Depressed daughter, we need advice.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by troubledchild, Jun 29, 2015.

  1. troubledchild

    troubledchild New Member

    My wife and I are looking or guidance. Our 15 year old daughter took a handful of aspirin about a month ago. She was in the hospital for a few days then went to a behavioral unit for 3 days. This was a little over month ago. Two weeks later she took 15 Tylenol and was in the hospital a couple days and back in behavioral for 4 days. They changed her medications and she seemed better. She is also cutting.

    Today my wife took her to her appointment and I found she had stopped taking her medications along with hidden razors. I am afraid for my wife since I work away from home two weeks a month. We just ask her why she wasn't trying to help herself and she said the medications were not working. I am sick of this and want to know what others think we should do. I am really leaning to tough love.

    We do have all medication locked up now, along with knives and razors.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome.

    I don't know what problems your daughter faces. But from the brief description you give us, it doesn't sound like the problem is substance abuse. There is some form of mental illness at work here.

    I really feel for you, because getting help for mental illness is... touch and go. When you do get good help it is amazing what can be done. But a few days of in-patient doesn't do much.

    Who is she currently seeing? a psychiatrist for medications, or just the family doctor? is there a therapist/counselor involved? Has she had a formal risk assessment?

    And then... is this behavior new? or has it been going on since she was young?
  3. troubledchild

    troubledchild New Member

    She is seeing a psychiatrist and counselor. This is really fairly new. She was cutting a couple of years ago but was pretty calm since until now.

    My main thing is she says she wants help but doesn't take her medication. Of course I am the bad guy here for searching her room, but I would and will do it again.

    We want to help her and have her at the best psychiatrist that we can find. They even told her today to give the medication 3 weeks.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Ask the psychiatrist for a game plan if she continues to not be medications compliant. She's old enough that you can't "make her" do anything.
  5. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    My suggestion is to control the medications. Ensure they are taken. Other than that ensure she gets to her Dr Appts, control access to sharp objects, and thats about all you can do.

    Depression and cutting aren't really the kind of thing tough love helps with in my opinion. The only type of tough love I want is when I need to get out of bed and am suffering depression. Other than that I mostly just need time and patience.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    What medications have they given her?? I've been on medications since I was 23 and I'm 61 and I have depression. Sometimes the medications made me even worse and I quit taking them, but I was always willing to try something else, although by the time I found something that worked I had gone through so many antidepressants I didn't believe anything would help anymore and it's miraculous that I tried something else. Some of the medications made me suicidal or MORE suicidal (Prozac, Zoloft). Some made me hallucinate (amitripytelyne, imiprimine). I mean, full blown hallucinations strictly because of the medications. Plus my throat started closing up. Some helped me maybe 50% better, but I had to take them up to 8 weeks for them to work at all AND THEY ALL MADE ME HUNGRY.

    If she is concerned about her weight, getting her to take a psychiatric medication will be hard. Does she have an eating disorder or does she worry about weight gain? I'd say that is the #1 reason many people will not take psychiatric medication. You CAN take them without weight gain on a very strict diet but if you want to eat normal food and regular sized meals, you will be hungry all the time. I never knew what hunger felt like until I started antidepressants and mood stabilizers and antipsychotics such as Risperdal and Seroquel and Zyprexa are even worse for weight gain. Depakote is bad too. Lithium. All of them.

    Ask your daughter why she won't take the medication and ask with understanding. There is no way to fix this without knowing why. If it's weight gain you can take her to a nutritionist who can help her keep her weight down, even if she's hungry and give her skills to fight the hunger pangs. If the medications make her feel horrible, I'd ask the doctor to change the medications. My own experiences are that if the medications don't work at first, that's normal. But if the medications make you feel horrible at first, most likely they will not work long term and the side effects will only get worse. There are many medications to try so one with a lot of side effects for your particular child can be changed to something that may have less side effects with her body chemistry. Everyone is different.

    There is a blood test now to help the doctor figure out which medication may work the best. Did the psychiatrist do this blood test? If he didn't, I would suggest you are not getting the newest technology or the highest quality in a doctor. This is being done all the time now.

    I wish you luck. The medications game is not fun. It took me ten years to find a medication combo that helped me almost 100%. That's a long time to wait and be a guinea pig. medications, except for the blood test, are largely hit/miss and I got frustrated many, many times. The medications that caused side effects for me were always intolerable and I was compliant on my medications, but I'd always insist on a change if a medication was making me sick, overly sleepy, having nightmares, etc.

    Cutting is serious. It is sometimes a symptom of abuse in the past. My best friend and daughter cut and both had been sexually assaulted while young.

    Good luck to all!!!!
  7. hopefulmom

    hopefulmom New Member

    Hey Somewhere Out There can you tell me more about the blood test? We have our daughter at a very expensive and well-respected psychiatric, and there has been no talk of a blood test. She's currently on Prozac but it's not working. One of my friend's daughters is on Zoloft and is doing very well. I am really afraid of the whole switching process because I worry about how it will affect her!
  8. Hopeful97

    Hopeful97 Active Member


    I have an 18 yr old son. Started having symptoms of mental illness very young, first diagnosis age 9. I can suggest a couple of things, make sure the psychiatrist specializes in child and/or adolescent psychiatry. Make sure the counselor/therapist speciality is children/adolescents. My experience is specializing with children/adolescents/young adults is very important as their brains are still developing, medications must be carefully chosen and their should be good communication between psychiatrist, therapist and parents.Your daughter is young enough (as was my son) that those lines of communication should be open.

    At your daughter's age you cannot make her take her medications. With my son around age 12 or 13 we had to watch him take the medications, literately watch him swallow and make him stick out his tongue and check his mouth all over. That only lasted a short time. There are a lot of tricks some learned from time spent in hospital.

    The blood testing is fairly new and not always accurate. Not saying that it wouldn't be an option.

    There is a lot of hit and miss but you can find tools that are and will be helpful. It takes time, educating yourself and passing onto child as best we can. If interested there are pics of brain scans out there that show a "normal" brain next to brains with various mental illnesses and you can see the extreme differences and discover some of what area controls various emotional functions, what chemicals are missing or that there are not enough of or that there are to many of. A good site is very educational.

    There is an organization that has tons of resources and information, they have locations all over the USA. A wonderful organization.. well worth checking out a priceless asset for those with mental illness and anyone's life touched by mental illness in any way shape or form.

    I hope this helps.
    Prayers for you and wife..

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  9. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Hopefulmom, this is an old post, it may take awhile for response, just wanted to let you know. I am so sorry for your daughters troubles and hope you find the answers.
    take care
  10. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    We had a test done by our pysch to help determine which medications might work best. It was not a blood test but a DNA test. They swabbed the inside of his mouth for this. We then got a full report of which medications to stay away from and a list of the ones that would likely work best based on his genetic make up. I did do some reading about these tests and the validity of them is mixed.
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't take results from a test like this to be "the" answer. But it probably provides a better starting spot than most, in that there are genetic leanings away from certain types of medications, and toward others. Start there... you can always try the others if nothing else works.
  12. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    Hello- I think you need to get to the root of the problem of her cutting first. I found a great place that explains "cutting" and various reasons folks resort to this action(see below). It is a form of addiction like drugs to a drug addict. Blood test for finding right medication, great idea as well. Perhaps hypnosis to do a deep dive to try find out if anything happened to her earlier in life (abused). I am glad you are here and there are wonderful folks who can advise you and provide options on helping your daughter.

    There is even a book on this website to help you understand the cutting.
  13. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    Agreed, cutting and depression are not situations that I feel would warrant tough love. There is an issue there that needs to be dealt with. We found out our daughter was molested as a child and we had NO idea until she finally got help and worked through her issues. Once she was able to work through that, I honestly feel that was the turn around for her...
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Cutting is addictive. I had a very close friend who cut and it took her years of therapy to quit. She had been abused very badly in her family of origin in every way possible so maybe it's why she had trouble quitting, but s he called it "addictive." Depression can be treated. It is one of the most treatable psychiatric problems that exists and is made worse if there is any drug use.

    While I wouldn't exactly call it "tough love", I do think it is appropriate to insist Daughter gets help and tries hard in therapy and maybe takes m eds in order to keep her cell phone and other toys. She isn't helping herself. She has to be willing to be brave.

    I was all alone when I first sought out treatment (I have a longstanding trial with moods and anxiety). My parents did not understand and were not particularly helpful. I was not allowed to come back to their house after I married, a lthough I was unhappy in the marriage. I think their forbidding me to come home was the right thing to do. I had to learn how to advocate for myself. I was suicidal at times. I did not cut, but was a mess in my 20's and early 30's and the medication trials were hard and took over a decade to work. But I didn't give up on me. I kept trying. I don't know if I would have done so if my parents had wlecomed me home, all worried about me, and done whatever I wanted because they were afraid I'd kill myself. As it turned out, I did have suicidal thoughts, but never tried to kill myself allndl dlidl not turn to recreational drugs f or relief. It was hard to do, but I am now able to easily advocate for my needs and now consider myself a pretty strong person.It takes longer than three weeks for psychiatric medications to kick in. More like 6-8 weeks. Three weeks is too soon. If one medication doesn't work, there are others that may. There is now a test you can take that genetically determines which medicine MAY work best for you. They didn't have that back in the day and it was trial and error. I have friends who took that medications test and, although a small amount of people, the ones I talked to said the test was useful to them.

    Depression and cutting will not go away by giving grown child al free place to lie around with no incentive to get help. Laying around is very bad for depression, although it can be hard to get up. You just have to try.

    I never think we help anything that is not terminal by babying our grown kids. If I had done that to my autistic son he wouldn't be independent and awesome. We gave him support services, but basically treated him as if he were just a regular kid. He is now twenty-two.

    It's hard to think of the right thing to do. I wish you both all the best and more.

    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sometimes you have to think outside the box. Instead of trying to "solve the problem", sometimes we have to buy time, create something for the person to "hang on to" so that they don't go over the edge.

    If you can get her interested in an intensive activity that is really a long-standing interest, it can help.