Depressed and Anxious

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hi, I’m sixteen years old and a male. I’ve been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder since age 13. Also, I have used numerous drugs, alcohol, self-harmed, contemplated/attempted suicide twice, I don’t eat or treat myself very well, have critically low self esteem, etc. I’m living with my mother and older brother, they both express concern with me. I sleep too much, and have had to switch to online high school due to sleep issues. I used to do well in school, but now I have no motivation to do anything. I have things I enjoy doing, but I don’t enjoy them like I used to. My mother feels like she is an inconsistent parent, and I think that she tried to make up for it by punishing me harshly for every slip-up. It makes my quality of life much worse. I like the thought of suicide, although I don’t plan on it. Help?

A. You stated that you been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety but have you received treatment? The fact that you continue to experience symptoms indicates that if you are receiving treatment, it’s not working. You also mentioned suicide but don’t have a specific plan to end your life. Any thoughts of suicide, even in the absence of a plan, are concerning. Your family is concerned about you and rightly so. By your own admission, you are not well.

It’s imperative that you seek mental health treatment. Ask your mother if she would be willing to have you evaluated. A mental health professional could determine what may be wrong but more important, develop an appropriate treatment plan to deal with your symptoms.

You may also consider family therapy, a type of therapy that includes your family in treatment. You mentioned that your mother is an “inconsistent parent” and is contributing to your unhappiness. Family therapy could address that problem directly. You can suggest this type of therapy to your mother and or the mental health evaluator, who could advise you about how to access family therapy.

In the meantime, try to improve your self-care. Not eating, depriving your body of the nutrients it needs to function properly, is likely contributing to your emotional instability. Your body needs food to survive and without it you will not feel well physically or psychologically.

You also mentioned that you don’t “treat yourself very well.” You’re using illegal drugs and alcohol and engaging in self-harm. The use of drugs and alcohol can also significantly increase your distressing symptoms. Alcohol is a nervous system depressant and can intensify your depression. Drugs and alcohol alter one’s mood. The initial ingestion of drugs or alcohol may seem to improve your mood but it does not last. Drugs and alcohol alter your brain chemistry and ultimately complicate mood disorders. Avoid all drugs and alcohol.

Finally, self-harm is a form of self-destruction. When people engage in self-harm, it usually means that they lack important problem-solving skills. The most efficient way to learn these important life skills is through the assistance of a mental health professional.

I hope you will take my advice. Speak to your mother about seeing a mental health professional and do what is necessary to receive treatment as soon as possible. Don’t ignore your suicidal thoughts and go to the hospital if you feel you might be a danger to yourself or someone else. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 May 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Depressed and Anxious. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/05/22/depressed-and-anxious/