Reply To: 16yr old Refusing Meds.

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Our son did the same thing. He has ADHD, anxiety, and depression. He said he will no longer take meds. He took stimulants from 15-16. He then began trading Aderral for Xanax and selling them and making money. He eventually found his way in to marijuana (unbeknownst to us.) He ran away a several times. And barely graduated HS. At this age, he is his own worst enemy. That’s what we found out. Despite wanting to ring his neck time and again, the one thing we have been persistent in is unconditional love. (Not to say you are not.) Many of these kids really feel lonely, isolated, have low self esteem, and that nobody “gets them”, etc. Have conversations often with him in a RELAXED setting. Avoid questions that put him on the defensive. Ask questions that make him think. Ask questions that are open ended. He may not answer them and may not seem like he’s listening, but he is. How would you feel if I told you to take a pill in order be somewhat “normal”? (Non accusatory tone.) Ask what meds represent to him. Find out what he is anxious about, if he’ll open up. Our son was beyond terrified of letting us down. (He would lie, cheat, and steal to avoid disappointing to us. In a very twisted sort of way it was sweet on his part to attempt that, but we had to lovingly inform him that those are not normal or healthy ways to show love for family.) Depression is almost a given with his other co-morbid conditions. We tried therapy; it didnt work. He didn’t want to trust the Therapist. I bought some parent led CBT, anxiety and depression books. Finally, we gave him parameters/ultimatums, “if you don’t pass this class, then you will not be allowed to do this…” You could pay him for his grades for more incentives (and with chores). Bottom line, you cannot force him to take meds or talk to people. If he’s not motivated, it won’t happen. It may get to the point of homeschool or rehab/boarding school, if he doesn’t respect the rules of the house. Our son just turned 19. He’s one year out HS (no college yet) and he’s doing better. We still have rough patches with him, not as bad as he once was. For the most part he is keeping clean. As of recently he is feeling better about himself and recites a lot of statistics I told about ADHD’ers and their behaviors. These are bright kids with complex walls put up. Love and trust help to lower those walls centimeters at a time, it seems. It’s a long road with these kids. Best wishes to you and your family.