My 22 year old child has recently been diagnosed with a sleep disorder, namely, idiopathic hypersomnia. What this means is that he sleeps for long periods of time (in my child's case, sometimes in excess of 16 hours at a time), often multiple times per day, and the sleep is largely not restorative or restful.
My child has had these symptoms grow in intensity over a year or two without remitting. Now, I am in no position to challenge the diagnosis as I am not a doctor, but it seems to me that my child's problem is that he doesn't have any motivation to or doesn't want to be awake. I've tried talking to him about this and he claims that his sleep issues are affecting his capacity to think (he was a straight A student up until his junior year of college) and that the sleep inertia he experiences stops him from wanting to do anything. He has no real sleep schedule--it's a crap shoot whether he'll be up at a given time. He has fallen asleep doing dangerous tasks like driving. Due to his sleep issues, he has dropped out of college. The fact that the skills he has that are employable require degrees and he has no such degree implies he has no real future for employment. He currently lives at home with me and he does not have any source of income. He does do small tasks around the house, such as fixing things that are broken and cooking and whatnot when he is awake. I guess I'm just in denial about his sleep disorder.
My insurance is pretty poor for more exotic illnesses and whatnot so some of the treatments that have been prescribed for my son are not covered due to being classified as experimental or not indicated by the FDA for his specific illness. Some of the prescriptions are very pricey and I can't afford to pay for them. The few that he has been able to try have been absolutely ineffective for my son. Outside of the ineffective or expensive medications, there's practically no treatments for people with my son's condition. The condition itself is also not considered a disability by many, so he's unlikely to get protection from the ADA or to get concessions from any potential employers.
Before the sleep issues, he was set on graduating on time and with good grades, getting out of the house, and being able to support himself financially. Now, he seems to be stuck here with no way out. And not to sound like a bad parent, but I want him out of the house; I just don't want to kick him out in this condition. However, the condition (according to his doctor), in most cases, does not go away or lessen in intensity at all. It seems like he'll be here forever.
How can I accept that my son really has this illness and isn't feigning it to get a free ride? How can I be reasonably supportive of my child while not allowing him to get too comfortable? What things are reasonable for me to expect him to do around the house or towards getting a degree or a job for himself?
I'm not the best writer in the world, so if you would like more information or clarification, let me know and I'll gladly do so.