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Old 09-10-2007, 09:11 PM   #1
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mom2bpson HB User
Question My son is complaining about a lack of concentration at school

Does anyone have any experience with a lack of concentration, compared to before the BP dg, that they can share? My 19 year old recently dg son is experieincing a lack of an ability to concentrate at college and has dropped the more complex classes for the time being. He attributes the problem to his meds (depakote and abilify) but the pdoc attributes it to the bp and recovery process. My son had his first manic event july 20 resulting in an in patient 10 day hospital stay to evaluate and medicate. I do not know what to think, and figured I would go to all of you. Thanks for your wisdom. Mom

 
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:28 PM   #2
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Re: My son is complaining about a lack of concentration at school

Hi Mom,

I don't have an answer for you. It is difficult to say what is going on as your son is so new to the meds. Many of the meds used in the treatment for BP make it more difficult to concentrate, effect memory or ability to make calculations. My son is in a field that uses a lot of mathematics and he has noticed a big difference in his ability to make calculations. He can still do it at the same level as before; it just takes longer than prior to medication.

I don't believe your pdoc is right, if I understand correctly what he told you. I am under the impression that it is well-known and documented that some meds affect memory, ability to concentrate, etc. Topomax is nicknamed "dopamax" due to this effect. I am taking neurontin for my back issues and I have noticed a change in my thinking abilities.

I think you can find some information on the website of the National Institute of Mental Health ([url]www.nimh.org)[/url].

I do believe these symptoms will lessen as his body gets used to the meds. At one point my son was given provigil which is technically an anti-narcolepsy medication, but seems to work well on improving concentration, too.

How is your son doing otherwise??

xxTsohl

Last edited by tsohl; 09-10-2007 at 09:29 PM.

 
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:36 PM   #3
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Re: My son is complaining about a lack of concentration at school

Hi, Mom. Has your son been diagnosed with BP alone or does he have a comorbid diagnosis of ADD as well??? My 16 year old daughter is diagnosed with both and does have some concentration problems with the ADD but since her grades are good the pdoc feels that medicating her ADD may interfere with her overall stability which we just recently attained.

As far as my 18 year old who is in college and just diagnosed with ADD/mood disorder, she has complained of concentration problems more than anything. But they have again chosen to treat the mood problems with Lamictal and see how she does once at a therapeutic level and then if she still has concentration problems go on to treat the ADD with a Daytrana patch. She too gets great grades and is able to keep up with the work so we are holding off on the stimulant meds since that could induce mania.

Also....some kids do experience cognitive dulling with some of the meds. I believe Tsohl's son experienced this and was either put on Provigil or Articept to help out with that while studying for his GRE's. I am sure that she will pop in here to help you out further if she hasn't already done so.

YOur son has been through alot just having been recently diagnosed. It is good that he is taking some of the load off of himself. The meds do take a while to stabilize the BP and it takes sometimes up to a year or two to find the right combo. And...it takes the body a few months to get use to the meds as well.

I hope that he continues to do well....I am in the same boat worrying about my older daughter being away and just having started meds a few weeks ago. I spoke with her roommate who has BP who promises to keep an eye on her and call me if there is a problem.

Hang in there and keep on coming here if you need some encouragement and support.

Love ~ Goody

Last edited by goody2shuz; 09-10-2007 at 09:39 PM.

 
Old 09-10-2007, 09:52 PM   #4
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Lor60 HB User
Re: My son is complaining about a lack of concentration at school

Hi Mom,

My 13 year old son is complaining of the same thing as well as problems with his memory. He has been on a low dose of abilify for almost a year and has been on a therapeutic dose of lamictal since late spring. Our pdoc suspects a comorbid ADD but I am not so sure.

 
Old 09-10-2007, 09:53 PM   #5
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mom2bpson HB User
Re: My son is complaining about a lack of concentration at school

My son has not been dg ADD and did not have any real concentration problems before his manic event in July. He is doing well on all scores, but does complain about this concentration issue and has put on a few pounds, which also bothers him. We are still trying to connect with a pdoc at his college town, and his local pdoc is helping us on that score. My son also met with the dean of students today at his college to open the lines of communication in case he needs to drop a class or other academic assistance due to his bp. She called me and was very supportive. I have been reading many books and web sites on this and have found conflicting positions. The pdoc has advised about the possible side effects of all the meds and cautioned that time is what this will take, but of course my son wants to feel like he did before July and he wants that now. The pdoc has not really attributed the lack of concentration to the meds as much as the bp and recovery from the manic event and stabilizing. Thanks for the help fellow moms. Mom

 
Old 09-10-2007, 09:55 PM   #6
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Re: My son is complaining about a lack of concentration at school

My son is on 10 mg of abilify and 1000 mg of depakote. I too do not really think ADD is an issue here, but think that all of this is too new to really make an eval as to the cause. Once we have a new pdoc in college town, we will have another pdoc weigh in on this issue. Mom

 
Old 09-10-2007, 10:07 PM   #7
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Re: My son is complaining about a lack of concentration at school

Mom ~ As far as the weight gain issue....my younger daughter was able to avoid the weight gain by watching her calories, carbs, sugars and soda!! Yes even diet soda puts on weight!! She also does more exercise to help out as well. Depakote is known to put on weight but if your son learns to incorporate low cal munchie foods such as carrots, celery, fruits as well as drinking lots of water he will be able to keep some of that weight off. I believe that Abilify is weight neutral and isn't the culprit. There are other antiepileptic/anticonvusant meds that act as mood stabilizers that won't put on the weight gain if that continues to be a problem for your son with the Depakote. One of them is Lamictal which has worked out wonderfully for my younger daughter and hopefully will do the same for my older one.

It is great that your son's college is supportive of your son. That is a great plus. I am thinking of setting up a pdoc for my daughter near her college as well since she will most likely need monitoring there as well.

I would give the meds some time and you son some time to adjust to how they affect him. Some of this may disappear as his body acclimates to the meds.

Keep on posting....there are plenty of us here on the same road as you.

Love ~ Goody

Last edited by goody2shuz; 09-10-2007 at 10:12 PM.

 
Old 09-11-2007, 06:42 AM   #8
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Re: My son is complaining about a lack of concentration at school

Goody - I called the local hospital near the college and asked for the inpatient pysch unit and spoke with the nurse who answered the phone and asked for the best pdoc that treats young people with bp on that unit. She was very helpful, but most of those pdocs have limited outside practices. However, I found that the pdocs she referred me to are the supervising pdocs for the teaching hospital's clinic's residents. That is a similar setting that my son is going to in the Chicago area and the pdoc is a DO with psychiatry as his specialty. We love him since he treats/views the whole body, kind of a holistic approach from an MD. Anyway i felt I needed a pdoc at college just in case even though it is only 3 hours away and also since I wanted my son to have regular appointments with a pdoc for my son's security at college knowing he always had a place to go again just in case. So we shall see how that goes once we have our initial appt. I will keep reporting on this ....Mom

 
Old 09-11-2007, 10:36 AM   #9
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langlee HB User
Re: My son is complaining about a lack of concentration at school

Mom-

I think everyone gave you great advice about the concentration. I think you are going to have to wait and see how much trouble he is having and then determine whether you need a course of action.

Lor-

There is a Conners rating scale for ADD/ADHD which you might want to see if you can find and fill it out yourself for Drew. It will give you some insight. Zac constantly complained that he thought he had ADHD and no one ever thought so because he managed his school work so well, but from what I've read, Middle School is usually the time the bright kids are finally diagnosed. When I looked back at Zac's behavior in elementary school, there were certainly signs of ADHD, but because he had no behavioral issues, everyone thought his inability to sit still was because he was bored. Zac said he felt a difference in his ability to concentrate as soon as he took the Concerta, although lack of sleep is impinging on the good effects of the Concerta.

Hope this helps.

Love,

Hope

 
Old 09-11-2007, 02:25 PM   #10
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Re: My son is complaining about a lack of concentration at school

Hi Mom -

I'm seventeen and I have concentration problems as well. I'm able to keep my grades up, though, so for now my pdoc doesn't want to treat anything like that as it could upset my [almost] stability. As for the Conners Scale, I'm pretty sure she gave me that...it involved one for me, one for my mom, and three from teachers...Mom's and mine showed definite signs, but since I'm so introverted at school and my grades are up, the ones from my teachers showed no signs at all! So for now, I'm just trying to concentrate on my accord...It's mostly maths that I have the most trouble with, but I'm not taking a maths class this year. ^_^ Reading long texts that I don't enjoy also is taxing, though. I finished HP7 in no time, but give me a textbook on something like government or science, I'm distracted...

~~Paige
__________________
Bipolar Ultradian Cycler
400mg. Lamictal
600mg. Seroquel
1mg. Klonopin
0.5-1mg. Ativan
I'm not crazy ~ I'm mentally interesting!

 
Old 09-11-2007, 02:45 PM   #11
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Re: My son is complaining about a lack of concentration at school

Paige - my son dropped his calculus class and anything that really taxes his attention that he is not interested in is a problem right now. But he was recently dg and is still adjusting to the meds....he also sometimes takes afternoon naps, which I understand is not really good, but he has to get at least 8 hours sleep at night. How are you doing that? IF you are tired, I can see the concentration could be a problem too. Good luck. Mom

 
Old 09-11-2007, 04:36 PM   #12
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Re: My son is complaining about a lack of concentration at school

I'm on Seroquel, which ensures I get eight hours of sleep...I take it at eight PM and go to bed between nine and ten and wake up at six AM...at least, that's my Monday-Friday schedule. Weekends, I'm a little more flexible, but I still ensure I get eight-nine hours via Seroquel and I try not to let myself take naps because I don't want it to upset my sleep schedule...it's hard during the weekends, but I'm soooo busy during school days that it's not as hard. :S But I'm still getting over my only getting 5-6 hours a night...which is what I was doing before Seroquel...so I'm still adjusting to getting more sleep.

~~Paige
__________________
Bipolar Ultradian Cycler
400mg. Lamictal
600mg. Seroquel
1mg. Klonopin
0.5-1mg. Ativan
I'm not crazy ~ I'm mentally interesting!

 
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