View Full Version : Pediatric Bipolar (5 year old)

06-25-2006, 08:49 AM
hello alll.

I wanted to share my story hoping to hear how others can relate and hear how others have dealt with, as well as touch someone with my own story.

I have been having a hard time as a single mom dealing with my son. He has been "difficult to control" since I can remember, and his dad had been diagnosed with Bipolar ADHD and Borderline Personality Disorder. 7 months ago I moved my son and I from his dad who also had a recurring drug problem in hopes of a "normal" life near family. Come to find as time went on he had issues in preschool that I got letters phone calls and meetings about his behavior. I took him to pediatrician who said it must be a discipline problem, the kid is only 5. One month later took him to neuropsychologist who said he was normal for the changes he has been through and the chaos he had lived with to give it 6 months to adjust.

In that time, I had changed his diet to avoid preservatives, additives, dyes and lower sugar added flax oil, b complex and fish oil.. This seemed to help a little at first, but not for long...I became stricter and he got worse, I was told to be consistent and he will get it, but my son didnt learn anything but anger and retaliation and got worse. A couple months later he was kicked out of his daycare due to the fact they felt he was a major liability for he threw violent uncontrollable rages, physically agressive toward kids, lack of respect for teacher and impulsively running away from class.
I was forced to quit my job to take care of my son and find him the help he needed for what I thought was partially PTSD from the changes in addition to ADHD. Now, 6-8 weeks since he was kicked out of school, I have found a program at a hospital who seems to believe it is BIPOLAR because its a mood driven disorder and he fits the classic case (on the high side) He doesnt show many symptoms of the depressed side...

I am a very strong person (obviously) have been able to handle my son all these years alone (while his dad was in/out of the picture and on/off drugs) and now for 7 months completely alone... 16 hours a day. He is very high maintenance requires constant stimulation.. see people, play, fun, action....

I am so glad that he will finally be getting the help that he needs. The dr. said he could start off on a low dose med to help control the moods, and possibly something to help him sleep (he only sleeps 8-9 hrs a night) But, with therapy he can possibly learn on his own to control himself and his emotions being that he is so young... and come off the meds.... Which is excellent news. I am also validated that my hardship and issues are not discipline related as so stated by a few family/friends who have no clue. I am by no means a weak person or parent, nor did I do or not do anything to cause or contribute to this problem.

I have also been told that other family members with children do not want to be around my son for he teaches them bad behaviors.. It hurts, but as a mother myself, I do understand. For some reason, some people feel the need to tell you how to be a parent of a child they don't even know. I have an open mind and I am very self-aware.

What I can tell any of you that might help is what I have learned.
I have learned
to trust and listen to my motherly instincts
all children are different
and no one knows myself or my son better than me
Do not procrastinate or wait
.. and NEVER give up

Michele C NJ 38
matthew 5 1/2

06-25-2006, 12:49 PM

My son is also 5 and also has been diagnoised as being bipolar. After much discussion the pediatrician and the psychiatrist have decided to just go with a mood disorder diagnosis due to his age, but he still gets treatment. He's currently on Depakote and Risperdal.

He's also had a disgnosis of ADHD (from the psychologist), but the psychiatrist said he believes that it's just the mood disorder giving him those symptoms. He doesn't believe that he's truely ADHD.

I've always said he's not a "bad" child. He's just very difficult. I always thought something was wrong. I never fathomed it would be bipolar, so I was definately thrown for a loop when we got the orginal diagnosis. But I have been told now by 4 docs the same thing, so it made me realize that this is what we really are dealing with.

If you have any questions, please let me know!! I lurk here a lot, I don't think there are many parents with young ones with the diagnosis.

06-25-2006, 01:30 PM
:angel: I read your post and though my son was older when he was dx'd. I suspected for a lot longer he was Bipolar at the very least. He was a child that often would go from being thoughtful and loving to one that was bouncing off the walls with very little if any sleep. He started cutting and at the time we had a therapist who came out to the house. They gave bad advice which I heeded thinking that perhaps they might be right. I should have listened to what my heart and my experience with being Bipolar said and not someone else. So reading your post though my experience with my son and my own illness maybe quite different still gives me hope that one day perhaps things will be better for many who watch their children suffer. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I hope things are going well for you.

06-25-2006, 02:56 PM
Hi Michele

You are one courageous woman! And, a terrific mommy too. Gosh, I can only imagine how exhausted you must be at the end of every day?! :dizzy: I know how I feel with my two boys, and they are up at the crack of dawn by 5:45/6:00 and go to bed by 8:30. Is your son like my son who is high wired the moment he wakes up? Screaming when he awakens? Do you get headaches from running in circles? I sure do. :bouncing: :bouncing:

I don't even know where to start. The message you responded to at my post was very nice. I am overwhelmed with what to write because there is so much to say.....and little time to write. I'm just stumped with words right now.

Oh, just so you know... My son with ADHD got kicked out of school the second to the last day of school this year. Yes, and that would be kindergarten. Let's just say, he had been naughty, and it all led up to a very bad week and the principal had it with him.

It sounds like you are doing all you can possibly do for your son, and yourself Michele. You are a very good mom, and a strong one too. It takes a lot to endure a child with emotional turmoil going on inside and then a dad (ex) like that too. Gosh, I can't imagine. Support is hard to find. We too, have a hard time finding childcare or people who will watch our sons. Our sons have scared babysitters away.

We have neighbors who don't want their children around our one son and I completely respect that. At first I was offended by it but now I am not. I understand why. It is a good thing, and now I have my other son play with the neighbors and keep son B at home with me and do things with him and have quiet time with just us together. We usually read books and do school work. Things he likes to do.

I need to get going. I'll try to sign on again tomorrow.

TTYL and take care.....


06-28-2006, 03:11 AM
Thanks for all of your support and stories.. Its been getting progressively worse. Just wondering what your experiences have been with discipline? I have been trying to understand that he has issues,. But also need to reinforce that he cannot be fresh, hit, steal, lie, destroy things. blah blah It falls on deaf ears. No matter how many consequences (which are matter of fact and non confrontational) he fights and fights and actually makes it worse. On a typical day he will have 3 tantrums .. I will ask him 3 times to put on his underwear/clothes... after 3rd time the TV goes off until the clothes are on- this will produce a raging tantrum that can last 30 minutes.

I thought at first, he needed to go through this and with consistency and over time he would see that his actions caused these consequences and LEARN, but NO all this time and energy I feel is being wasted. He DOESNT GET IT. He will turn around and do it again and again and go through all that over and over again. Cause he cries screams fights, and rages everytime there is a consequence (loss of privelege) or told no (no matter how its said or redirected) He wants what he wants when he wants it, and even though he doesnt ever get his way he still wont give up trying and fighting for it. (Thats why it really irks me when others say it must be discipline, you arent firm enough with him or he needs a *** beating, no child of mine would get away with that- these people have no clue !)

He CANNOT calm down or stop his anger from accelerating, and covers his ears and says BLAH BLAH when I try to talk to him. I want to call 911 for he really scares me that he is out of control, and my neighbors probably think he is getting beaten or something. He does get a lot of GOOD attention.. its not making logical sense to me.. He just isnt getting cause and effect. Its VERY apparent to me that he has a psychological problem. When its over he is mad at himself and says he is just bad.. I keep telling him he makes bad choices, but he is not bad. I just don't know what to do anymore. This has been going on for years now. I was told by dr. thats what they do at this age. HUH ? But everyone else we are around has said "whats wrong with him, why cant you make him mind you" He is very big for his age, but as a mom I know he should be learning something by now..

ALso, he has been peeing his pants during the day now. This is new over the past few weeks and its been happening at least once a day. Which I know from personal experience is a sign of mental stress/issues.

Just wondering. We meet with the therapist and dr on Friday which I will discuss meds. Anyone familiar with Depakote? They said to get him stable enough to start to control himself. Im so afraid of meds, but he might harm himself if he goes on like this.

Michele C NJ 38
Matthew 5 1/2

06-28-2006, 06:27 AM
Hi Michele

Thinking of you.... I have to run errands right now.. Be back soon..


06-28-2006, 07:36 AM

Hi.. I know this will sound horrible, but if you are having that severe of problems with your son as a mom, and you are a single parent, with no outlets, then take him in today to the clinic or call until the pdoc will call back. It is for the sake of his and your own and for him to remain safe. Who knows what he will do next? I have a child just like him, and I know what the limits are- THEY ARE UNKNOWN!! :eek: His meds need to be adjusted immediately, and that will make a huge difference. They always do with my son and the pdoc will understand this (or they usually do). He needs some type of antisychotic med or anger med in him to help reduce the anger and aggression, and the Depokote might not be enough. He needs something added on to it. Tell the pdoc you are very concerned about his anger and aggression, and really lay it on about that issue. Write down EVERYTHING he has been doing at home so you won't forget anything at the appointment. Trust me, the more you write down, the better you are at the appointments. I've learned the hard way and had to call back.

You are a good mom, and are doing the best possible for your son. Continue to be all you can be for him. I know about wanting to call 911 because you feel there is nothing more you can do. I've been there, and done that! :rolleyes: :dizzy: It is a horrible feeling. You feel helpless. But, you can get through this. And, you will. You have made it this far so give yourself a lot of credit!!!! :) :) :) :)

You will be in my thoughts and prayers my dear. Do what is possible today, and keep us all posted on what is happening in your life. Let us know what is going on so we can support you. You need support.

Many hugs :angel:


06-28-2006, 12:22 PM
thanks coffegirl.
He goes to a hospital program every day 9-2:15. He isn't on meds yet. This Friday the Dr., the therapist and I will discuss this weeks events and options of meds and other forms of treatment, and alternative ways to handle him (I hope).
I can't wait until friday !

06-28-2006, 04:43 PM
Even if he is bipolar what are you going to do about it? The father was obviously a poor model for him and the child could be imitating his behavior and is also emotionally damaged by the lack of empathy and understanding that people have for this child. There is no telling what is going on for sure except that it is a big problem. Here is what I suggest:

Read The power of positive parenting by Glenn Latham, Play Therapy the art of the relationship by Garry Landreth, and Family First by Dr.Phil.

Find good, trustworthy, drug free, and friendly people in the community to come over and be good role models for you and your child. Usually people at Methodist or liberal christian Churches are really nice and friendly. But becareful as usual not to get manipulated.

Possibly find a Board Certified Psychiatrist in your nieghborhood to get a good diagnosis and of course get second or third or fourth opinions. Make sure all psychiatrists are board certified and do work with kids.

Look for somebody who is a board certified behavior analyst. This type of person could have the knowledge for a good intervention.

My knowledge about Play Therapy is that it only good in that it allows the kid to be himself and be accepted and empathized with. It may work with your kid but the only way to fix these problems is by Behavior intervention by a certified and experienced Behavior Analyst. My belief is that therapists who practices the psychodynamic therapy doesn't really help at all.

06-29-2006, 07:33 AM
I don't like hearing about kids that young actually being diagnosed as being bipolar if they haven't exhibited blatant psychotic symptoms of mania. There's several disorders that involve mood swings and "out-of-control" behavior that may mimic bipolar disorder in children. ADHD is one of them, and Asperger's is another. Putting a child that young who's suspected as being bipolar on a mood stabilizer is a good decision since mood stabilizers help calm down everyone, but I just don't see why so many kids are being told that they're bipolar when they haven't been manic, or even hypomanic. It's certainly possible for children to be bipolar, but rare. Watch out for them having grandiose delusions such as thinking that the President loves them or that they actually can fly because this signals mania. The reason I'm saying this is because I was just diagnosed with Asperger's, and I had a lot of symptoms of child-onset bipolar disorder such as rapid mood swings, little sleep, being "out-of-control," etc. as a child (and I still do), but I wasn't ever manic. I actually thought that I had cyclothymia for awhile because it fit, and my psychiatrist thought so, too, because I was put on the mood stabilizer Lamictal, which has helped with my Asperger's. You are right to take action to help control your son's symptoms, but it astounds me that the doctors have labeled him and so many other children under the age of 10-11 as being bipolar when they've never had any classic symptoms of (hypo)mania... Your son may very well be bipolar since your husband is, and bipolar disorder is a highly genetically-linked condition, but it's impossible to say if what he's experiencing is really bipolar disorder yet. Many people with child-onset bipolar disorder have the symptoms your son has, but they never knew they were bipolar until their early teen years (or preteen years) when the manic symptoms crept up. Good luck, God bless, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!:angel:

06-29-2006, 10:35 AM
StrongerNow and Gatsby thanks for all of your advice and input.
I am just wondering what exactly is Play Therapy? Is it like psychodrama? (role reversal where someone else plays you so that you can see what you look like) ????

I will definitely look into and keep in mind all of the things you have suggested. For this is all new to me, and I do realize that all of these disorders overlap each other and dr. told me that too. The Dr. said that his behavior is definitely mood driven, and I see that too. I do see that he is a lot like his father where his own thoughts cause him to be mad, sad, etc. and he runs away with his thinking negative thoughts. He has started showing new signs lately, such as self-hatred (I am stupid and I hate myself for being bad) and peeing himself during the day. Crying uncontrollably sometimes saying "The devil is stealing my brain and I cant stop him, MOM I am scared !" He talks like a teenager sometimes.. "I dont need a boss, I dont want anyone to tell me what to do, I want to be the boss, I can take care of myself and do what I want to do, like you do. Why do you always have to talk, talk, talk, talk all the time?" The grandiose thinking its kind of hard to differentiate for me as most kids his age do have a wild imagination..

I do know that the first 2 Dr.s we saw said he was normal for his age, it must be discipline or PTSD from all the major changes in his life. My motherly instincts and all of his daycare providers and anyone who has spent a lot of time with him disagree, for it is apparent to only us all the effort I have put into trying to HELP him, and understand him, etc.

I won't give up ! And I certainly want to do whats best for him to grow up happy and healthy, and have self-control and self-respect.

Thanks for your support.

Michele C NJ

06-29-2006, 10:42 AM
Well, if he's having thoughts like "the Devil is stealing my brain," that leans more to the delusion side. Do you know why he says that? Is he having "bad thoughts" and thinks that the Devil is making him think those things because he feels filthy thinking the thoughts, and they're not thoughts he'd normally think? If so, then that may signal OCD. (I have pure obsessional OCD myself, and I had this when I first started having obsessions.) If not, and he truly thinks the Devil is stealing his brain, then I'd say that's a clear-cut delusion. You're right about the imagination- that's another reason why bipolar-related delusions are so hard to diagnose in children. What child doesn't have fantasies? I find it interesting that you say he "talks like a teenager," and that he's so strong-willed- I'm the exact same way. My mother actually said those same words to me today: "I felt like I was raising a teenager your whole life because you were always so mature for your age." :angel:

06-29-2006, 01:29 PM
MattsMoM: Play Therapy is very easy to learn. It is a way of communication that allows the child to know that he is accepted. The Child Centered Play Therapists usually use a style of empathic reflecting. So if he says " I don't need a boss. I am the boss" You would say "You don't need a boss. You want to be the boss" Basically repeating what the child says. Also they reflect feelings "You felt sad when that happened" "You feel angry about that" or "You feel...." and let the child fill in the blank. Also another technique they use is called Tracking Behavior. What they mean is that you verbally recognize the child's behavior "You are doing that now. You are doing this. You are moving that there. etc." During the play session. So in others words you will have no control. You will let the child do whatever he feels like unless he becomes violent or self injurious. Play sessions are usually 50 minutes and it is ok to reflect feelings outside of the session. There is some online information on play therapy. There is the non directive play therapy and the directive play therapy that I have not studied. Play therapy should help with mood. Filial Therapy is a therapy that teaches parents how to implement play therapy techniques in their home.

Now the problem with psychiatrists saying "That is normal" is that it just allows more and more asocial and inappropriate behavior become more valid. You've got to validate the valid and valid should be all behaviors you find socially appropriate. Reading up on behavior analysis therapy should help you a lot. This therapy is different in that demands will be placed on the child. Punishers should not be used. Use no spanking. An ABA therapist should do a functional assessment, and create an intervention based on a schedule of differential reinforcement. Also they will define what are appropriate behaviors and what are not in detail. Also remember ignoring bad behavior is not always helpful. It gets tricky.

Now for the statements about how the devil and his thoughts. I wonder if he hear his father saying that and is imitating him or if the child may be psychotic? Psychiatrists would call that a delusion - but you need to have a board certified psychiatrist who works with Kids - keyword kids- not adults to help answer with that.

I would suggest to be a good role model. Model friendly, polite and positive behavior. Do not allow him to play with violent toys. eg: knives, toy guns etc.

Also I wanted to mention that if Cognitive therapists do play therapy that may help a ton with his negative thought problem. Also be careful who you pick to help your child. The person needs to be empathic and listen very well, must be kind and respectful and eager to help and hear your concerns and get results. OK don't get trapped with a bad doctor or therapist because there are many out there. Keep in touch.

06-30-2006, 02:24 PM
I had the appt with the dr and therapist today. They said my initial scoring of his individual behaviors scored at 48. They like to see kids under 10. THey did their own scoring this week and he was a 33, which is still extremely high. This included yesterday which was an excellent day, but not today which was the worst day he has had so far.. The checklist includes hyperactivity, abililty to focus, etc... sooo they said even if he has the mood disorder which still can be bipolar (TBD) that causes the destructive behaviors... he is always adhd regardless of his moods and was dx as severe ADHD with ODD and gave me a rx for metadate 10mg., BP is still pending dx for further eval.

I thought at first, that this was great.. but I cannot bring myself to fill the rx... I feel like this is a BIG step into a whole new world, and there is no going back. I am so scared... They also said if he has bipolar now, these meds will increase the BP. If he doesn't have BP now and doesnt take the meds, its likely he will get BP by adolecense...1) by not controlling the ADHD and 2) genetics..
OOOOOFAAA. I want to do cognitive or biofeedback or something else ??$$$?? . But since this came to a head and he got kicked out of school 2 months ago... I was forced to quit my job and now this program is only part time and dont even have enough hours to get a PT job... until he is under control there is no other care as an option.. plus I want to make sure that he gets all the RIGHT help. So, we are on medicaid now. This program is called CARES "The staff at the CARES Program are a multidisciplinary team consisting of master level clinicians, bachelor level counselors, a registered nurse, and a child and adolescent psychiatrist. All children receive daily academic instruction, daily group therapy, weekly individual therapy, and weekly family therapy. Upon admission all children receive a psychiatric evaluation."
So they are using a positive reinforcement system and use timeouts for bad behavior,,, exactly what I have been doing and his old preschool did... I dont know.. the only difference is now they want to add meds. I believe that he something different to help him.. Dont know what is available on medicaid. I dont know where to begin. I can try those books that were suggested, I dont know how expensive those specialists are. I have already tried the Feingold Diet, organics, and fish oil, flaxseed and vitamins... I do have a cousin who used familial therapy at the YMCA, she said it helped. I cant find that around here either.. I will have to take this slow and make a lot of phone calls !

There has to be a better way......right ?

06-30-2006, 04:21 PM
Definitely don't be afraid of the medicine! I had all 3 of my kids on psychiatric medications at very young ages. They are doing much better now, although 2 are still on them. You can always try the meds for a few weeks and see if he is calmer. If not call the doctor and let him know. If so, you are helping him to be more under control so he can fuction appropriately and learn. NO CHILD WANTS TO BE BAD, GET INTO TROUBLE ALL THE TIME OR CONSTANTLY HAVE BAD BEHAVIOR!!!!! He obviously can't control it because, no matter what they label it, him brain chemistry is off! The diagnosis isn't as important as getting the right combination of meds to balance him brain so he can think rationally. Then it will be easy to take care of him because he will be able to control himself! Also,. the therapies that are being suggested are great, but I think work a lot more efficiently when a child is cooperative and stable. Believe me, I have been dealing with ADHD, ADD, OCD, ODD, Bipolar, Aspergers, Autism, seizures and depression for 12 years with my 3 kids as a single mom 24 hours a day! I too had to leave my career (I have a Masters Degree) because nobody could possibly handle my kids. I am finally getting back to work now as my mom is with them in the late afternoon. With the right help, a ton of persistence and a lot of patience your son could be basically a normal person with a great future in a few years! If you don't follow through with the meds and therapy, like many people I know have not with their kids, you son could be a problem and in trouble forever. YOU DID NOTHING TO CAUSE ANY OF HIS BEHAVIOR, it is all the chemical imbalance! Your goal should be to end up with all the good and none of the bad from him! That would give you and him the best chance at a happy life.

06-30-2006, 07:28 PM
I'm sorry to butt in here, but I have a question. What age did this start and are your children this way with just you or everyone? I have a three year old daughter, who's father is BP. Lately, she has been terrible, especially when she's sleepy. She had a 20 minute tantrum tonight, hitting me, scratching me and biting me. This has only been going on for the last month or so, and it's usually only me that she does it to. She does fuss and fight with the other children at the babysitters, but no more than normal. She doesn't do this with any other authority figure, either. My DH can tell her to stay in time out, and she will but for me, she won't do it. She'll also listen to the babysitter.

She starts preschool in August, and I'm scared that she might do this to one of the teachers there, even though she doesn't do this to other authority figures, yet. I talked about it my therapist (I'm being seen for depression), and she seems to think that it's normal behavior, that Tessa knows I'll love her no matter what, so she feels comfortable doing it. We also talked it over with DH's psychiatrist, and he also feels that it's normal behavior. But, I still can't help but be worried.

06-30-2006, 07:41 PM
Mental illness is not selective about when it wants to come out. To me it sounds like she just needs love and attention from you. Some kids require a lot more patients than othe kids. Try to stay calm and wait it out. I wouldn't be too worried yet, but it is always good to be observant.

06-30-2006, 07:46 PM
Mental illness is not selective about when it wants to come out. To me it sounds like she just needs love and attention from you. Some kids require a lot more patients than othe kids. Try to stay calm and wait it out. I wouldn't be too worried yet, but it is always good to be observant.

She gets ton of one on one attention from me. At night, it's just she and I, so all of my attention is focused on her until bedtime. In fact, I've been told I'm overly attentive. Could that be the problem? She is very attached to me, more so than to anyone else. I'm going to not to worry, but like you said, I am going to observant.

06-30-2006, 08:46 PM
As a person who is working on a mental health degree and who works in a mental health area I just want to suggest that you becareful with the medications you give your child. They are chemicals that will be pumping threw your child's blood stream and circulatory system. Do research on the medications that they are offering to your child and read up on all the adverse effects, side effects and long term effects and benefits from the medication. If you feel worried then go with that and be cautious. Go with your mother's intuition ok. Remember pharmacological therapy is a huge business and will market drugs that may not be safe for your kid. A part of your kid's problem may be a chemical imbalance but there is no telling right now. I always believe in second and third opinions, sometimes I get a fourth opinion if still have that intuition that something just isn't right. And if Therapist's say this is normal blah blah blah and they do not tell you how to fix the problem then dig deeper. Ask questions, set goals, be assertive and take notes. Use these educated people to get ideas and information.

I need to disagree with one of the persons on here who said that You did nothing to cause the bad behavior. Well you may be accidently reinforcing the wrong behavior and you are not a bad person for doing it. IT happens all the time. THat is why a good behavior analyst or even a good psychologist would help sift out with a functional assessment what is maintaining this problem behavior in the child's environment. But here is the bottom line for now: You are short on money to help your child. Be careful with this free help you are getting. If his behavior is getting worse and violent you should know then that the intervention needs to be altered or stopped. The best things you can do now is to read up on psychology Text books. You've got to educate yourself. The best way is too go to a university library and start checking out books there or at your public library. Also there is tons of online information about Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy and Cognitive Therapy. Also have faith in God or a higher being that that entity will be there for you and help you work things out. You are doing your best. Also I think self affirmation CDs are good for kids. Basic positive self messages played on a cd system can help a child replace his negative thoughts and feel good. Watching comedies, cartoons, and doing silly and fun stuff with the kids may be a challenge but it is a start at doing something behavioral in the opposite end of this mood spectrum. Also give yourself credit and reward yourself when ever you are doing a good job. I find a CD called Creative Visualization helps me to move on from set backs and look foward to the next day. Creative visualization is a great way of keeping a very positive and realistic way of thinking. I usually suggest creative visualization for Adults and Young Adults not for younger kids because it is slightly complex even though the main idea is so positive and very encouraging but I think you might feel encouraged by it and maybe your son would benefit from it, who knows. I hope this helps. Keep me up to date.

06-30-2006, 08:55 PM
Tamara: It could be seperation anxiety. Start validating the child whenever she does something on her own. Make a big deal about it and get excited when the child does certain things that are independent - no matter how little the behavior is. Empathic reflections and listening are important too. I think there is online information on how to do empathic reflections and empathic listening. Carl Rogers, Virginia Axline, and Garry Landreth are the experts in Empathic communications. You could do an online search on those scholars. I think an online search would help you out so much because believe me I've been to several therapists myself to work on my issues and they never tell you an intellectual thing that could help you solve your problems. They just sit in their chairs and listen to me drone on and on and it really doesn't do a thing. That is why I stopped therapy and have been so much more content than ever before. Although I am not saying all therapists are bad, some are good and will inform and educate you, some will treat you as if you are a fool and will always be a fool. So I am giving you this data that not many people ever get to have. Remember the advice you read about empathic reflections and empathic listening is not mine but from decades of research, analysis and results conducted from those three legendary Psychologists.

07-01-2006, 08:22 AM
That's not necessarily true that mental illness isn't selective about when it shows itself. I can control my Asperger's outbursts when I'm around people other than my family, and people with OCD, of which I am one, are notorious for hiding their compulsions and symptoms because they feel embarrassed.

07-01-2006, 12:11 PM
That's not necessarily true that mental illness isn't selective about when it shows itself. I can control my Asperger's outbursts when I'm around people other than my family, and people with OCD, of which I am one, are notorious for hiding their compulsions and symptoms because they feel embarrassed.

My thought is,if you can control your Asperger's oustburts and at times OCD, because you may feel embarrassed; What would be the possibility that over each time, as you age, you "learn by doing" to control most all of yours symptoms ?

I would invite your comments on my most reasent Thread "Can Age be a Positive Factor in Dealing with Bipolar Episodes?"


07-01-2006, 06:38 PM
Gatsby--You are also an adult, not a 5 year old child. Do you think you could control your emotions and behaviors when you were that age? Also, there are a lot of people who are afraid of giving medication to children. I was always way more afraid of what these illnesses were doing to them in terms of infringing on their ability to learn, communicate, have social interation, feel good about themselves, and be safe. Some of this depends of the severity of the illness and every child is different. Ironically, my father is a renoun Psychiatrist and has seen incredible success with psychiatric medication in children in his 40 years of practice. I guess that is why I wasn't as afraid as most people would be to give it a try. Don't forget, you are not talking about putting your kid on a drug for a lifetime, but just a trial of a month or two. If it doesn't help you just stop it. If it does you may only need it for months or a few years. Just take one step at a time and try to get the child stable. That was my approach.

07-02-2006, 09:31 AM
That is true about the medications can be only for a trial period but I've known of some psychiatrists who will push you to increase the meds even if it makes you feel worse.

07-02-2006, 01:47 PM
The key is to find an excellent child psychiatrist. Since I live in a big city, there are many choices. It took me 3 until I found one that I felt understood my kids and was extremely concerned with them and receptive to me. I spoke to him almost daily by phone for months until we had them more stable on meds. He only billed me for in person sessions, not phone time. I don't think this kind of care is easy to find, but you definitely need to be persistant with whoever you are seeing to have them keep close track of how the meds are affecting your child and make changes quickly if needeed. You should never be made to feel afraid to call them with any questions or concerns, and they should call you back that same day.

07-02-2006, 03:03 PM
I agree with gotitbad.

07-03-2006, 08:11 PM
Well, I thought a lot about what strongernow said about it possibly being something I am doing that could be causing it, which I have been trying to be aware of all along.. I have tried different discipline techniques which got me nowhere..Listening to other peoples advice,etc...No matter how many consequences my son got for making bad choices, he never learned from them, he did the same things over and over as if he didnt get it.... Now that I got validation from the DR and the RX... I am questioning whether he can't control it vs. he won't control it. I have to at least try something else different before giving him meds that they want to give him for a minimum of 6to 8 months. Besides, I am not convinced that meds will "fix" him, all the parents of teenagers I know that have been on all these meds for 7-10 yrs, still have problems and yet have had to increase, and have side effects,etc. If there are kids out there that have actually only needed the drugs for less than a year and got better, I would like to hear from them... PLEASE.

I am taking strongernow's advice on checking into the play therapy, cognitive therapy and possibly even psychotherapy in addition to positive parenting to get to the root of what he is so angry about. I am looking at it like he is angry and confused which may cause him to be unable to focus, calm & control, so at times he is defiant and moody etc. This weekend I took a different approach, where I would show him what he looked like when he acted a certain way, ask him what he is angry about, tell him I understand and its okay to feel that way...etc. Whenever we are around other people there is always the constant pressure and badgering from them to "correct" him, and not let him get away with that, etc... So maybe I was TOO firm and strict for this boy, considering the psychological problems he is having.. it may be making him worse... We have been on a rollercoaster for so long, and I won't know which is the right approach yet, since when it comes to discipline the key is supposed to be consistency... I may have been consistently wrong.. Also, does anyone have experience or knowledge of amino acids and how they affect the neurotransmitters in the brain?
Thanks so much for all of your input !

07-05-2006, 07:34 PM
If you haven't read the book "The Bipolar Child", it is an absolute must read! It will give you everything you need to know and how to deal with this illness.

07-06-2006, 07:19 AM
Thanks Got It Bad.. and I dont know who I am fooling myself I guess thinking that I can "fix" my son. He's been in therapy, he is in a hospital program, and the behavioral specialist came to the house yesterday and my son is so hyper, inattentive and impulsive most of the time that no matter how "strong" I am, I see he needs further help. I am having major anxiety and now panic attacks over this and I have prayed to god to accept things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. I believe I got my answer, I now have the wisdom to know the difference and have accepted that I cannot change my son. I can help him, teach him and parent him. But it is humanly impossible to change him. So, I stayed up all night on the internet looking up research studies on Metadate CD, which has promising results.. I am going to give it a try.. only then do I believe that I can start to help him when he is focused. I will have to monitor him closely ofcourse for side effects. His father went untreated as a a child with ADHD and it progressed into Bipolar and Borderline Personality disorder, as the studies indicate as well. I am optimistic after my research that with the meds, therapy and positive parenting my son can come off the meds within a year and have a better life.
Thanks so much!

07-06-2006, 08:58 AM
His father went untreated as a a child with ADHD and it progressed into Bipolar and Borderline Personality disorder, as the studies indicate as well.
Actually, his father probably didn't have ADHD at all. Many people who develop bipolar disorder later on in life show early symptoms as a child, symptoms that look like ADHD. However, it's usually not ADHD, but a sign of early, developing bipolar disorder. Yes, a person can have both ADHD and bipolar disorder, but usually, if the bipolar person had ADHD-like symptoms as a child, or even was diagnosed as having ADHD, it most likely was a sign of what was to come.

07-06-2006, 06:50 PM
Hi Michele

You are doing the best you can possibly do with your son. It is hard and difficult when you have a child who is trying you at all ends of every spectrum possible; and at 24-7! :eek:

Meds can help reduce the symptoms, and they do have side effects. It is a double standard issue with taking them. If he were a diabetic would you decide to not give him meds? That is how I treat my Bipolar Disorder and my sons ADHD. We have considered taking our son off of his meds, and realized that he too, is like a person who will probably be on meds his entire life. We are quite certain he has another diagnosis with him, and needs his meds changed but won't find out til later this month. That is besides the point....

Parenting a child who is disruptive, out of control, and aggressive is so hard on ones self, their psyche, and physically draining. Sometimes advice given doesn't always work. I know, as we are walking in it currently, and I've asked on numerous web sites for dysfunctional children and ADHD. I've heard positives and negatives about play therapy. I won't go there with my opinion on it except my son will be in Occupational Therapy, of which is another alteranative for aggressive children. Keep that in the back of your mind as well. We did Occupational Therapy for 3 years while our sons were in preschool and it helped tremendously with the aggression and sensory problems, mostly for ADHD son. The year he was left out of it he regressed terribly and has fallen so we are back to square one again. Plus, there are numerous types of therapies you can put him through. I would forward you to another web site but this forum does not allow that. Sorry.

Here is a current strategy we are working on at our home with ADHD son. Instead of putting him in his room for time outs we are staying in the kitchen, you sit down at the kitchen table with a cup of something nice to drink (after you get him calmed down enough to sit still on the floor), and place him on a rug 5 feet from you. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Tell him he is now having a 'Time In' and that time outs are no longer valid because 'Time In's are so much easier to do! :) My son liked this, and took to it today. It worked. The only problem I have with my son is when he is not on his meds between the early hours of the morning.... He is just so difficult. And, that is when I am not able to handle him. I could go on for hours about the stories. It is not worth it though.

Hang in there Michele.... You will do fine. Keep working hard at finding answers and searching for ideas on the Net. That is what I do. It is one of the easiest ways to find help.

Take care

Coffeegirl :angel:

07-14-2006, 07:58 PM
The Dr. had said if he had bipolar the stimulants would make him worse. Well, it definitely did, the rages were almost constant and more intense. We took him off those yesterday, So, even though he has ADHD and ODD, its clear that he has BIPOLAR and he prescribed him Abilify today. What a rollercoaster ride. Does anyone have experience with Abilify? My poor son is suffering so bad, it kills me to see him like this. I sure hope that this helps him.

07-14-2006, 08:15 PM
Hi, Mattsmom:wave: My daughter was on Abilify but was hypersensitive to it. It is, from what I learned, one of the antipsychotic meds that doesn't affect the liver as the other antipsychotics tend to do. It is considered to be one of the safer drugs that they use in children for bipolar. And it also acts as a mood stalbilizer thus eliminating the need for another med. Most times it works without the need of an antidepressant but other times a small dose of atidepressant is needed to keep things balanced. It also doesn't have the weight gain issue that the other antipsychotic meds do. So Abilify is a good med and works well for many. I sure hope it does so for your son. It is good that they got him off of the stimulants....hopefully you will see a better response to the Abilify. It will take a few weeks to see it's overall effect since it takes a while to reach a therapeutic level. But the good news is that he will not have to have blood testing to check his liver enzymes.

Keep us posted and good luck ~ :angel: Goody

07-15-2006, 07:57 PM
Thanks. I have heard all good news about Abilify. Do they have to do any blood tests while on it ? I am feeling quite hopeful right now, and my panic attacks have widdled away . thanks so much. Everyones responses really do make a difference.

07-18-2006, 05:38 AM
He has been on Abilify for 4 days, and we have had 4 days of happiness. So far so good. He used to have constant rages, could not calm himself, got mad about the littlest things. Now, when he starts to get mad, he calms down quickly and turns it around. Its amazing. THey said the drug could take 2-3 weeks to take full effect. I hope this is it for him! I'm so happy to have my baby back !

07-18-2006, 06:16 AM
That's such great news!!! Glad that the Abilify is working so well. And, no, you will not need blood tests....Abilify is one of the antipsychotics that does not require monitoring via blood tests!! Isn't that wonderful!!!:blob_fire

I am so glad to hear that you have your baby back!!! That is something us moms really look forward to and I am awaiting that glorious day as well.;)

Seeing that you have gotten there gives me hope. :angel:

Glad to be able to share in thie wonderful occasion.....now go celebrate!!!

((((HUGS))))) of joy ~ Goody:angel:

07-18-2006, 09:43 AM

I take Abilify. It has made a world of difference in my life. If I miss a dose, it is very evident. I cannot, and will not go off of this med. It has been a life savor for me. That is how much I like it. It has helped with depression, hallucinations, and mania.

It is wonderful to hear you write in relief and joy for a change. Coming from a mom who also struggles with constant grief from a son with challenges, I can understand why it is such joy for you. (((((HUGS))))) When meds work for children, and they are the right dosages, it creates such a terrific atmosphere at the homefront. Life is grand and the music plays so much easier. :)

I've wondered how you've been, and hope that you will continue to keep us all posted on how things are going. Keep a journal of the progress and map out his mood swings. That is what I do with my son. It helps for when I go back to his next appointment. Then I'm ready to ask/answer questions for the pdoc. Trust me, the pdoc wonders where I get some of the questions I ask!! ;) Educating oneself is the best resource with mental illness. Being your own advocate is also a good thing too.

Take care of yourself! You matter in this life time too. Don't lose track of you. Spend some quality time with Michele. You do need a break. Even if it is for an hour. It can be treasured simply by going for a walk and having a neighbor or friend watch him for that short time frame. I'm finally learning to do that. It is hard to do, and if ya don't do it for yourself, no one else will.

Many hugs

Coffeegirl :angel:

05-04-2007, 08:22 PM
well its been a year since Matts been kicked out of school. He had been on abilify for a few weeks before it started to lose effect.. we upped it from 2.5 to 15mg and no difference.. so doc had him try topamax trileptal and straterra.. all ng... so he started seroquel which is turning out to be the same results as abilify. I have been out of work one year now ! ... My son was in partial hospitalization program for 16 weeks, continued to get counseling, intensive "behavioral" therapy, psych.. etc. went to a special ed. school.. no one would watch him after school so that I could work... I contacted my local legislature, and a gazillion organizations to no avail. Looking back to before the meds, through all the meds and therapy in between and now been on seroquel for 3 months.. he is no different now than before.. He is now showing neurological signs (poor muscle tone, balance coordination, fine motor skills, losing control of bowels etc.. ).. ped. ordered a neuro who should start atleast with an MRI... and a geneticist.. I took him to see his new psych (we moved) and during the intake he displayed his Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde mood switch a couple of times within the 2 hours we were there. He went from the sweetest loving angel child to violently aggressive - he kicked the therapist FOR NO APPARENT REASON and took a while for him to switch back (for there is no self control or outside control) I just hold him down until its over. They wanted to call the police... He was just playing with toys when this occured.. After the rage episode, he went back to babytalk and sweet again. I was told they cannot offer him any services and he is seriously mentally ill and needs to go to a residential facility. I am sooo confused and distraught.. on one hand I cannot care for or help him, on the other hand I dont want him to LIVE somewhere else..!!!! So apparently this is not typical bipolar/adhd behavior as my instincts told me all along... We have been so isolated for so long because of his behavior..we dont even leave the house now..I am drained from being with him only every day/night for over a year with no support/relief. I am going to have him tested (neuro and genetics).. I am also looking into biofeedback..

I am hoping that anyone out there has similar situation they will really pay attention to their instincts and never give up.

05-04-2007, 09:40 PM
Hi Mattsmom,

I'm seventeen and suspected bipolar since I was nine when my dad left, but for the first five years, I was in a depressed state with no major rages like your son displayed. He does seem to fit the bill for Bipolar Disorder, though, and there are many times when children and teens are recommended for a residential program if they are bipolar and out of control. At some point, you will find a med combination that works for you, but it could take a while. I was diagnosed bipolar when I was fifteen and it took two years to get me semi-stable and I still have episodes so some med changes are still in order. My mom is also bipolar and it took her three years to find the right meds. If your motherly instincts tell you to keep him at home, do so. I understand your reluctance to put such a young child in residential, but do research about it before you immediately cut it out. You might also consider a short-term hospital stay where the psychiatrists can constantly monitor him and try different meds until he's stable - those type of stays aren't as permanent as residential and there are always visiting hours set aside for immediate family. The meds you listed that you've tried is a relatively short list - there are many others available that can be tried, and some may work in combination when they didn't work alone. I'm on Lamictal, Seroquel, and Klonopin right now and that combination is slowly starting to take effect, but to get stable, I had a nine-day hospital stay in March of this year. Also, there is a resource that you can use if you plug in CBAF into a search engine. Good luck with your son and I hope things turn around for you soon;


05-05-2007, 02:02 AM
thank you for sharing that story...my 6 yr old grandson shows signs of bipolar but he is not aggressive or fighting..he does have a temper....but always says he is sorry later...first doc put him on lithium had chest pain and took him off i'm worried but he is a sweet boy...

05-06-2007, 04:59 PM
Paige - you are very wise and very mature for 17 ! I know its hard with 2 yrs to become semi-stable.. sounds like you are on the right path and god bless you! :D

Dottie- I didn't get to read the rest of your message. Please continue the post I truly want to hear the rest of your story !

As we love our children no matter what we will fight for providing the best for them no matter what it takes. This my job, my goal and my privelege to be the best mom that I can be.