My Adult Son Has Been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Severe Depression and Anxiety

I just don't know what to do anymore. My son first started showing symptoms of social anxiety his junior year of high school. He is a very intelligent person, but his grades started to drop significantly. He lost many of his friends, quit the school football team and started to self medicate with pot. He started stealing to pay for his pot habit and almost wound up in jail. Our pediatrician referred us to a psychiatrist once his symptoms of depression started. He was under psychiatric care and taking Prozac for close to 4 years and was doing much better. He graduated, got a job and had a social life. The Prozac had a bad affect on his sexual drive and he convinced himself that it was also causing all sorts of physical problems and decided to stop taking it. By this point he was 22 years old. His sexual drive returned slowly, but after about a year his depression and anxiety started to return. He totaled 3 cars and has gotten so many tickets, he cannot afford car insurance on his own. I put his current vehicle in my name and he is now on my insurance. He is reckless and irresponsible, then fearful and reclusive by turn. He started stalking his girlfriend 24/7 thinking she was cheating, even during working hours, and soon lost his girlfriend and his job. He has now developed a pretty severe case of paranoia to the point that he is altering reality as he sees it. He has become obsessive compulsive and spends most of his day researching terminal illnesses on the internet and then tries to convince everyone that he has them. He is verbally abusive and disrespectful to me and I'm the only one he has left that still wants to help him. He has threatened to commit suicide on a daily bases and screams and cusses at me for trying to speak with him. He is intolerable of anything and everything. He has terrible bouts of crying and raging and breaks things in our home. I cannot sleep at night worried that he will hurt himself or someone else. My husband cannot even be in the same room with him anymore without losing his temper and they get into horrible screaming fights. He thinks my son is just faking all of this to avoid working and getting out on his own. He avoids being in the house for most of the day, so therefore, never sees all that I'm dealing with. Our marriage is suffering terribly from the strain and he keeps threatening to leave if our son doesn't get his life together. I've tried talking with my son, being sympathetic, giving him tough love, and even threatened to kick him out if he didn't get some help. He finally agreed to go see his psychiatrist last week after he threatened to commit suicide and rammed his head into a wall hurting his neck. It scared the crap our of him when he realized what he could have done to his neck!! I took him back to his psychiatrist and he was prescribed a lower dose of Prozac as well as Wellbutrin. He took the first dose the next day and was a different person! I felt like I was in a dream! Each day he got a more calm and focused, and was telling me how he did need the medications and that he felt better. Today is day 7 and he told me this morning he doesn't want to take them anymore. I told him if he didn't stay on them he had to move out, today! He had a screaming fit and tried to convince me that the drugs were damaging him. He won't even let me speak, he keeps telling me I don't listen and I just want him drugged. My husband won't even talk to me about it. He keeps telling me he needs to be locked away if he is really mentally off, that medications are ridiculous. He said our son is a sociopath and has been manipulating everyone for years. Who says that about their own son?!?! I feel like I'm in between to brewing storms. They both tell me they hate the other and constantly threatening all sorts of crap. They avoid actually talking to each other and scream at me instead. I can't take it anymore. I can't eat or sleep. My nerves are completely shot and I'm exhausted. My married daughter tells me to just pack up and leave them to each other. I don't have her ability to shut off emotions and walk away. Plus, she is working full time while getting her masters degree. She has a lot on her plate so I cannot burden her with my problems so, I haven't told her about today's fight. I don't have anyone else to talk to about this. What do I do? How do I convince my son that these drugs are his last recourse? Do I kick my son out onto the street? He has nowhere to go and no money. I couldn't live with myself if I did that! Do I let my husband leave? We have weathered so many storms in our marriage and it kills me that a problem with our son could destroy it, but how can he not want to understand that our son is mentally ill?! Not to mention, I'm in real estate and money isn't a constant. We rely on his steady income to pay the mortgage and bills when my business slows down in the winter. God, that sounds awful and shallow! Its not like I only want my husband around for his paycheck, I love my husband. We've been married for 26 years. I have lived with him longer than I haven't and I don't know how to be without him. I just can't take it anymore. Can anyone relate?? Can anyone help me??


Well-Known Member
My opinion.

Your son is a man. He is abusive and violent to himself and others if he isnt on his medications and he wont take them. Apparently he is choosing to be mentally ill because he wont take his medications. That is his fault. Your husband wants a peaceful home, which is what i think you should want too. To be honest, it sounds as if your son could very well be taking street drugs.

In my home, 22 year olds are adults and responsible for themselves. Rescuing your son from being unable to drive is not good for anyone in my opinion. He is too reckless or intoxicated to drive and in my house over my dead body would i either help him get access to a car nor help him have insurance, regardless of the toddler tantrum he may throw. Unless he did the right things and took his psychiatric medications and got a steady job, he would be gone. When my daughter took drugs, she had to leave. I did not feel good allowing her to live at home while she broke the law, hung out with scary people and frightened my younger kids. Guess what? She turned her life around. It has been twelve years. Will your Son do the same if you do tje same? Maybe. Maybe not. But he definitely wont improve under your roof.

I dont believe in allowing them to break the law or abuse us under our roof, nor supporting them financially after age 18... i dont feel it is good for them or us.

Meth can cause paranoia. Maybe?? Stalking is not mental is abusive behavior meant to terrify the victim. He is lucky to not be in prison. This is a serious crime.

If this were me, I would choose my marriage and a safe home over shielding son who wont take his medication. Yes, it is gut wrenching to make them leave. But it is better for them to learn that there are serious consequences to that sort of behavior than to coddle it. What reason does your son have to take his medications, go to therapy and become a better person if he can live in a warm house with good food, money, a car you pay for, and the power to scream, yell, carry on and control both of you? He even has control of your marriage! What does that show him about being an adult?

Also, in my opinion our house should be our sanctuary. Does your daughter have to come home to this chaos? Or does she hopefully live on her own? If she lives with you, she matters too. You all matter. This is not your little cute eight year old boy anymore. He is a tall, strong man who can hurt with both his fists and mouth.

I am not trying to be harsh but your son's behavior in my opinion makes him a danger to the entire family. Obviously, it would be better if hub could just walk away, but he doesnt...i still feel he has the right idea, minus engaging son in arguments. in my opinion Son should leave until he is medicated and gainfully employed. He is able bodied. He can work. Actually, he is old enough to get a job, his own place, therapy and medications and never live with you again.

Many good wishes. I know how hard this is. I had to do it. I hurt at first, but the pay off was great. She is wonderful today. Your son needs some incentive to do better. Right now he has none.
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100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

I agree with SWOT. I know how much this hurts but you deserve peace and happiness.

You deserve to have a home that you can go to and relax and unwind. Your home should be your port in the storm; not the storm!

DO NOT choose your son's destructive behavior over your marriage.

I would recommend that you seek therapy for yourself and husband (if he'll go) to learn how to deal with your son.

You can see by my signature that we have been through hell with our son who is also 22. It almost tore us apart too but I thank God everyday that it did not. My therapist helped me to see that I needed firm but loving boundaries - for myself and most of all for my son!

It does NOT mean you do not love your son. Actually it's just the opposite. You want him to get the help he desperately needs.

More will be along with their advice and support but you can read along too. A lot of information is on the substance abuse forum on this site that I think will be very helpful to you. The fact that you came here and posted your story is a good start. You realize this is bigger than you can handle alone.

What I've learned here:

Nothing changes if nothing changes. You may have to force the change.
Your happiness matters too.
Firm boundaries are needed for you as well as your difficult child/man.
Take what you want and leave the rest.
You didn't cause it; you can't cure it' you can't control it.

You can't do this alone. Please get some support for yourself and keep posting. We're here to listen.


Active Member

I’m so sorry for what is happening to your son and family.

I have not been at odds constantly with my husband over how to respond to our son’s issues, but have recently had a spell of feeling split between being a wife and being a mother. That was very hard and isolating. I feel for your loneliness.

I couldn’t possibly diagnose your son, but Bipolar sufferers often stop taking beneficial medications because they are entering a manic phase and either think they’re fine or do not want to miss the high of the mania. Sometimes SSRIs can trigger mania, so you should inform his psychiatrist about the developments, and maybe he or she can get him back in.

Is there someone else who doesn’t trigger him who might be able to help him gain insight into how he acts on and off medications?

Or maybe before the medications wear off, you could record how he speaks to you, so he can compare it with his tone unmedicated. Even just letting him hear or see in a quieter moment how abusive his tirades are, could be enlightening.

But you would have to have a very caring and even professional tone in attempting this.

Regardless, living in fear of your son is not sustainable for you or your husband. Maybe you can agree on that principle, and on boundaries for your sons behavior.

Sometimes it helps just to deal with the transactional stuff and leave the whys out of it.
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Well-Known Member
there are similarities in our stories.

i kicked out my son when he was 22. the hope was he would stand on his feet. he was hostile and depressed. he would not get treatment.

he became intermittently suicidal. leaving did not propel him to mature. for six years he self medicated with marijuana. he could not hold a job. he was homeless off and on.

when he was with us he was aggressive and manipulated with suicide threats.

my son will not take ssri's for the same reason. he has tried various medications and could not tolerate them.

this is the thing: there is no amount of self-sacrifice on your part that will change this--until he does his part. even 10%.

right now your son appears to not be doing anything to help himself.

it is not helping him to let him behave abusively and with hostility towards you or in your home.

honestly. i know how hard it is to push them away.

but my son survived. he is maturing. in fits and starts.

i did not help him by trying to protect him. he needed to come to the point where he wanted to, was invested in protecting himself. there had to be some buy in by him.for himself.

he is presently in treatment living near us.

honestly. this gets harder and harder for me. at first my heart was hard. compared to now. it is really hard now to see how far he has fallen. but i see this was the only course.

do i second guess myself? all of the time. but i know there was no other way.

the fact that my heart is broken is not the issue. the issue is my son. will he learn to deal with himself, life's challenges? mental illness does not abdicate the need to learn to deal and to chose responsibly.

and if he cannot or will not choose responsibly there are social services that will take responsibility.

appropriate support is just that. it is not sacrificing everything. it is not doing for. or taking control (which is my wont to do. )

as long as i do these things i am standing in the way. i am blocking the very things i yearn for for him: self-suffiency. accountability. responsibility. self-control.

i am glad you are here. you are not alone.
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Well-Known Member
Staff member
Welcome. I'm sorry you are going thru this with your adult son. As you can see, you're not alone, many of us here have been in, or are in, the same shoes, it's a very difficult path to be on.

You might try reading the article at the bottom of my post here on detachment. Another good resource is a book called Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie. If you haven't already, you might get in touch with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They can be accessed on line and have chapters in many cities. They offer parent courses which you might benefit from. Many of us here have taken those courses. They offer support, guidance, information and resources. Contacting them may offer you more options. Private therapy is a choice many of us opt for. We need the support to make hard choices and to stick with our boundaries and a good therapist often can provide that for us. I'd encourage you to seek professional help. Many here also find solace and comfort in the 12 step groups, Al Anon, Narc Anon, Families Anonymous and CoDA.

Many of our adult troubled kids have profoundly negative impacts on our lives, our marriages, our health and our general well being. We are dragged around by their chaos. Most often our kids don't change, they often don't have any incentive to change as we enable them and provide for all of their needs. It is generally US who have to do the changing. As is often said around here, "nothing changes if nothing changes". Unfortunately those changes are not easy for us, we have to detach from our kids dramas, choices, behaviors and lifestyle's.

You matter. Your life matters. Your needs and desires matter. The sanctity of your home matters. It sounds as if you are at a choice point and in my opinion, your son is the one who needs to begin to suffer the consequences of his choices.

Do I kick my son out onto the street? He has nowhere to go and no money. I couldn't live with myself if I did that!

I think there are likely more options then he either stays in your home and destroys your lives or he is out on the street. There are shelters. There is medication compliance. There are boundaries. There are rules. NAMI may be able to help you with options. Therapy will help you to see options as well.

Hang in there. This stuff is very hard. Keep posting. Seek support for yourself. Focus on yourself. Make your needs and desires the priority. Your son is a grown man. You are not responsible for him. Begin to take your life back. I'm glad you're here.