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Drug use or something else?
An_240648 posted:
About 9 years ago my 22 year old brother was outgoing and had a lot of friends. He was a social drinker but eventually began to drink alone in his room at my parents house where he lived. He became depressed and felt he was going nowhere in life and decided to move to Kansas City from Washington to become a missionary and work with a large church organization there. Our family and church sent him money each month, and he lived seven years in a basement of church couple there in Kansas City praying.

When my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer 2 years ago, my brother returned to live with my parents. He is now a very different person. He cannot handle being around people for long and mostly stays alone in his room where he eats his meals, plays video games, and sleeps. He found a job picking up metal scrap at some kind of warehouse that builds airplanes and is able to listen to his i-Pod all day since he never has to speak with anyone on the job. When the rest of the family comes over for holidays, he sits with us for maybe 10-15 minutes before disappearing to his room. During that time, he stares at the floor, laughs to himself, and generally just sits there.

The family generally believes he was affected by living alone for so long and will eventually snap out of it. My husband says my brother reminds him of an army buddy who dropped acid and fried his brain. What is wrong with my brother? Is this the result of drugs or spending a lot of time alone or something else?
Caprice_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi and welcome to WebMD,

It sounds like a difficult situation for you and your family. It's clear you care about your brother and would like to see him get help.

Unfortunately, no one online can really even guess at what's going on for him. Can you approach him with your concern and support him in at least starting by seeing a doctor. Even if it's due to being alone for so long and not developing social skills, that can be helped and therapy may make a huge difference for him.

Let us know how it goes for him.

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