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Zoloft - Good Or Bad

Question:

My son suddenly developed OCD at the age of 15 and was for a short time on Zoloft. It appeared to become better, but then developed into social anxiety and depression around 17. He has now been again on Zoloft for about 6 months, however, no nearing 19 he has no drive, hasn’t worked for several months, is only interested in relaxing, social activitesand, according to his statement, is the happiest he has ever been. Except, I am now the unhappiest and so is his sister as she is studying to achieve, I am working and he is sleeping every day till 11am, rarely cleaning up at home (opposifeel I te to when he had OCD) and I am at the point where I dont’ know how to go on. Do you think that Zoloft may have caused this. He was supposed to go to a cognitive behaviour therapy but refuses to go as he says he is happy – of course he is, but we are not! What can I do?

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Answer:

First, your son is not happy regardless of what he says to you. If he were truly happy he would not need to be taking any anti depressant medications or sleeping half of the day away. No, Zoloft did not cause his problems. If anything, the medication has not helped resolve his symptoms enough for him to be fully functioning. What I would suggest is that his psychiatrist re evaluate him for one of two things: 1. a change of medications might be called for or, 2. he might benefit from another medication added to his Zoloft.

The problem you face is that at age 19 your son is old enough to make his own decisions and cannot be forced into therapy or medication evaluation. In addition, at age 19 he hates to admit that he has some problems. Yes, it is difficult to admit to having emotional problems at any age but the adolescent years are particularly difficult in that even older teenagers like you son believe they are all powerful.

What I suggest is that you start to set up some house rules for him (and for everyone at home) and these are:

1. 19 years old is old enough to pay rent.

2. It is a house rule that he puts in his share of washing dishes, picking up newspapers and magazines around the house, putting in his share of vacuuming and keeping his room clean.

3. He is an adult and should be doing his laundry.

4. If he cannot afford to pay you rent then he has to get a job and if he does not want to get a job then he must return to school (College).

5. If he cannot abide by these house rules then he must live elsewhere and you, as his mother, must set a deadline for this.

I know of at least one family who could not stand their 20 year old son malingering at home any longer. He was told to "shape up or ship out." He decided to "ship out" and now is working for his living and has an apartment with a friend. He is finally learning to grow up and intends to go to college now that he sees how hard work is without an education.

By the way, you could make his seeing the psychiatrist for a re-evaluation and starting cognitive-behavior therapy as conditions for his remaining at home. Perhaps he will not like this but there is an old saying that goes something like this: "Even if you do not want to, get your body there and your mind will eventually follow."

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