Help with 27 yr old boy w/ADHD, RSD, ... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

CHADD's ADHD Parents Together

19,583 members5,530 posts

Help with 27 yr old boy w/ADHD, RSD, CPTSD, anger issues

janlynnl profile image
18 Replies

Hi! New poster here. I'm really struggling and would appreciate any advice.

My son was officially diagnosed with ADHD in college. I believe he's probably had it since he was a child (around 4th grade it reared it's head.) My husband didn't want him labeled, medicated, blah blah blah. He takes Adderall.

He's very angry. He likes to vent, starting with the fact that we gave birth to him with out asking him. Ruined the first 21 years of his life, all of them really.

My son's "self diagnosis"" is CPTSD (we traumatized him with our parenting), RSD, executive functioning issues (his apartment is a toxic dump site. I hired a cleaner once a month when he first moved in (as we are on the lease) but then that was cancelled a month or two later (too stressful for him to have someone there.) Then, I tried to go clean once a month. I don't think it's been cleaned since last July, my last attempt at it.)

He had a job, but he had difficulties with his boss (authority figure) from the start. He was fired 2 weeks ago. He hasn't looked for a new job, signed up for unemployment, none of it. He's done basically nothing, but sleep, eat and play his games. Computer games are his ""self-soothing"" mechanism. IMHO.

He has some money in the bank and plans to live off that until he's homeless - maybe 6 months?

He doesn't want to help himself. I had him take a consultation call two years ago with an ADHD coach. The coach basically told him that he couldn't help someone who didn't want to help themselves. (sadly true.)

I tried to get him to talk to another ADHD coach this week, he said no.

how do you help someone who desperately needs help, probably knows he needs help; but is so angry that he feels like there is no help. Just plays the victim card.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

18 Replies
Aspen797 profile image

I’m sorry that you both are struggling. It is so hard to see our children suffering no matter how old. Would he be open to seeing a psychiatrist for more accurate diagnosis and a therapist for help? Not an ADHD therapist—that doesn’t sound as much the issue right now—but one for his anxiety and depression which sound crippling. This may be way off base, but could he be on the spectrum? I ask because of his getting fired and his anxiety in having someone in his home to help clean. Pragmatic language issues affecting perspective taking are often misunderstood as ‘defiant’ or questioning authority. RSD is also sometimes an ASD comorbidity, especially in those who do not get early diagnosis and treatment. The difference in ‘treatment’ is pretty huge depending on the source of the problem. Depending on the help he needs after diagnosis, there are a number of support groups and agencies he might be able to use. Vocational Rehabilitation and Independent Living Resource Centers are two good options in the latter category.

janlynnl profile image
janlynnl in reply to Aspen797

Thank you for your response! I will ask him about seeing a regular therapist. I'll also look into VR & ILR Centers. I've not heard of those before.


Silvercharger profile image
Silvercharger in reply to Aspen797

I take 10mg of escitalopram each day which has significantly reduced my anxiety, anger issues and depression. I also used to take 30mg of Adderall XR daily, but it exasperated my anger and anxiety issues, so I switched to Vyvanse, which works even better than Adderall with none of the horrible side effects.

janlynnl profile image
janlynnl in reply to Silvercharger

thanks silvercharger, I appreciate the info.

Poppy234 profile image

This is really hard because it’s so late there’s a lot of healing needed by the sound of it. You can’t do much by pushing because he will just dig in deeper. The only thing you can do is say sorry for the past. And ask if he needs help with anything. He would need to feel that you can come alongside him and understand him and that you don’t reject him for his behaviour. He knows it’s bad. What he needs is dopamine. He will get that by starting something. The best thing will be exercise. Maybe you could get him to go for a walk with you. Or does he like cycling? once he gets into a little bit of a routine of one thing, other things will become easier. with the mess you can ask him if he wants help starting. If he doesn’t then there’s not much you can do. you could offer him 15 minutes say to put dirty laundry in a bag for the wash and that would make the room look better. It might give him enough dopamine to continue. He probably has a massive wall of awful which you can search for on YouTube. You could also try to get him to do five minutes on something together, just cleaning or tidying and if he says no just leave it and just say well maybe later let me know when it’s convenient and then ask again another time. things need to be fun for him and asking him to see a therapist will just make him feel worse. If none of this works, then you have to take it back a step and figure out what he needs and wants and try to do something nice with him that he would really enjoy. Perhaps pay for him to have a meal or ice cream or whatever. If that doesn’t work, then play a video game with him, start to bond. Honestly, a video game is a better coping mechanism than other addictions. But he will struggle with putting it down in the same way. In time when you have a little bit of a foundation, perhaps you could help him find and think about work that he would enjoy. Try to bring the positivity and let him know that what he is struggling with is real and it’s difficult and many other adults struggle with it. And plenty self medicate which it sounds like he isn’t doing so let him know he’s doing this well. he really needs some positivity and praise for anything you can see that he does well . He might be in need of therapy and support, but from his behaviou he will not be reaching out for this because he feels too bad about himself and I think he is much more likely to reach for something unhealthy so you might be his only hope for now. He may never address that anger, this is difficult to accept, I’ve watched someone stuck in this rut until his 50s. We’ve tried to help but didn’t know it was ADHD.

janlynnl profile image

wow, thank you Poppy! Your response is so helpful! I spent all day yesterday watching @howtoadhd videos so I now know about the wall of awful… I will definitely follow your suggestions. I really appreciate your help!

Redpanda5 profile image

Excellent suggestions by Poppy234! The only thing I will add is that Adderall can hit one’s system pretty hard and the crash can cause a lot of anger. My son (college) much prefers Vyvanse (which takes about an hour to get into his system rather than 30 minutes) and likes it better because it gives him equal clarity as Adderall, however, it’s not so jolting - if that makes sense.

janlynnl profile image
janlynnl in reply to Redpanda5

That totally makes sense. Thanks. I'll ask him about Vyvanse, once we are at a good place to have the discussion.

Kkoelle profile image

it sounds like he is depressed and needs counseling and/or an antidepressant. Maybe there is an underlying medical condition he needs to have looked at. Unfortunately, you can’t force him to do anything though since he is an adult. You might need to step back and let life’s consequences kick in (i.e getting evicted, going broke, etc). He will change when he has no safety net. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you. We want to fix our kids, but at some point our need to fix them is what can keep holding them back. Hang in there!

NYCmom2 profile image

My heart goes out to you. Are you in therapy to support you through this? With the help of a therapist you can grieve and find acceptance. Then feel steady support as you go about loving, bonding again with your son and gently trying to guide him.

janlynnl profile image
janlynnl in reply to NYCmom2

Thanks, I have an appointment with a new therapist this week.

MarchMommy profile image

I agree with all of the above. I think too you need to start with apologizing for how you traumatized him (doesn't matter if you agree that happened, he felt it did, and that's contributing to to his low self worth and feelings now). Don't make it about you and don't make it a "I'm sorry you THINK we traumatized you, raised you wrong, etc" as that is going to make it seem like it's his perception that's the problem and not his reality.

Once you show him you want to make amends genuinely for it, he might let you in more and start to take steps with your guidance.

Probably something about what happened when he was growing up (negative feedback, being told he was "difficult" or "bad" by any authority figure) is making him think "well why bother now, I'm such a screw up" and making it impossible to even function. Especially with the rejection sensitivity dysphoria. That's going to be the biggest barrier, I think.

janlynnl profile image
janlynnl in reply to MarchMommy

Thanks for the reminder, I do need to start this next conversation with another apology. I have apologized many times and am very clear that this is real. He is extremely bright and very good at communicating his thoughts/feelings. So I'm lucky there. He's very quick to point out when he thinks I'm making things about me. He keeps me on my toes.

anirush profile image

Not every therapist or"coach" is a good fit. If he could help himself he wouldn't need a coach. The first counselor for my daughter told me that and I walked out the door. If he had a bad experience with a counselor it may be hard to get him to try again.

Hope you can get him to change meds since it sounds like they could be causing some of the problem.

Good luck!

Kelev profile image

Not easy to share, sorry for your son & your struggles. My younger son is 20 years old, and I relate to many issues you have mentioned. On the positive side, your son is out of the house. He tried to work. Gained experience. Great start. A. Work wise, in TX we have contacted TX workforce. They have vocational counselors, who could provide vocational testings, and tranings. My son was connected with a very good vocational services company. The agent met him, toured optional workplaces, took care of the hiring process, & followed up while he was working. B. Video games. The internet escapism, if excessive & uncontrollable, is sabotaging all aspects of life. It's an addiction, and needed to be addressed. My son is addicted, lives at home, no longer working due to a surgery, yet is cleared to work now, but not motivated to do so. He finally got new app with the TX workforce rehabilitation counselor.

I am trying to find a good therapist who specializes in addictions, (on top of ADHD, Anxiety, Depression), who also accepts insurance, and it's not easy.

I joined on line parents group called Game-Anon, in a website of the speaker in the following video:

15 reasons why gamers play. Very interesting.

Got info from:

And recommended Therapist, Dr. Berk


Sorry for not able to send a proper link. Suggest that you copy and search.

You sound like a wonderful, caring loving mom. Deep inside, he loves & appreciate you. Good luck.

janlynnl profile image
janlynnl in reply to Kelev

Thank You Kelev! I appreciate your response and kind words. You sound like a wonderful, caring loving mom as well. I will look into the links you shared. Good luck with your son as well.

HumbledByNature profile image

You could have been writing about my 21 y/o daughter. Thank you for describing our experiences so well. And thanks to everyone providing support and some very good advice! My daughter likes Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), which was designed for treating Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but is currently gaining favor in many other mental illnesses. Your son may take interest if you can get him to watch an honest, short explanation of it with a testimonial to its effectiveness (for negative self-talk, anger, fear, depression, anxiety, etc). Please take care of yourself- keeping ourselves healthy and supported protects us from the loving hard work and deep concern that shadows our days.

janlynnl profile image
janlynnl in reply to HumbledByNature

Thanks HumbledByNature for your response. I'm a huge fan of DBT. I went through a group DBT session years ago, it was immensely helpful. I've also done CBT, 1:1 with a therapist. I felt that was helpful too! My son knows all this, has watched my journey throughout his life. I've been open with both my children about my mental health issues, sabotaging behaviors, etc. And yet, my son has no desire to try any therapy (of any kind) nor coaching :(

I have signed up with BetterHelp and have my first therapy session with them this week. I'll be sure to share any good ideas they share with me.

You may also like...