Does My Son Need Hospitalization?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From the U.S.: My son,is fourteen years old and is an eight grader. He complains about voices telling him to kill himself and other people. Although he does not feel he is a threat to himself or others, but I am not so sure. He is very agitated at times, depressed at times, and also not emotional AT ALL. does he need hospitalization? I don’t know what to think… help please! Sincerely,

A: Thank you so much for writing. You must be terribly worried. But before jumping to the conclusion that he needs hospitalization, please do two things: First, take him to his doctor for a complete medical check-up. There are a number of medical conditions that can cause this kind of thinking. You want to be sure that you’re not missing a medical problem. If he checks out medically, then take your son to a mental health professional for a thorough evaluation to see if there is a mental health diagnosis that needs to be addressed.

Please don’t wait any longer to do these things. Your son is in enough distress that he is telling you about it. Give him lots of credit for that. Many teens don’t share this kind of information with their parents because they feel they have to handle things on their own. It speaks to the positive relationship you have with him that he is reaching to you for help. Do take him up on it. Hopefully you will both get answers. Equally important is that your son will know that he can count on his mom for help.

I wish you both well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Jun 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). Does My Son Need Hospitalization?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/06/03/does-my-son-need-hospitalization/