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He Won’t Get Out of Bed

Man holding head, opening door

AiR Member meggety‘s  brother was sober for 50 days… but now he’s so depressed he won’t get out of bed…

“I have a brother who is severely depressed and struggling with alcoholism. He will not get out of bed or take care of basic hygiene (i.e. bathing). He had been sober for almost 50 days, but my family believes that he has been drinking again. He is living with my parents and negatively affecting their lives. I am a recovering alcoholic myself, but I still feel at a loss for what to do. I believe that we really need a family intervention to help my brother and my other family members. Unfortunately, my brother has MassHealth insurance and has had to jump through so many hoops to get the help he needs. Any assistance you can give me would be greatly appreciated.”

Dear meggety,

Your brother is trying to stay sober but is so depressed he won’t get out of bed. I would treat this as a psychiatric emergency. I suggest you start by calling crisis in your area.

In Western Mass the numbers would be: 413-733-6661 or 413-568-6386.  Ask them what the system can do.  Can someone visit? Do your parents call a paramedic? If he needs to make the call to them for an evaluation, when and who does he call?  Are you in Springfield?  CHD has a federal grant called Health and Wellness that is looking to sign up seriously mentally ill folks. Perhaps a case manager can visit. Their number: 413-420-2302 or 413-439-1209.  If you are not in western mass, ask the people at these numbers to suggest counterparts in other parts of the state. Write back if they don’t provide resources.

It is possible that when he stopped drinking the depression worsened. By leading with mental illness, you enter a different system. There are respite homes and different kinds of interventions.

The Allies in Recovery site can show your parents and you strategies for encouraging your brother to make a call or to see someone. This is in Module 8.  It’s going to be up to you to make a list of possible sources of help and to provide this to your parents.

For now, this is where you can start.  Write back and let us know whether these suggestions helped.



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)