Q. I am a college freshman. I have been depressed and having panic attacks since the first week of college. I’m away from home for the first time, and I miss my family and friends from high school. I feel like I’m sinking, and I want to drop out and go home. Is this normal? I feel so alone.
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Q. My mother is bipolar and my aunt is schizophrenic. I’ve been reading that mental disorders are inherited. Is that true? If so, what are my chances of having a mental health problem? I’m really afraid of becoming schizophrenic.
Q. I’m in my early 40’s and I’m getting married for the second time. I had such a bad marriage the first time that I didn’t think I would ever be with anyone again. I’m frightened that this marriage will end up as horrible as the last one. Please give me some pointers on how to make my marriage successful this time.
Q. My husband has asked for a divorce. He says there is no one else; he is just tired of being with me. He’s refusing to discuss it or get help, even though I have begged him to seek counseling. I’ve moved out, and he doesn’t want me to return. I’m 28, and I feel like my life is over. How can I move on when I don’t know what happened?
Q. My 10-year-old son just returned to school. He’s already talking about how much he hates it. Last year, he complained of being sick all of the time, and missed several days. He was barely promoted to the next grade. What can I do to make this school year better?
Robin Williams, who had wealth, fame and the respect of millions, committed suicide last week. His actions are another reminder that depression, mental illness and substance abuse can be found in the richest and most successful. It can be found in friends, in family. It can be found in self. His suicide was a reminder that we never really know the pain of others, and often do not understand the depth of our own pain.
Q. My friend’s teen grandson came to live with her recently. Since then, she has had nothing but trouble with him. He is angry, and he is getting worse since he’s living with her. I know she reads your column. Could you give her some advice?
Q. My daughter had her first child a month ago. She shows little interest in the baby, and even less in her husband. Is this post-partum? She had problems with depression when she was in high school and college, and I’m afraid they are returning. How can we help her?
Q. My husband cheated on me with one of his co-workers. He knows he made a mistake and begged my forgiveness. I am trying to forgive him even though it is difficult. I want to find out what is wrong with our marriage that made him cheat in the first place. He says there is nothing wrong, and he is happy. I’ve always thought we had a good marriage, too. He says that he doesn’t know why he cheated. Could this be true?
Q. My 83-year-old mother is depressed, but she refuses to take medication. There is nothing physically wrong with her. My father died about three years ago, and she hasn’t been the same since. I live out of town, so she is alone. What can I do?
Q. I think I’m depressed. Some days I feel okay, but I often don’t feel like getting out of bed. My work is beginning to suffer. How do I know if I’m really depressed?
Q. What is the difference between someone who abuses alcohol and someone who is alcohol dependent? My husband has five or six drinks some nights and doesn’t drink at all for another week. He doesn’t consider it a problem, but I think he is an alcoholic. Please clarify.
Q. I am concerned that I’m getting Alzheimer’s. When I walk into a room, I don’t remember why I’m there. When I park my car, I often forget where it is? My friends tell me this is “age related memory loss.” Is this true?
Q. I try to help others: I’ve given money to a friend, bought her groceries, and driven her everywhere. She is capable of working, but she doesn’t. How can I set a boundary between being helpful and having people take advantage of me?
Q. My wife is an alcoholic and overuses prescription drugs. When I confront her about anything, she becomes belligerent, accuses me of being paranoid, and says I’m over-controlling. I know that I’ve let this go on for too long, and I’m beginning to think there is something wrong with me. What can I do?
Q. I am a college student who has spent years procrastinating. I made it through high school with few problems, but now I’m having a really hard time in college. I barely got through this semester. What can I do?
Q. Even though I am in my 40’s, I don’t get along with my mother. Every year around Mother’s Day, I spend time with her, but I don’t want to. She has always been difficult, and I come away exhausted. Why do we continue to have such a bad relationship and how do I avoid the emotional turmoil?
Q. I had lunch with my college-age grandchildren over Easter, and they didn’t put their cell phones down throughout the meal. Their parents didn’t intervene even though the children barely spoke. Isn’t this behavior still considered rude?
Q. I am caring for my elderly mother who had a stroke. We have no relatives where we live. The people from her church have not helped, and we can’t afford to hire anyone more than a few hours a week. Can you give me some suggestions that will help me cope with my stress and depression?
Q. My son’s teacher told me that he may have something called Sluggish Cognitive Tempo. I’ve never heard of this. Could you explain a little about the condition?
Q. I have an appointment with my doctor to discuss medication for anxiety and depression. I get really nervous, and forget to ask questions. Can you tell me what I need to ask?
Q. My mother has not left home without my father, me, my husband, or her sister in almost 10 years. When I talk to my father about it, he says she seems happy, so leave her alone and don’t mention it again. Why is he ignoring a serious problem?
Q. My daughter smoked marijuana throughout her pregnancy. Now her son has some problems. She keeps telling me that marijuana has no impact on child development. Is this true?
Q. My husband and I have been having serious problems for years including his violent behavior. He had a difficult childhood, so I keep forgiving him. He is extremely nice except when he becomes angry. What can I do to keep the good man around and get rid of the bad one?
Q. My husband is a high-functioning alcoholic. Although he has an excellent job, he is unpleasant to me and my teen sons when he has been drinking. What can I do to convince him that he has a problem?
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