How to Help a Depressed Son

When your child is struggling with a mental health issue, it can be heartbreaking and frustrating. You want to help but are not sure what to do or how to do it. Learning more about how to help a depressed son can benefit him and you, so that you each can find the health and well-being you need.

Know That You Are Not Alone

If you have a young son who has shown symptoms of depression, you might feel like you are all alone in your concerns for his mental health. In fact, though, about 17% of young people between the ages of 6 and 17 experience a mental health disorder. Half of all mental illness typically starts by age 14 and 75% starts by the age of 24.

Learn About Mental Illness

One of the best things you can do to help a depressed son is to learn as much as you can about the condition as well as about mental illness in general. Understand that mental illness is a health condition. Although you may not be able to prevent it, the illness can be treated.

There are many causes of mental illness, including genetics, changes in the brain, hormones, and brain chemistry. While you may feel as though you did not do enough to prevent your son from developing depression, it may well have resulted from nature rather than nurture. What’s most important is that you now acknowledge your son’s mental illness for what it is, so that you can help him address it appropriately.

College Depression

If your son is away at college, it may be more difficult to recognize the symptoms of depression. Likewise, your child might be more hesitant to ask for help out of an embarrassment or a fear of not fitting in with his college crowd. Your son’s depression can get in the way of his academic success and can increase the likelihood of high risk behaviors, including substance abuse and binge drinking.

Steps to Help a Depressed Son

As a parent, you want nothing more than for your child to have a normal, happy life. If your son is experiencing depression, it’s critical that you are able to accept that the way his brain works is a part of who he is, at any age. That’s a difficult step for you and your son, but it’s important you work with him and with a professional mental health provider to find a new normal for him, one that can leverage his strengths, capabilities, and interests.

Knowing that you are not alone, reach out to support groups so that you will have someone to talk to about the challenges you and your son are experiencing. Others in these groups are going through the same issues and the same victories as you. Each person in the group can learn from the other parents, as you share openly and honestly.

Listen to your son when he does open up to you about what he is feeling, without being judgmental. As a parent, it’s tempting to tell him what he should and should not be doing, even about what he is experiencing mentally. When asking questions to learn more about his mental illness, ask “how” or “what” questions, rather than “why” questions.

Help Your Son Get the Help He Needs

Reach out to a mental health specialist, such as the professionals who specialize in treating young men at PACE Recovery. Your son needs appropriate therapy to treat his illness, just as he would need the right treatment if he were suffering from a physical illness. Evidence-based treatment tailored to a young man’s specific needs has been proven to be more effective in helping individuals like your son better manage their symptoms of depression.

Help for Your Son is Here at PACE

When you want to help your son with his mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize each person’s recovery success with integrated treatment that addresses their specific mental health and substance use issues.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that your son can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Is Molly Addictive?

Any drug that is misused or abused has the potential to cause issues for both your physical and mental health. You could develop a substance use disorder such as a dependence or addiction. The drug known as Molly has generally been used recreationally. Its use has been known to result in many negative symptoms, sometimes serious health problems, but is Molly addictive?

What is Molly?

Molly is the common name for 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception. Chemically, it is similar to stimulants and hallucinogens. MDMA was first used in the 1970s as an aid in psychotherapy, but it did not have the support of clinical trials or approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In 1985, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) labeled MDMA as an illegal drug. Today, MDMA is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. That means it has a high potential for abuse. Most recently, the FDA gave MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a “Breakthrough Therapy” designation.

Several years ago, MDMA was popular in the nightclub scene and at dance parties known as raves. The drug now affects a broad range of people who refer to it as Molly.

Molly’s Effects

MDMA works by affecting the brain cells that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with each other. Serotonin plays an active part in regulating sleep, pain sensitivity, sexual activity, mood, and aggression. Molly may increase the risk of long-term, possibly even permanent, problems with learning and memory. It causes changes in perception, including euphoria and increased sensitivity to touch, as well as energy and a need for stimulation.

When taken in high doses, Molly can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. This can lead to a sharp increase in body temperature, known as hyperthermia, that can result in kidney, liver, and cardiovascular system failure. It can also be fatal.

Is Molly Addictive?

Research has yet to determine definitively if Molly is addictive and, if so, to what extent. The drug abuse potential seems to be less than that of drugs such as cocaine, but individuals can still become dependent on the MDMA, given its effects on the mind and body.

Molly causes changes in the brain, which can make it addictive. People who use the drug report signs of addiction, including experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they are not using it. It has been shown to cause dependence in many people, who also go through withdrawal when they are not taking the drug.

Symptoms of Molly Use

The drug MDMA takes about 30 to 45 minutes to take effect and can last about 6 hours. It can take two days for the drug to clear the body’s system completely. Some of the immediate symptoms an individual can experience when taking Molly include:

  • Feeling more energetic
  • Being more talkative
  • An increase in emotions
  • Being more empathetic and trusting
  • Having a sensitivity to light, touch, and sound
  • Experiencing a sense of euphoria or giddiness.

In addition to hyperthermia, there are many serious, sometimes life threatening symptoms as well, including:

  • A lack of awareness that can impair decision-making, which can lead to risky behaviors such as dangerous driving
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety, depression, and confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache, nausea, chills, and sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Memory issues.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Just like other drugs that can cause dependence or addiction, there are withdrawal symptoms for the individual after the effects of Molly wear off, including:

  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Cognitive issues
  • Lack of focus
  • Drug cravings.

In an effort to overcome these withdrawal symptoms, many people will continue to use the drug. Dangers of repeated use can include:

  • An increase in heart rate and rhythm changes
  • Panic attacks
  • Seizures
  • Anxiety, depression, and confusion
  • Dehydration and kidney problems.

These withdrawal symptoms can worse when the dose or frequency of use is increased. These symptoms can indicate an addiction to Molly.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

We want you to be safe and healthy. When you are addicted to a dangerous drug such as Molly or MDMA, we can help. At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol and your mental health issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

 

Substance Abuse Factors in the LGBTQ Community

Individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) face many challenges in their lives. As a result of the issues that they deal with, including misunderstandings and discrimination, they may develop mental health issues at a greater rate. There are also substantial substance abuse factors in the LGBTQ community, which should be addressed properly for the individual’s mental and physical health.

National Coming Out Day

Given the challenges, many people are hesitant to live openly and authentically as a member of the LGBTQ community. To offer encouragement and support, October 11 has been designated as National Coming Out Day. The 33rd anniversary of the landmark day is being celebrated in 2021 with the theme, “Born to Shine!”

The first National Coming Out Day was celebrated as part of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. It continues to be recognized as a reminder that “one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out.”

Substance Abuse Factors

Social stigma and discrimination are a few of the challenges facing individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Other challenges include a greater risk of violence and harassment. These issues contribute to the substance abuse factors in the LGBTQ community, as these individuals are more stressed and are at increased risk for behavioral health issues.

The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) revealed that substance use patterns reported by adults identifying as members of the sexual minority were higher compared to those reported by heterosexual adults:

  • More than a third (37.6 percent) reported past year marijuana use, compared to 16.2% reported by the overall adult population.
  • Past year opioid use (including misuse of prescription opioids or heroin use) was also higher with 9% of sexual minority adults aged 18 or older reporting use compared to 3.8% among the overall adult population.
  • 9% of sexual minority adults aged 26 or older reported past year misuse of prescription opioids—an increase from the 6.4% who reported misuse in 2017.

There was a significant decline in past year prescription opioid misuse among sexual minority adults aged 18-25 with 8.3% reporting use in 2018.

Substance Abuse Among Men

Additional studies have also confirmed that gay and bisexual men, as well as lesbian and transgender people, are more likely to:

  • Use alcohol and drugs
  • Have higher rates of substance abuse
  • Not withhold from alcohol and drug use
  • Continue heavy drinking into later life.

Among the substance abuse factors for gay and bisexual men are their reactions to the homophobia, discrimination, or violence they may experience as a result of their sexual orientation. These substance abuse issues can also contribute to other physical and mental health concerns, resulting in problems with relationships, work, and finances.

Effective Substance Abuse Treatment for Men

Individuals in the LGBTQ community often experience severe substance use disorders. However, treatment is effective for the underlying mental health issues as well as the addiction. Programs that offer specialized groups for gay and bisexual men have shown better outcomes for those individuals in comparison to men who have participated in non-specialized programs. To be effective, treatment will address the substance abuse factors that may include family issues, social isolation, and homophobia or transphobia.

Mental health issues should also be addressed, along with the substance use disorder. When the two conditions co-occur, they are part of a dual diagnosis. Treatment for both conditions is most effective when conducted together.

Individuals in the LGBTQ community are more likely to have mental health disorders. Gay and bisexual men, along with lesbian and bisexual women, report more frequent incidents of mental distress and depression than heterosexual men and women. Treatment to address these issues often includes evidence-based therapy options such as motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), designed to encourage men to open up honestly and frankly, without fear of pressure or judgment.  

Gender-Specific Addiction and Mental Health Treatment

When you are struggling with a substance abuse issue, we are here for you. Detox and supervised withdrawal will help you safely process the mental and physical symptoms so you can move forward with a healthy recovery. If you are struggling with an addiction or mental illness, please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our programs and services. We offer gender-specific treatment for men who have a desire to turn their life around. Recovery is possible, and we can help.

What Causes Depression in Men?

The month of October is designated as a time to take a closer look at depression and how it may affect your mental health. In particular, October 7 is National Depression Screening Day. Men often don’t recognize depression in themselves, which is one of the reasons it’s so important to learn the symptoms as well as to understand when and how to get treatment. It’s also critical to know what causes depression in men.

National Depression Screening Day

Mental Illness Awareness Week runs from October 3-9. During this time, healthcare providers emphasize that we are “Together for Mental Health.” Screening for depression can be done anonymously and confidentially. Mental Health America (MHA) offers a free screening tool that can help you understand more about your symptoms. The screening is not a diagnosis but can be useful as you recognize the need to reach out for treatment.

Holding in Emotions

While a man may believe that he needs to hide his emotions, particularly if he is experiencing the symptoms of depression, that can actually be unhealthy both mentally and physically. Even today, there continues to be a stigma around depression, especially in men. However, it is critically important to understand both the causes and the effects and to seek out treatment.

Recognizing Depression in Men

Recognizing the symptoms is the first step toward getting help. National Screening Day emphasizes the need to understand more about how depression may be affecting you as a man. For some men, it may be a challenge to discuss their experience and they may simply turn to their work to try to stay busy and ignore the signs.

Men are also more likely than women to turn to drugs or alcohol to try to cope with their symptoms. This can lead to even more devastating consequences.

Depression Symptoms

The most serious symptom is the thought of or attempt at suicide, in both men and women. About 9% of men experience the feelings of depression or anxiety every day and over 31% experience a period of depression at some point during their lifetime. Although depression is more common in women, the number of men who die by suicide is four times that of women. While more women attempt suicide, men are more likely to use more lethal methods.

The symptoms of depression can appear very differently in men. In fact, many men do not recognize the symptoms in themselves, and it can be up to family and close friends to recognize some of the signs. Men tend to suppress their feelings and so their sadness can actually manifest outwardly as anger or aggression.

Additional symptoms of depression in men can include:

  • Loss of interest in work, family, or activities that were once pleasurable
  • Feeling anxious, restless, or “on the edge”
  • Feeling sad, “empty,” flat, or hopeless
  • Problems with sexual desire and performance
  • Not being able to concentrate or remember details
  • Feeling very tired, not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Overeating or not wanting to eat at all
  • Inability to meet the responsibilities of work, caring for family, or other important activities
  • Physical aches or pains, including headaches and stomach issues
  • Withdrawing from family and friends or becoming isolated
  • Engaging in high-risk activities.

What Causes Depression in Men?

There are a number of factors in a man’s life that can potentially be the source of his depression. If he has a family history of the condition, he will be more likely to experience depression. That doesn’t necessarily mean he will if a family member also has it, but the chances are increased.

Environmental stress can also be a factor. When a man experiences financial problems or problems at work, it can be very stressful. Any kind of major life change, such as losing a loved one or going through a difficult relationship can also be the cause of depression in a man.

A physical condition can also be the source of the mental health condition. A man who has a serious medical issue, such as cancer or heart disease, may become depressed. While the physical illness can make the mental illness worse, the opposite is also true. Men with depression can experience worsened physical symptoms.

The use and misuse of alcohol or drugs can also cause depression in men. These substances can make feelings of isolation and loneliness worse. Alcohol, especially, is a depressant and can increase the sense of fatigue and sadness in a man.

Help for Men is Here at PACE

Screening is critical to understanding the causes of depression as well as the symptoms, so you can get the help you need. Asking for help is a sign of strength. When you need help with your mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that addresses your mental health and substance use issues.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

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