My 11year old son: Therapist or Psychiatrist? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 08-30-2011, 05:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I really need some guidance here. My 11 year old son needs some help and we need some help helping him. In a nutshell here is what is going on...

- major sleep issues

- fears being alone, even in our house doesn't really like being on one end of medium sized house, while I am on the other

- very antagonistic, argues about everything, when in certain moods

- says he feels sad, this increases when he doesn't get enough exercise

- although not obsessive about it, thinks about death to a point he cries. He will get obsessive about it in the moment though. (I was this way as a kid/young adult as well)

-seems as though he doesn't hear me at all can tune me out to a amazing level.


Because of these things he sleeps on the floor of our room most nights. He will have evenings where he cries and just doesn't know why. The sleep issue is really hard because it affects my husband and I's relationship. He is realy really really intense and highly inteligent.

My son also on the same hand is one of the most sensitive loving people I know. He does well in school, went to school last year after years of homeschooling. He has friends, is likeable and is able to focus. Unless you spent a lot of time with him, you may never know there were issues, other than he is "spirited"... oh is he spirited, but not in a hyper way... just intense intense intense. he has been this way for always... sleep has never come easy for him unless he is exhausted.


My husband and I both have family histories of mental illness. I am not looking to get my son medicated, but am looking for a "diagnosis" that I can work with to help him. I know we need some family therapy to sort out some issues as home, but I am thinking psychiatrist because I don't want my son having to do months/years of talk therapy right now if he doesn't have to. I know there isn't a quick fix... I  want my son to have tools to help him now and in adulthood.


I am really worried about him and his future... gosh life can be rough enough. I know he is feeling different. I worry about future alcohol/ drug abuse because of him wanting to feel like he thinks everyone else feels... normal. My hubby and I have lots of family history of alcohol abuse as well....


So why shouldn't I just head to a psychiatrist, instead of a psychologist? We want tools to help him..... oh I am soooo lost.


Thak you if you read all of this! I would love to help him with diet and such as well. He has lots of problems with his ears... that we are working on. This has been later onset, not problems as a baby. He has really never been ill. Never on antibiotics.. ever...

oh my poor guy.







Crazed life-learning Mom to DS 1 Augustus (02/00) and DS 2 Ben (08/05). Love my DH Tony . Full house 5 11 found our "purrfect". Lovin' life!!!!
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#2 of 5 Old 08-30-2011, 06:25 AM
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Well, you've got it right that a psychiatrist is more likely to prescribe meds. A psychologist can refer for meds, though, if they think it's warranted and can certainly give you an evaluation and a diagnosis. It doesn't have to be years of therapy unless you want it to be. You might decide to go that route. You can go to a psychiatrist for years, too. 


It sounds like depression/anxiety to me, but I'm far from an expert. You might consider supplementing with fish oil and vitamin D if you haven't already. They make some great yummy vitamin Ds and my kids like the fish oil caps, too. Both help with depression and anxiety and are good for your general physical well-being.

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#3 of 5 Old 08-30-2011, 06:58 AM
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A quick caution:  some therapists are not a good match for your child or your family.  Keep shopping around until you find a good one, and you might want to let your son know that you are doing so ahead of time.


See a therapist first.  A psychiatrist's visit can be as short as 5 minutes (usually just a quick med check) after an initial intake.  The therapist is the one with whom you will really develop a relationship.


Gtg--whiny toddler--but yay to you for being in tune with your son and getting help sooner rather than later.  Wish my folks had done the same.



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#4 of 5 Old 09-03-2011, 05:14 PM
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It sounds like a family therapist would be the best place to start. Call around until you find someone you feel good about. If a referral to a psychiatrist is needed, a therapist who is good working with kids will likely know the best person to refer your ds to if that is necessary. Months or years of talk therapy aren't automatically going to be what your son gets - if you find someone good it probably won't take too long to find some new strategies (which may or may not include medication) to help your son feel and cope better.

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#5 of 5 Old 09-03-2011, 05:32 PM
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I've had the best luck with psychologists. If they feel medication could be helpful they'll refer you to a psychiatrist. When I was still taking medication, I usually stuck to seeing a psychologist with a psychiatrist in the same practice. I completely agree with the pp who said to shop around. I've dealt with several therapists who were just not a good fit, and continuing to see them was not even remotely helpful. 

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