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Is Professional Help Needed

Discussion in 'Schoolgoers & Teens' started by MSree, Dec 22, 2019.

  1. MSree

    MSree Bronze IL'ite

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    A college freshman (CF) comes home for holiday break. CFs behavior is a big cause of concern. Parent has had conversation to find out if anything is troubling. CF has been sleeping 14 hours straight when asked CF says that catching up on sleep as it was a hectic first sem. First meal of the day is only at 2pm. Eats very very less and hardly 2 meals. Parent asks what do u want CF says don’t care. Make whatever. Parent has tried many choices but CF has no appetite. No fruits no milk absolutely. Before going to college though CF would fuss with milk but now had given up completely. Hardly eats any snacks. Has lost a lot of weight. CF says I am finally listening to my body. Will eat as need be. Behavior changes- stays aloof. Hardly speaks voluntarily. Hardly puts a happy face. But is happy when goes to meet a few friends. No conversation normally. Only when parent tries to ask if we should talk to a professional then CF manages to speak for 15-20 minutes a day. One parent thinks CF needs to be seen by professional while other says this is how many kids are. Somehow the concerned parent fears they have lost the child completely as whatever the parent did all these years CF is doing completely opposite let it be hair or dressing up or eating / sleeping habits. There are a very few occasions CF acts the same as before. CF said one thing that CF goes into a tunnel vision mode that CF focuses on one thing sometimes 6 hrs straight without a drop of water like painting or tuning guitar etc. at college CF has been taking hard challenging second sem/ year courses and whatever CF chooses to study is totally CFs choice and parents have never interfered in course selection. CF says I am not a people person and am an introvert let me. be. Will come to doc if it puts parent at ease. What should parents do ? Is professional help needed?
     
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  2. Topaz49

    Topaz49 Gold IL'ite

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    Make no mistake: It’s a major change, whether your child is headed to a nearby university or a cross-country campus.

    sleeping 14 hours straight: catching up on sleep as it was a hectic first sem. - Accept

    I am finally listening to my body: Is she over weight? Keep an eye

    Hardly speaks voluntarily... happy when goes to meet a few friends : Give her space - nothing to worry, as long as she is happy to meet new friends. She is not a little girl

    they have lost the child completely as whatever the parent did all these years: CF is doing completely opposite


    Letting go of our children is a tough thing to do. But it’s a necessary step that every parent must take. It’s a leap of faith that all the lessons we’ve taught them will help them make good decisions, problem-solve well, and develop responsible independence. If we hover, and continue to make decisions for them, and intervene every time there’s a problem, we’re admitting that we did a lousy job of parenting AND we’re telling our kids that we don’t believe in them enough to be able to handle themselves and their newfound independence.

    Below is the most important thing:
    **** CF says I am not a people person and am an introvert let me. be. Will come to doc if it puts parent at ease.

    Count your blessings and take CF to a psychiatrist (not psychologist). This can put your mind at ease and if indeed there is an issue, it can be uncovered before it is too late.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2019
    MSree and Thyagarajan like this.
  3. BhumiBabe

    BhumiBabe Platinum IL'ite

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    When I read this, it sounded like a male college freshman. I have met guys like CF, and it’s not all that odd. Very few of my female friends acted this way. But it’s not uncommon. I may have been like this. Personally, I don’t feel like professional help is urgent through the “symptoms” listed BUT I think it’s always good to talk to a counselor though. I personally felt depressed during my first year at college, and didn’t know how to express it or identify it.

    I had chosen my major poorly, and was unmotivated to party or meet new people. Depression does manifest through excessive sleep and withdrawal. But finals week is also brutal, so 14 hours of sleep during winter break is pretty normal.

    Many kids figure out their dietary needs in college. One if my vegetarian friends finally found out she was lactose intolerant and became vegan. Another one had gluten issues, that became apparent when eating a college diet.

    This is a transitory time for parent and child. I think it’s important for parents ease responsibility to child at this point. Like child is responsible for feeding oneself, laundry, learning about finance, managing one’s schedule and social life, exploring career options, etc.

    As a parent, since you are dealing with a teenager who is still in the process of growing, you WILL get pushback on some of these responsibilities. This doesn’t mean your child is lost to you. Your child will always know that you are there for him/her. They just might not follow your expectations to the T.
     
  4. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    As explained in BhumiBabe's post above, doesn't look like professional help is needed.

    Neither will professional help taken at this time and closer to home help the CF. Psychiatrist appointments take time to get, finding a compatible one takes even longer. Further, to help the concerned parents, the psychiatrist's approach needs to be one that involves parents a lot in it even though CF is 18+. If CF is seeing psychiatrist to put parents at ease, it is not useful in many ways. One - CF will give answers that ease parent's worry. Two - CF will not even unwittingly share anything bothering him/her. Three and most important: psychiatric or psychologist appointments can be stressful and temporarily make the person feel worse; going through these with main purpose being to ease parent is not a good idea.

    What can parents do?
    - Stop asking the same questions. Let the CF be. The questions that needed to be asked have been asked.
    - Talk once or twice with CF about taking professional help near campus if needed. Don't harp on it but mention that taking help in time is better.
    - Independently look up mental help and counseling resources available on campus, and outside campus. Check insurance coverage.
    - Talk with CF about the course load of second semester/quarter. Why taking it, really why. If CF doesn't already know, talk about how common it is to drop courses, replace with easier ones to remain full-time, or to even take a W or F in transcript.
    - See if CF is at all open to the idea of giving parent (limited, temporary) access to the student portal. This is a discussion by itself.
    - Plan two or three short visits to campus in the next sem/quarter. Get CF to agree to it. Remember that you might spend 2 days for the trip, but CF might be able to spare only 20 mins.
    - If not already in place, set up a quick 2 minute check-in practice each night by text at a regular time. Keep these brief and pleasant.
    - Above all, any steps should be about what will help CF, not what will assuage parents' worry.
    - The more concerned parent should cut down on brooding about it and talking it over and over with CF or spouse. He/she is going to be the one to detect things if/when CF really needs help. If he/she keeps on about it, his/her inputs will start to get ignored and not taken seriously when they need to be.

    Such behavior by college freshmen and even older college students is more common than parents know until they experience it themselves.
     
    MSree, Thyagarajan, Laks09 and 2 others like this.
  5. SinghManisha

    SinghManisha Platinum IL'ite

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    Here is a link that should help you decide.

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/teen-depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20350985

    I
    f it were my son, I would definitely consult a psychologist ( not psychiatrist). Better to err on the side of caution. As Indians we do have a mental stigma about seeking therapy , but sometimes it is crucial to save precious lives. There might be things your CF is not comfortable discussing with you, here a psychologist can help.

    https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/psychologist-or-psychiatrist-which-for-you#1


     
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  6. BhumiBabe

    BhumiBabe Platinum IL'ite

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    Exactly! Counseling for the sake of parents does not make it worthwhile. CF should consider the option on on campus counseling, as home sickness is a real thing and they are quite adept in identifying typical CF issues.

    I would definitely not encourage parents to micromanage or keep tabs on their CF. A friend of mine had parents who knew her schedule and called her in between classes. Daily check ups are not a must- but try to encourage a weekly call. Doesn’t have to be long. Visiting campus is also not a must, and depending on location, can get expensive. My parents visited me once a month- and we were quite codependent. I strongly encourage you not to visit more than once.
     
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  7. Topaz49

    Topaz49 Gold IL'ite

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    · First of all, it is hard to detect especially mental issues.

    · Secondly, it is important to make sure if there is an issue, it is found sooner than later.

    · Below are the reasons, I wouldn’t be comfortable to simply brush under the rug

    * CF goes into a tunnel vision mode

    * lost a lot of weight

    * she is an introvert


    I know of at least 4 college students of Indian origin raised in US had serious problems.

    One girl ended up with amnesia not knowing where she was or who she was all of a sudden.

    Other very bright girl, in 6 year med school right after high school left school, just quit. Later ended up getting treated for mental illness for many years. Now she is ok, married.

    Another struggled, yet pretended everything was ok; parents felt something wasn’t right. Finally, they insisted (wasn’t easy) on going to a psychiatrist and found out - severe ADD, thyroid and depression problems; couldn’t graduate and stayed home for 2 years before going to med school. Lucky that the parents intervened before it was too late.

    Yet, in another case very smart kid was diagnosed with mental illness. He ended up doing Phd, but later things got worse and had to be cared for by parents.
     
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  8. Topaz49

    Topaz49 Gold IL'ite

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    Psychologists focus on emotional issues and in the case that I wrote earlier, the medical issue would not have been detected if they had gone to a psychologist. Psychiatrists are trained on both medical and mental issues. Even the psychiatrist had to do further tests in Mayo clinic to detect the medial issues. In addition to thyroid, they also found some neurological medical issues.

    Usually, a young bright student taken to a doctor is not taken seriously.

    In Indian society problems are hidden and they move away from social circles. We are good at bragging success; but, not the best in creating support groups. Knowing problems among us gives us knowledge and may help others. The Indian community is too hung up on spelling bee, winning, success/money ....
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
  9. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:Eyes welled up to read op and FBs.
    2. Psychiatrist help is a must to save the child lest the child would go adrift.
    Thanks for other FBs from concerned fellow IL’ites.
    God bless.
     
    MSree likes this.
  10. SinghManisha

    SinghManisha Platinum IL'ite

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    What you write about Indian society is so true.
    Psychologist or psychiatrist , as far as they can rule out depression for this child ( I hope they do) . This isn’t meddling or helicopter parenting in any way. If you think the teenager needs help, please provide it. Only a qualified medical/trained professional can say with certainty that this is not depression, but a teenager behaving like one.


     

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