Why does my son refuse to seek help?


New Member
My youngest son turned 27 yesterday. While I am so thankful he is here another year, the past 2 have been incredibly difficult. My son has always been an introvert (in my mind) very quiet, an observer. Never had many friends through school. Many of his personality traits he shares with my ex husband. Which is why he's my ex. He moved with myself and his older brother to upstate NY in 2006 where we became a blended family with my new husband. He was a Junior in HS at the time. He did meet a girl and dated her for a while, but she stood him up for Prom and broke up with him. This is kind of where I saw things start to turn for him. He lost weight and.became depressed, got mad when Id try to talk to him, stopped doing things he enjoyed. He worked with my husband and I and we saw a big change...this lasted for about 4 months and he finally started to come around. And I began to worry less. He has always been sweet, funny, respectful, resourseful, neat and responsible. Clean cut. Smart. Kind. We went about our lives and he seemed like his old self. But something was different, he seemed to anger easily, became hard to talk too as he became very negative and cynical. Started taking everything so personally and felt like he had bad luck with everything. Most of the stuff he complained about were normal things , like flat tires. Lost cell phones, bad customer service etc. But he would always blow everything so out of proportion and would hang on to things for you days and weeks. 3 years ago. His older brother by 2 yrs moved to FL with his girlfriend. My youngest has always had some issues with his brother...they were very close..but very different in personality. My oldest looks different, acts different. Is popular and had no issue meeting people or making friends. He's a lot like me. But after he (R) moved...things got worse again for A. He became very depressed. Almost Despondent. Other people noticed too. Id try to talk to him and he'd cry and tell me that "noone understood him" and that he had been "depressed his whole life. "Had never been happy" . When I asked if he was suicidal, he said "he couldn't make any promises" I was beside myself with worry and tried to get him to see a doctor or psychiatrist. He refused saying "noone could help him". I had my own issues with anxiety and depression in my 20's and I could not understand...can't understand...not wanting to feel better! My oldest son R and his girlfriend broke up and he needed a room mate in Florida, we all decided the change of scenery and being with his brother would be good for A and after a couple weeks of persuasion he agreed. He left with 30k in savings, his car and we shipped his belongings in November of 2015. Things were great for a couple months. But he and his brother started arguing about girls coming to the apt ( my older sons friends) and stupid things like cleaning...he started to withdraw, wasnt looking for a job, he spent hours playing video games, and trying to meet girls online. Failing time and time again ...he started having angry outbursts, and became more and more withdrawn and depressed. I talked to him almost daily and was beside myself with fear and worry. My sister and brother in law live nearby and my sister is a Nurse Practitioner. She agreed to help me do an intervention of sorts in January. We finally got A to get in a car and go to a local treatment center, but 30 minutes after intake, they came out and told me they couldnt keep him because he didn't want to be there. They said he was hostile and clearly seemed depressed but even the texts I showed them where he stated "he hated his life and wished he had never been born" ad that he was " done with everything " werent enough to keep him. Fast forward to this week. He has about 2000 left of his savings, no job, says he hates his brother, complains constantly that noone "gives a s#/^ about him"(so wrong!) And I believe now that Im dealing with a bi polar depressed individual that is just giving up. He rarely leaves the apt or his room. Yesterday was his birthday...and while I can see that he does try...he struggles to maintain contact and interaction with me and other family...he ended the evening standing in the parking lot of their apt in tears. Im so scared for him. Ive tried all I know to help him. Their lease is up in November and his brother R is getting his own place because he cant live around A anymore and I dont blame him. A told me last night all he's ever wanted was "to he happy" but he doesnt think its even possible anymore. And 6 months ago...he started drinking daily. Which of course doesn't help anything and only makes things worse. He says "it makes him feel better and if it werent for the alcohol he's not sure what he would/could do". Ive read articles, researched and I still have no answers...Im devastated for him and I dont know what to do anymore. ....I moved to Florida in july of last year (it was in the works) but the anxiety of being so far away was too much for me. ....2 years later he's no closer to happiness, a job or mental stability. Is there anything I can do?


Active Member
Good morning,

I wanted to start by letting you know that you might want to change your photo and / or user name. I can tell a lot about identifying you as it is.

As you can see from my signature, my son has a couple of mental health issues. The most frustrating thing for me is that he won't get help. Or, be consistent about it. When he's on his medications, he's a different person. Unfortunately, something always compels him to stop taking them: laziness, denial, mental illness!

I wish I had advice for you. I can only tell you that you are not alone. Not getting help is a sad symptom of mental illness.

Sadly, the drinking will make the problem worse but is also not surprising to self medicate.

Good luck. I'll be reading the responses for ideas and hope.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

Your story sounds like many of the stories here. My son also self medicates with drugs and alcohol and has been in rehab many times and will spend his 22nd birthday there this Saturday. Then they have an addiction to deal with on top of everything else.

I feel that some people just struggle with depression and anxiety and THEY have to work through it their own way. What can we do? They are individuals. We are mothers, not therapists, psychiatrists or addiction experts.

Of course you are very worried. Who wouldn't be? As moms we worry when our children, even if they are young adults, are not happy and healthy and as moms we want to fix everything but we cannot.

I am not sure if you plan to let him live with you again after his brother moves on. But if you do I would have strict rules for him to follow in order to live with you such as seeing a therapist and being on medication for his depression. Help is our there and you may just have to push him. That's all that you can really do for him.

You may want to seek therapy for yourself to help deal with this and have someone guide you on how to parent him. I do see someone and it helps just to have someone listen.

Others will be along with their advice. Keep reading and posting here. It does help to know you are not alone!

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Welcome AM, I'm so sorry for what you are going through.

First, as Stillstanding suggested, please change your profile picture. It's best to be as anonymous as possible.

Your story is a familiar one. I and many others here know the heartache you are going through. Until your son truly wants help there is nothing you can do for him. It doesn't matter how much money we give them, or places to stay, until they truly want to change nothing will change for them. At this point with your other son moving into a new space, I suggest you gather phone numbers and addresses of shelters and places that your son could receive help at. I caution you against letting him move into your home for many reasons but the main reason is you do not want to continue to enable him. The more we "DO" for our difficult adult children the less they will do for themselves and we actually do more harm than good.

Please read this article on detachment. There are some very good ideas about how to do this.
Please know that detachment does not mean that we don't love them, it just means we are stepping away from their chaos and drama. Here's the link to the article.

Article on Detachment

Keep posting and let us know how things are going for you, we care.



You might also want to try making paragraphs next time, as reading a "wall of words" is difficult. I wish you the best!

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
Welcome, Annemarie. Your son sounds very depressed. Depression is an insidious liar which tells the sufferer that no one will help, no one cares, and there is no way to ever get better. Add in alcohol and the depression gets worse.

Do you think you could get him to agree to try an anti-depressant?

I personally believe that gaming is another addiction. I think that people, especially young men, feel powerful as they move through the games. They get so wrapped up in the virtual world that they don't learn how to function in the real world. I also think that for them the real world seems dull and lifeless.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Welcome AnnMarie. I'm so sorry you find yourself in this situation with your son. At your son's age, you are powerless to change him, fix him or control him. It is a terrible place to be. As Tanya mentioned, it may be a good idea to read the article on detachment, it is at the bottom of my post here as well.

I think a good place for you to start is to contact NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. You can connect online and they have chapters in many cities. They are a support for YOU. They offer parent courses for exactly what you are going thru with your son, I would recommend you give it a try. You will find resources, information guidance and support. You cannot change your son, but you can change your responses to your son so that you are in the equation and you get your needs met as well. I believe a vital part of this journey we find ourselves on is for us, the parents, to get as much support as we can so we can navigate this terrain with the information we require, but also with support and kindness, options and how to set our boundaries.

Hang in there Annmarie, this is hard stuff. You are not alone. Keep posting, it helps. Seek support. I'm glad you're here.