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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I help my son through depression?

    My son has a history of drug abuse for about 10 years, started with pot and progressed to anything he could get.

    He has now been on the Methadone program for about 14 months and has tried so hard but occasional he does take too many antihistamines or Panafen plus.

    He is very depressed has put on 40 kg and does not want to leave his room, he has no interest in life and all he wants to do is sleep.

    He is on 2 different anti-depressants but I guess they are not working. Can you help me please.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 3


    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    I am sorry to read that your son is not in a good place at the moment. A few suggestions:

    (1) Often matching the “right” anti-depressant to the “right” person is a matter of trial and error. Eg, the first one that I was on was (for me) useless but what I am on now is (for me) great. It might help if you encouraged your son to talk with his prescribing doctor, discussing the option of an anti-depressant with a different mode of action with him/her.

    (2) I don't know how extensive his professional care team is but you could encourage him to work with a clinical psychologist. Clinical psychologists can provide “talk therapy” (for example, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)) - often a combination of medication and talk therapy is more effective than either is in isolation. A clinical psychologist with experience of CBT or ACT as well as working with clients who have substance abuse issues could well be helpful.

    (3) As far as his weight is concerned, a Practising Accredited Dietitian would be able to offer him advice about eating in a healthy way, though my inclination would be to give this a lower priority than my suggestions under (1) and (2) above.

    All the best.

  • 3


    Matt Strickland


    Kids and Teens Psychology support children, adolescents and families with a range of psychological difficulties.We work exclusively with children, adolescents and their families to provide … View Profile

    Hello, sorry to hear about your son's and your family's difficulties. I have a few suggestions and I apologise in advance if these have already been offered or you have tried these. Of most importance is that there is someone remaining hopeful for your son. Given you are seeking some advice, I'm assuming this is you. My view concerning depression is that this results from a lack of hope and that often this means that those around the person experiencing depression need to remain the keepers of this hope. Secondly, I would suggest listening to and validating any emotional concerns your son has or expresses, even if they may not be in keeping with what you feel is reality. Often when emotions are validated they then feel contained and thus more able to be ‘coped with’ and even challenged. Feeling validated also helps people to feel there is someone on their side. You also need your own support network as whilst you are the container of your son's emotions, you need someone to be the container for you! It is also important to seek professional help and this may come in the form of seeing your GP or a psychotherapist. It is likely that you will need to see these professionals before your son will as his desire to do this at the moment may be limited (apologies if this sounds condescending). Whilst this may seem harsh, it is also important not to make things too comfortable for your son. Small amounts of anxiety when our needs are not fully met can be motivating. I hope this has been os some help or has given you something to reflect on. Good luck, Matt

  • KrazyKat

    HealthShare Member

    If you make the choice to look after yourself, it's difficult looking after a recovering drug addict, I suggest you try attending a Nar-anon group.

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