Psychiatrist Questions Antidepressants

I discovered anti-depressant pills in my daughter's cupboard yesterday. How should I confront her on this?

My daughter is 19 years old and yesterday while cleaning her cupboard I discovered some anti-depressant pills. I have no idea why she is taking these medications. Should I confront her? How should I deal with this situation without her reacting badly?

12 Answers

You found medication, of your adult daughter, and , just as if you found her birth control pills, a condom stash or a personal vibrator, you handle it with at least the same courtesy you would if you had an adult relative renting and you ‘bumped’ into their personal items.
Consider waiting three days before saying anything to anyone, then ask yourself if you are interested in apologizing & causing discomfort to another who is already possibly strained?
Is that in their best interests?
Perhaps just being supportive in your actions is an option, without any ‘confrontation?’, you will do best to wait on a peaceful relaxed response.
She knows you cleaned her cupboard, so she knows, you know.

Thanks for your question. First I want to remind you that your daughter is an adult and has a right to protect her health information. If you are concerned about her health I would suggest taking her out for a mother daughter date, and talking about her life and how are things going for her. If you have a relationship built on trust, and acceptance chances are she will talk to you about her problems. Remember if she has a prescription for antidepressants chances are that a health care professional that she trust prescribe them for her. You are lucky to have a daughter that takes charge of her health, and is not afraid to ask for help when she needs it.
If you want to know how to help your daughter I would suggest that you go to the NIMH website and read information on how to help a loved one that suffers from depression and anxiety. I hope this helps.
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When you are calm and not too upset about the situation,mention to her that while cleaning you found these pills and would she be interested in talking about what they are for. Being aggressive or demanding will likely turn her off.
I’m afraid this needs more info. As an adult over 18, you have no legal right to demand any info about her healthcare unless she appears dangerous to you or herself, or unless you think she has a contagious disease. The best way to think of it, and most people don’t, is to treat her like she is a renter, even up to signing a lease. That way, you both spell out up front what you expect and what you allow. If she has a job and you need money, charge her fair rent. If she can’t pay, you can say $1 and agree to services, but write those down.
Btw, I’m not so smart. I let a niece move in, my adult son said this to me... I’m the psychiatrist, I know what I’m doing!!! No I didn’t and boy I wish I had listened. Anyway, truth is always nice. If you think she seems depressed, sad, unmotivated, etc., maybe she’s depressed and getting appropriate care and doesn’t want to share. Or she’s depressed, but can’t afford care and so she’s using something a friend gave her. Probably not so good. I would start with “I found these...” if they’re a Rx in her name, probably good. If not, you need to know. It’s even possible she’s hiding some street drug in a bottle to try to hide it. If you own the house, you can throw her out. Get a lease. If you rent and she’s doing something shady, you could all wind up on the street. Or in jail. Her doctor can’t tell you stuff, but you could say you found them and you're concerned and maybe they can get her to catch you up. But mostly, you can ask and pray and make her leave, none are good options.
Share your concern in a brief concise manner and ask what you can do to help. Also explain how you happened upon the mediation.
This really calls for a discussion, without being critical, with your daughter.  Remember, she is a young adult and not a child, and should be approached as such.  You will want to find out what is causing her need for the medication, and if has been prescribed by a psychiatrist
and if not, suggest to her that she consults a psychiatrist or psychologist to make certain that it is necessary and if it is the drug of choice.  Her not telling you  could possibly mean that she is afraid of your response to her, and it is important to get her to trust you that you are on her side and respect her need to make her own decisions. 

Donald A. Moses MD
Mother should be proud that her daughter is getting help. Usually mothers know when their daughter have problems and her daughter of legal age to ask for help.
I will wait and respect the daughter’s privacy.
Your daughter is an adult, which means she has the right to privacy of her health information, and she can see any doctor and get any prescription without talking to you about it. Antidepressants are commonly used for treatment of depression and anxiety. They are relatively safe. If you are concerned about your daughter's mental health, I recommend that you talk to her about your concerns without bringing up the medications. You can ask her how she's been feeling lately, or perhaps you can point out changes you've noticed in her behavior. Ask open ended questions about her general well being instead of confronting her with the fact that you found the pills. If you still don't get any answers out of her, then you may decide to tell her what you found, or you may let the whole thing go. It's up to you. I know you are curious, however, consider what outcome you are looking for. If it's just to satisfy your curiosity, let it go. If it's more serious and you're worried about your daughter's health and safety, and you think you can help, then do open up the conversation with her.

Sayeh Beheshti, M.D., M.A.
Adult psychiatrist & psychotherapist

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I will encourage you to talk to her openly but supportively about it.
I understand your concern.
Have a Heart to Heart talk with your daughter, tell her that you want to have good Mother-Daughter Relationship; that you are there to understand her feelings, needs and stresses in her life; and ask if she is getting counseling and medication for stresses, and what you can do to support her.

Tell her you noticed these and ask her if she is willing to talk about it.
Asking her while explaining how you found them should not be a confrontation. I don't know how the two of you have been interacting. Are there no other family members to involve? Kindness and concern while respecting her proximity to adult independence particularly as part of family discussion can help reduce anger and shame, some usual components of "reacting badly."