood disorders.

    Now you know your own son. If he is suicidal that's serious and maybe he does need to stay home. You really have to do what you feel is best for you son...but take care of yourself too!!! Hugs!!!!

    Good luck for both of you!!!
  15. Yesterday started out better after a talk said he wanted to graduate high school, and give therapist another month. Then the afternoon son's anger is escalating, shoved me while driving him to therapist that he said he wanted to see, I guess he changed his mind. Just emailed him list of anger management therapists, it's time for him to try to help himself. He said his anger is the only thing he feels anymore and that is why he does not want to live any longer. Not currently suicidal but talks of it in the future, says if I was a compassionate mom I would just let him fade away in his room playing video games. Also says all of the help I have offered was so I could feel good about myself. I didn't know depression was contagious because now I have it too. I wonder how much of this is manipulation and does anyone here have a sociopath for a son?
  16. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    OK. He just crossed a line a line (violence) that cannot be crossed. You now have no real option but to get him out of your house. It's a short hop from shoving to shoving harder, to actually hitting.

    Also, what you describe is suicidal ideation. You can't fix him, and I strongly suspect that drugs are involved.

    Compassionate moms do not allow their children to waste away in their rooms playing video games. They push their children out of the nest so they can learn to fly.

    The time has come to for your son to learn to fly. THis doesn't mean you cannot help him when he is going in the right direction, but I would NOT give him cash or buy him a car under any circustances. Do not let him drive any vehicles that are titled or insured under your name.

    You're help, if and ONLY if, you are able, should be along the lines of a bag of groceries here and there, and especially paying for psychiatric help. Pay directly to providers. Same goes for RXs. Pay directly to pharmacy, and a bit of advice from someone who's been there. His depression can be treated adequately without the use of controlled substances. Do not pay for psychiatric drugs that can be abused.
  17. Thank you again!
  18. Since he is 18 is suicidal ideation enough to get him into a hospital or as I fear he will show them he is ok and they will let him go?
  19. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    DSM, this is classic, for most of our D cs, to use some sort of manipulation or another. I agree with GoingNorth, that a line has been crossed. Violence is right up there at the top of the unacceptable list. It is a no brainer you are feeling depressed, this is getting out of hand and abusive. Even talking of suicide in the future warrants a 911 call in my book. It is taken seriously by authorities, and is cruel to you. DSM, there is a lot of research on video games and the affect on the brain. There is video game addiction. Whether drugs are involved or not, violence of any sort should not be tolerated. You are only trying to help your son. Have you seen a therapist? If not, it may be a good idea, a professional could give you some ideas also, on how to proceed and how to process all of this.....Stay safe dear, and let us know how things go for you. There are folks here who have had issues with other mental conditions with adult children, they will post. For me, it was more verbal abuse and just plain old disrespect, although, with drug use, d cs do exhibit mental challenges down the road. Do take care dear, and stay with us, posting here really does help. You are not alone. {{{HUGS}}} leafy
  20. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    At 18, he is an adult, and can sign himself out of a hospital. Suicidal ideation is not the same as being at active risk of committing suicide.

    The former will not get him admitted. The latter might. However, all he has to do is say, "I'm fine now." and they''ll release him.

    You have to accept that at 18, you no longer have any control over his life or the outcome.

    What you need to do right now, is to get him out of your house before he hurts you, and to read up on detachment.

    I'd strongly advise you to get into therapy asap. as well. You are going to need a lot of help dealing with this. More than this board can provide.