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19 year old with PTSD, anxiety and depression - refusing help

 

Here is our story. Our son has always suffered from general anxiety. We did a lot of therapy with him when he was young to give him better coping skills, which seemed to work well. He still had anxiety, but he was a school leader, had lots of friends and did reasonably well in school.

 

This last year he was the victim of a horrific attack (I won’t go into those details here) and it has had a major effect on his mental health. He is now going through a major depression, he is having anxiety attacks and I now believe it is turning into a psychosis - as he is having irrational thoughts, withdrawaling from everyone, has said he hears voices telling him to do things and he thinks everyone is against him. On one hand he recognises that he is suffering from PTSD and depression, but then refuses any help or support. He has now dropped out of University, he is sleeping a lot and drinking a lot. He has a part time job that he still goes to, but he is withdrawing from life more and more. He often threatens to leave and cut off all ties with everyone or says things like ‘the world would be better off without me’. He is angry, irrational and very hard to live with. I think the anxiety sets off his fight or flight response whenever we talk about getting help - so he fights with us then threatens to leave (flight). We are learning to stay calm and not get drawn into the fight, so we can continue to reassure him that there is help for him and life was not always like this. We keep trying to love him through it, because he is obviously in a lot of pain, but he continues to push us away.

 

As he is 19 and refusing help, what can we do? While he has thinly vailed threats of self harm, he has not actually attempted suicide, so I don’t think we can force him into treatment? I am so scared that we are loosing our beautiful son. I have no idea what to do and every day it seems to be getting worst. 

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Re: 19 year old with PTSD, anxiety and depression - refusing help

Hi @LoveMum, welcome to the forum. Thank you for sharing your story with us and we're sorry to hear about your situation. It must be hard for both yourself, your family and your son. Is there someone that your son trusts that may be able to be a starting point for an external support network?

For urgent assistance, call: