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Diet And Anxiety


My 25 year old son is taking Effexor for his anxiety. When he takes it as directed, it seems to help, however he often forgets. When I remind him he becomes angry. When he does take the medication and starts feeling better, he feels he no longer needs the med and stops taking it. He also has a social anxiety and can’t hold a job. He is currently unemployed and lives at home. He also sleeps a lot and often says he does not feel well, complains of headaches and diaherra. Even though he sleeps a lot, he often feels tired. I know nutrition plays a role in mental health. He has a poor diet, mostly proteins and carbs, very few veggies or fruit. Do you have any suggestions?

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At the risk of offending you I am going to give you my suggestion. Give your son a one week deadline for finding a job and moving out into his own place. Stick to that deadline with absolutely no compromises and no flexability.

At present, your 25 year old son, a full and able bodied adult, has no incentive for doing anything with his life. Why not stay at home all day. You give him room, roof, bed and food. It costs him nothing. Great deal. NO, it must stop if you want him to live a full life. If he does not wish to live a full life, that is his choice, but, it should NOT be in your home.

For you to worry about whether or not this 25 year old man takes his medicine or not, as well as how he does or does not eat is absurd. You deserve your own life and, if you really love your son, you will insist that he get out into the world and learn how to survive.

Sorry for the bluntness but it is meant to drive home reality to you. Stop enabling his helpless and infantile behavior.

Good Luck

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  • Lisa

    I have a brother who is 36 and has the same issues. He barely comes out of his room. He no longer socializes and has been unemployed for years. My parents don't seem to want to push him incase he commits suicide.

    I have emailed my brother and told him I am here for him and want him to be happy and will help in any way I can, but that he has to do something for himself. He hasn't replied. He hasn't been to a doctor for depression.

    I can see that how my parents raised us had a big effect. My father, although you wouldn't think it, is gently emotionally abusive. Telling me I'm a 'gonna' do it person. Hearing that all the time has an effect on a child. He calls my mother stupid almost on a daily basis. Imagine her self esteem. Even though I am losing weight, he still makes comments about it.

    I am recently out of a long term relationship and am struggling with depression and anxiety, but have a small determination to get through it and get my life back on track. I don't know what to do for my brother.

    Surely this is not the life my brother wants.

    Can you suggest anything I can do or say?



  • Eric

    I have never before seen a more egregiously misguided example of the so-called "tough love" philosophy that afflicts many mental health practitioners. Find a job and housing in one week during the worst recession since the Great Depression? Yeah, right. This young man is not some kind of antisocial, violent, drug addict who is threatening anybody. And what if this man is driven to the point of suicide by this tough love approach, what would the counsel to the mother be then, "C'est La Vie?"

    Humans are bound to their families in varying degrees throughout their lifespans. Sometimes, they become sick and the bonds of dependency with family deepen in ways that may not be optimal or convenient for everyone involved, or fit preconceived notions of normality. This too, is part of life sometimes: get used to it. People take care of sick family members, that's what family members do, that's part of how families function, often under stress and strain and struggle, but they do it nonetheless with courage.

    This young man is ill and needs professional support his family can guide him in the right direction with firm intervention consistent with the norms of basic human decency and ethics and familial love. I'm sorry, Dr. Schwartz, but you are simply wrong on this one.


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