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Old 09-19-2006, 03:55 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mt USA
Posts: 428
BlueSteam HB User
Question Signs of a bipolar teen?

I've been having troubles with my son, and this last episode was really bad. He made "fun" of my own dad being in an accident--before he even knew if my dad was alive or dead. I have a thread about it on the depression board called: "my son was cruel and heartless"...if anyone wants to read about it. Someone replied to my thread and mentioned that my son could be bipolar. I'm not too sure what this means really, but it made me wonder. He tends to do sweet, nice things one minute and then be a little jerk the next. I don't know what to look for. I also wonder if he is trying to punish me for the divorce--that would not constitute bipolar--right? I also think my oldest daughter may have a problem. She's happy one minute, picking a fight with anyone the next, or crying. Does this run in families?

I know only a dr can diagnose this, but what signs should I look for? I would appreciate any help or advice. Thank you!!

Old 09-19-2006, 06:21 PM   #2
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Philadelphia
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Dee-nah HB User
Re: Signs of a bipolar teen?

Does Depression or BiPolar run in you or your husbands family? That is a starter and it is heretitary (sp?)...

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Old 09-19-2006, 06:35 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2004
Location: New York
Posts: 5,813
goody2shuz HB Usergoody2shuz HB User
Re: Signs of a bipolar teen?

Hi, Bluesteam Welcome to the board. There is an information thread at the top of this forum that will help you out, however, often adolescents and children will present differently than an adult.

I am the mother of two girls and my 15 year old has just recently been diagnosed Bipolar-NOS (Not Otherwise Specific) They have not classified her as of yet and will do so over the next few years. I am afraid that my older daughter may also have it but since she did not present as severely as my younger daughter we are waiting to see how things go. She is presently away at college in her first year in a Honors Program.

My younger daughter's behavior seemed to change sometime around 11 and 12 years of age. At this time she had gotten her menses, there were two deaths in the family and she was having some problems transitioning into middle school in terms of friendships. Shortly after the deaths she started cutting herself (self injury). Her moods went up and down and we saw alot of agitation and irritability. She started arguing with us about almost everything and what we began to see was somewhat concerning but we attributed it to the teenage years and the rebellion that went along with that.

However, in her first year of high school things worstened to the point that we had severe changes in behavior, the irritability increased to the point that living with her was unbearable. She started doing rather impulsive things like taking 15 advil after a fight with a friend, lying, manipulating everything to get her way, IMing and having sexually explicit convos with boys she just met and losing interest in things that were positive in her life. She dropped all her positive friends and started hanging with different people. She did self piercings and colored her hair without permission. She went from being an honor student to cutting classes and not doing well in school. The irritability turned into severe anger with cursing.....our daughter slowly disappeared and this new being was living amongst us. She ran away twice and made a false CPS report in an attempt to get herself removed from our home. Eventually she had 3 more self injury/suicide attempts requiring 3 hospitalizations. And then she was arrested for shoplifting while out with me buying her Easter outfit. She went on to run away twice. She spent all her time in her room and finally she was sent by the judge (God bless his soul) to have a throrough evaluation at an adolescent psychiatric center and there she finaaly received the diagnosis and treatment she needed. Now we finally seem to be getting our daughter back....she is much more compliant and manageable....there is far less anger and slowly with the meds and skills she had been taught while hospitalized we are recognizing our daughter who was taken from us by this disorder. We are now in the process of seeking stabilization.

My advice to you after having gone through this is to get you son evaluated by a board certified adolescent psychiatrist ASAP. Do not wait.....I only wish I had done something long before I did. But who was to me it seemed like a rebellious teen but looking back on it I was living a life of hell with the tasmanian devil!! I could have spared us all a year of living through all of this if I had sought the proper help out....the thing is I did but the psychiatrist started my daughter on antidepressants which from all I have learned is the worst thing you can do with somebody who is Bipolar since it will trigger mania and increase suicidal attempts which it did with my daughter.

I have learned that Bipolar is often triggered by some type of traumatic loss whether through a death, divorce, or change in life. There may or may not be a genetic our case there is alcoholism on both sides of the family and one great grandparent who had manic-depression.

In children, depression AND mania peresent themselves in the form of irritability, agitation, argumentativeness , and anger. So there is a fine line in being able to differentiate the two and often this is referred to as a mixed state.

I don't know what your son presents with, however, it seems to me that often a child who is Bipolar will distort reality to be something it is really isn't thus being delusional. They have a grandiosity in which they must have what they want and will go to whatever means they have to in order to get it. They often are not remorseful for their actions and have little care for the feelings of others.

My daughter was always a sensitive child who often had no fear of approaching somebody in a wheelchair and crawling into their lap. It is this sensitivity that has become her handicap....something that may seem so little to you and me is so much more internalized by her. The other day when my husband and I were short of money to pay for our lunch at Wendys she returned from school all upset....when we went to find out what was wrong she asked us if we were "poor" and going to lose our house. Without meds she would h ave held such a fear in for weeks perhaps even months which I am sure caused the agitation and anger within her. Now at least she is able to unload it by articulating more of what is going on inside before it manifests itself in a way that is inapporpriate to express.

There are many sources out there.....start out by going to your library. I found the book "The Bipolar Child" to be quite helpful. But the only true way of knowing is to have your son evaluated since many disorders may mimic his behavior.

Please feel free to ask any questions. There is a wealth of knowledge on this board as well as alot of caring souls.

(((HUGS))) ~ Goody

Old 09-19-2006, 07:09 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Dover Tennessee
Posts: 610
emeraldeyes114 HB User
Re: Signs of a bipolar teen?

Goody has said it better then I could. My son was living with his grandparents when he was finally diagnosed. Prior to that it was speculation on my part even though we had therapist who came to the house to see him. So I don't remember the exact thing that happened for him to have been dx'd. I don't remember though I do know his grandmother told me. I am sorry I have not been quicker on it.


Old 09-20-2006, 06:38 AM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mt USA
Posts: 428
BlueSteam HB User
Re: Signs of a bipolar teen?

Thank you for your replies--There was problems on my dad's side of the family, both my aunt and my grandmother committed suicide. I do know that my aunt was mentally ill, but my grandmother as far as I know was very ill(physically)--and she was probably severely depressed after losing a daughter this way. I understand that my grandfather used to drink a lot and my uncle is a recovering alcoholic. I can't say about my natural mother's side--as she did not raise me and I have been " kept" from that side of the family. From what I do know, there may be some problems. On my ex's side, both parents were alcoholics, and the brothers and sisters all (5) either did drugs or drank. I did not know this at the time we married.

I haven't had the type of episodes like Goody mentioned with my son. He tends to sound off with his mouth. I don't know if you read my thread on the depression board or not. Also, I need to find out the truth about the gunnea pig. He also uses foul language and will drop his pants in front of me, rear facing. He talks nasty language too, talking about sex. But only in front of me, never my husband. He usually behaves when my husband is home. His table manners are disgusting. But my ex said he doesn't eat this way at his home. We refuse to take him out to eat anymore. He destroys things in my home, but I usually don't find it until he has left. I am so uttlerly worn out by the time he leaves to go back to his dad, it's pathetic. I will say though, when he gets into trouble with me, or gets caught doing these things, he is very remorsefull. Even to the point of tears. He will hug me and tell me he is sorry while he's sobbing.

The more I write here, the more I think that maybe my son is lashing out at me? My ex says that my son is mouthy at home, but not like this. Probably because he is fearful of the punishment he would receive--is what I'm thinking. My children have been through a lot. First, they saw their dad abuse me, then he mentally abused them--and still does. Thier grandparents past away, and they lived next door. Our divorce was very nasty. He stole the children for a long time, and told the kids lies about me. I have spent years trying to fix all of this. Only my oldest daughter knows the truth and she has done her best to convince my son that I did not abandon him. It really doesn't surprise me that my children are having problems, the poor things. The only one that seems to be pretty stable is my daughter who will be 15 this month--but she has problems with her dad that have sent her into horrible fits. My 19 year old daughter does sound a little bi-polar though. OMgosh, this has gotten long--sorry. What do you think?

Old 09-20-2006, 09:54 AM   #6
Join Date: May 2004
Location: New York
Posts: 5,813
goody2shuz HB Usergoody2shuz HB User
Re: Signs of a bipolar teen?

BlueSteam....I think that there are alot of red flags here that you just cannot ignore. I have seen what you have seen in my daughter....before she was diagnosed and treated she said and did the most horrible things to me!! All I could describe it as was her being like a viper....striking me over and over again. My husband was often outside and not around often leaving it as my word against hers. But eventually he saw what I saw as well but it took him a while.

There is also a hypersexuality component in which they will demonstrate in abnormal ways....your son is demonstrating this by exposing himself in inappropriate ways to his mom. There is definitely something going on here and it would be best for you to have your son and perhaps the others evaluated.

Do you have Bipolar, depression , alcoholism, suicide or drug addictions running in the family??? Any of these factors can be predisposing to Bipolar. AND you do not even need a genetic factor it still can be a disorder that one can have without genetics even coming into play.

The important thing is that you have a board certified psychiatrist evaluate your son and the others if you have concerns. The thing I read over and over again is how "normal" somebody with Bipolar can appear to others who do not see them day in and day out like we do. Often they can go on to fool the doctors but a good one will not be fooled and will listen to the ones who the person lives with and is able to describe their behavior on a daily basis.

There is obviously something wrong that has been triggered by all the events of your son's life. He needs your help to get him the diagnosis and treatment that he needs. Make that appointment will not regret it. There is nothing worse than not knowing what is going on or what you can do to get it better.

(((HUGS))) ~ Goody

PS ~ I have not read your post on the depression board but prommise to do so when time allows and get back to you with any other thoughts.

Last edited by goody2shuz; 09-20-2006 at 09:57 AM.

Old 09-20-2006, 02:56 PM   #7
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mt USA
Posts: 428
BlueSteam HB User
Re: Signs of a bipolar teen?

Goody--I really think you're right, I had better start getting him some help, before things really start getting bad. And...I noticed that you replied to my post on the depression board about my son, and thank you for giving me such a positive reply. It really bothered me when people posted that I should "kick him to the curb". That's not what parent's are supposed to do. I really think that would be the wrong thing to do in this case. He probably feels as though he's been kicked enough. I will of course take care of my family and myself. Thank you so much

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