My brother is 15 and a freshman in high school. When he was young he was always polite and kind to others. He sometimes through tantrums, but they were just you run of the mill boy tantrums. Recently he has become awful to be around. He is rude to me, my parents, my sister, his girlfriend, and his friends. My family has spoken with him asking if anything is wrong and his only response is “I’m tired”. He has been moody, rude, disengaged, unfeeling, uncaring, and unmotivated. His grades are dropping in school and he doesn’t seem to care at all. He is on our school’s JV hockey team which sometimes has morning practices. All he ever talks about is how tired he is. I am worried that there is something really wrong with him whether it is depression, bipolar disorder, or anything else. Whenever I tell my parents we should get him to talk to someone, my dad just says he is being a typical moody teenage boy. I just want to know how I can help, if my dad is right, or if I need to take him to see someone. I just want my old happy, kind little brother back.
Your brother is lucky indeed to have such a caring big sister. Your dad may be right but it’s always a good idea to check out other treatable conditions before writing off someone’s behavior as a stage they are going through. Since your brother is complaining of being tired, the first stop should be his doctor. There are many medical conditions that cause fatigue. The thyroid is often the culprit. Sometimes the issue is a sleep disorder or a vitamin or mineral deficiency. If he hasn’t had a check up recently, your folks really should insist that he get one.
If he checks out medically, it’s possible that he is depressed. Depression doesn’t always present as being down. Sometimes the patient becomes exhausted and irritable. A common symptom is the loss of interest in things a person used to find pleasurable or exciting.
Finally, if he were seeing me, I’d ask him if he has become involved with drugs. It’s a difficult conversation to have but it’s still an important one. Weed, street drugs, and medications from the family medicine cabinet can cause a big drop in motivation and big changes in mood. If that’s the case, he needs help realizing what he is losing by using and he may need treatment.
Your brother may resist going to appointments. I hope you can help him understand that you want him to be checked out because you love him and don’t want him to miss the best part of being a teen.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
I Am Worried about My Brother
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). I Am Worried about My Brother. Psych Central.
Retrieved on July 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/02/21/i-am-worried-about-my-brother/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.