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Does this sound like Bipolar Disorder?

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Old 06-29-2005, 11:03 AM   #1
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gordyb HB User
Does this sound like Bipolar Disorder?

My wife and I have been having a lot of problems with our 7 year old daughter. After doing some research, it seems as though she has a lot of the symptoms of Bipolar disorder and wanted to get some of your expert opinions.

First and foremost are her temper tantrums. She can't stop herself. If we have to say no to one of her requests, she loses it. Once she has finished with her tantrum she is very loving and acts as thought nothing has ever happened. For the most part she is a very passionate little girls. Full of hugs.

Secondly are her lies. She lies about almost anything. There's no limit.

She's very helpful. Always wanting to help in doing everything.

Her eating habits are attrocious. She eats very slowly, picking at her food, then will only eat trace amounts. Of course she expects dessert still, and if we say no......look out.

Almost every night at bedtime she gets stomach cramps. These cramps are real. We have gone through a lot of testing with the Dr., but so far he has not been able to figure out the problem.

Whenever she does something that requires a reprimand of any kind, she tries to bring her sister in or to deflect our attention saying that her sister did it too.

She has a very bad memory. She can't remember what she had for lunch that same day Her sister told her she had a bad memory and she cried very very hard.

She is very concerned about her looks. Always wanting to put make up on (the kids kind).

She's a good sleeper, but almost too good. She sleeps a couple hours longer than her sister who is a year older.

Her weight seems normal. She's thin, but a normal thin.

She does very well in school and actually enjoys it.

I don't know if I've missed anything, but that should provide a pretty good background. So .......... does this sound bipolar?


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Old 06-29-2005, 01:02 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Picali HB User
Re: Does this sound like Bipolar Disorder?

Hiya Gordy

To be honest, I'd say no, it doesn't sound like bi-polar, it sounds more like some sort of behavioural disorder. Bi-polar is usually periods of moods - very high for a period of time, periods of being normal and periods of depression, lasting for months at a stretch sometimes. If she displays all of these behaviours most of the time I'd say that's part of what is 'normal' for her and the reasons may be more psychological. I don't know much about childhood BP but I do believe it tends to manifest during the teenage years rather than early on (I could be wrong about that though, best for you to check it out). I'd be inclined to get on to the doc to refer her for counselling and have her assessed by a child behaviour expert (I'm not sure where in the world you are - in the UK it would usually be a child psychologist). I've had a lot of help with complementary therapies for my son - acupuncture helped his appetite and it might be worth seeing a cranial osteopath - again, they've done wonders for my boy; it seems that head trauma at birth can cause all sorts of problems later on. Has she experience any major traumas in her life like a bereavement? Sometimes things like that are very tough to deal with and kids have different ways of coping.

Hope something in there helps - let us know how you're getting on


Old 06-29-2005, 01:22 PM   #3
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Re: Does this sound like Bipolar Disorder?

Picali, I don't completely agree. Yes she definitely has something going on and should be evaluated by a child behavior expert or child psychiatrist.I'm not saying she has bipolar disorder, I just think we should be aware bipolarism in children is VERY different than in adults. Early onset bipolarism (or children with bipolarism) is more than just mood disturbances, it usually involves tantrums, aggressive behavior, and much more. There should be some online quizzes focusing on childhood bipolarism that would help in identifying symptoms. There is also a book called the Bipolar Child (it's easily found in libraries and large bookstores) on the subject as well. Gordyb, Picali's other suggestions on therapy are all also good treatments.

Search the board for some early threads by JustDave4now, his son has childhood bipolar ans he spoke in depth about his son's symptoms.

Good luck.
In haven't failed! I've accomplished much. I just found a lot ways that don't work . . . yet.

Old 06-29-2005, 02:36 PM   #4
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mjmj57inKY HB User
Re: Does this sound like Bipolar Disorder?

I have gone through tantrums for years with my daughter. She was about 9 yrs. old when we finally got her into counseling. No one was sure if the major life altering events that happened when she was 6 and 7 were the cause for her "problems." After she started counseling we still were not getting good results, so we added in a Child psychiatrist who diagnosed depression and intermittent explosive disorder and started her on medication-Prozac. We saw an immediate improvement, but things still were not "right"-still having tantrums and such. It took some trial and error, research, and trying out different medications, but we (it was parents, counselor and psychiatrist along with teacher evaluations) looked at attention deficit disorder. My daughter was given Ritalin and we saw an immmediate positive change in her. It took awhile to get the dosage right, but for several years now she has been on Metadate CD and Wellbutrin as well as seeing the psychiatrist every four months and the counselor every month. My daughter is almost 18 and getting ready for college. It has been a long haul, but we have all made it. My point is-get professional help, do your own research, but be sure to talk to the professionals. I was the one who first mentioned Attention Deficit, the Dr. was open to the idea. Bi-polar disorder was mentioned along with other disorders, but it was not the diagnosis. Lots of different things were tried-medications, therapies,etc. It just took time and everyone working together. Good luck with your search. MJ
Mary Jo

Old 06-29-2005, 02:53 PM   #5
Join Date: Nov 2004
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kerry1 HB User
Re: Does this sound like Bipolar Disorder?

I agree with Inky completely - whatever is wrong, it's completely beyond the control or comprehension of anyone but an expert. It's true she may need some trial-and-error treatments. A lot of people wonder why you can't do a simple blood test. It has something to do with the blood/brain barrier. Someday I'm sure they'll have a quicker test but in the meantime I'd suggest you start with a psychiatrist who specializes in children. Good luck!

Old 07-11-2005, 07:49 PM   #6
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arenner HB User
Re: Does this sound like Bipolar Disorder?

Wow!!!! Your daughter sounds like my 8 year old daughter on almost every point you made. She was diagnosed with pretty severe anxiety disorder but I always knew there was more too the picture. Her mood swings are unbelievable. I know what you mean about saying no.She freaksl No-one could possibly understand the extent of a tantrum like that unless they see it,its incredible.

The one thing that was different is that my daughter has difficulty falling asleep most of the time she becomes extremely hyper at night.

When she is hyper she becomes silly and does not make any sense. Sometimes other kids dont know what to make of her, other times she acts "normal".

She regresses into baby talk and behaviour quite often as well.

From what I have read so far on childhood BP a lot of the symptoms seem to match: especially the explosive behavior. I have read that a lot of children diagnosed with ADHD and ODD actually are later diagnosed as BP.

At this point the diagnosis does not mean as much to me as just being aware that my daughter is different and will need to be monitered. Being aware and educated as parents is the best gift we can give our children.

She fought every milestone with a vengence!

At the same time once her tantrum is over it is over and she is back to her old self.

She is very messy and usually spills her food all over the place when she eats (usually with her fingers)

She loves to create things but often in a uninhibited way: like carrying dirt into the house. I have found piles of dirt throughout the house. Or uncooked rice all over her room.

Her brother has high functioning autism so for a while I thought it was the case for her to but I dont think so.

Take care,
It feels good to know someone else is going through the same thing


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