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    Old 10-26-2007, 01:59 PM   #1
    goody2shuz
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    Parenting a Child Who Has Bipolar

    Hi all....I have a 16 year old daughter who was officially diagnosed with Bipolar as well as ADD (inattentive type) a little over a year ago. I also have a 19 year old who was just diagnosed recently with ADD type 6/mood disorder a few months ago by one of DR. AMEN's clinics with the use of SPECT Imaging.

    All I can say is that for the past 4 or 5 years of our lives as parents, we have encountered one wild rollercoaster ride and are just beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. What started out as what we thought were the overrebellious teenage years ended up being something with a biological/chemical component and I can't begin to tell you how bad I feel as a mother for those 4 or 5 years we lost without having a proper diagnosis. I just hope that other parents will could possibly learn from my experience and go with their gut feeling when it comes to their kids.

    I came here to this board a few times regarding the teenage behaviors that my girls were exhibiting knowing that something was not right. Both my girls had a huge difficulty with any type of restrictions or household guidelines and would become quite agitated, angry, argumentative whenever they couldn't do what they wanted to do. Eventually they started using alcohol and pot at a very young age....my older daughter was taking diet pills at the age of 14 to "be able to function". At the time my husband and I thought that all of this was willingful behavior on their part but we parented like so many of our friends and family wondering why our daughters were going through such a sudden change once they hit 14. Both were and continue to be honor students, my 19 year old is in an honors program in her second year of college after receiving an academic scholarship. She has everything going for her but her impulsive and overall behavior were going to have her losing her entire future if we didn't intervene as we did.

    It wasn't until my younger daughter started with self injury and a suicide attempt that we started to realize that this was way more than "normal" teenage behavior. Within a 7 month period she was hospitalized for depression 3 times, went to therapy 1-2 times/week, ran away twice, was sexually promiscuous and arrested for shoplifting while shopping with me for an Easter outfit!! Long story short while the doctors were treating her with an antidepressant it was inducing a mania which explained her irratic behavior. It wasn't until she had a second suicide attempt (another thing triggered by the antidepressant) and her court mandated 4th hospitalization that she was finally accurately diagnosed with Bipolar/ADD.

    She was hospitalized for 10 weeks (the entire summer) and is doing wonderfully now that she is on the right meds. Still, with Bipolar we have our ups and downs and don't really know what the future may bring but know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Of course, once we got through the worst with our younger daughter we still had great concerns regarding our older one. While she didn't exhibit any signs of mania or depression her behavior was still troublesome. She was doing exceptionally well in college, however, she was going out to clubs and partying almost every night. Her high school friends were also becoming concerned about her and her behavior. This past summer my husband and I became quite concerned with her irritability, her constant need to be doing something or else being miserable, and her not accepting any reasonable restriction such as not taking her car out of state while her dad was away and doing so anyway and getting into an accident. We were afraid to send her back to college in fear of what might happen to her. We found out that she was also taking Adderall that was not prescribed to her and had a feeling by her behavior and constant use of unprescribed meds that she was self-medicating. We have alcoholism on both sides of the family as well as a grandmother who had manic depression.

    And so we needed to do something aggressive and couldn't afford the time that it took to get our younger daughter straightened out. So we took her to one of Dr. Amen's Clinics who utilizes SPECT Imaging in helping to diagnose biological/chemical problems in the brain allong with the conventional diagnostic testing. He has pioneered a way to subtype 6 different ADD's and more specific treatment since each type responds to a different form of treatment thus saving alot of years of trial and error. It was there that our older daughter looked at the hot spots in her brain that were abundantly overactive. She was diagnosed with Type 6 ADD (also referred to as the Ring of Fire since the entire perimeter of the brain is lit up on the SPECT Scan) This is the worst type of ADD and since the areas of the brain which are considered the mood centers were also lit up she was also diagnosed with Mood Disorder. They couldn't diagnose her with Bipolar because unlike our younger daughter she hadn't exhibited any true depressive or manic episodes. We were given a treatment plan which is similar to our younger daughters and we have seen some remarkable improvements since she started the meds. They just added another one (she is being followed up by a psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at college) and has had a little bit of a setback but we know that it takes some time to find the right meds and balance and are patiently hoping that she will be progressing forward. It is so difficult having her away and now that she is 19 we aren't as able to be actively involved since she is considered an adult in the eyes of the law.

    Anyway....I guess my post is to share where I have been and where we are going in terms of parenting a child who has Bipolar or ADD. It certainly has it's challenges and I use to think that there would be no light at the end of the tunnel but have personally seen otherwise. It was certainly scary and I thought I was the only one who knew what this wild rollercoaster ride was about until I met some other moms on the Bipolar board who have served as my lifeline in getting as far as I have on this journey. And since I am one who believes in giving back something after you have received such a wonderful gift of support I am hoping that I could serve as that for anybody who needs to talk to another mom who has walked in the same two shoes.

    I still hope to be able to talk to other cybermoms who either have a child with BP/ADD or are concerned about whether their child may have one of these disorders. I have learned and am fortunate to have realized that the earlier a child is diagnosed and treated for Bipolar/ADD, the better the overall quality of life. Statistics show that it usually takes 10-15 years from the onset of symptoms before somebody is diagnosed and treated. And to me that is too many years lost for both a child and a parent. If I could help just one person by sharing my experience in getting their child the proper help then this all would have been worth it.

    I look forward to being here and hopefully getting to know other parents who have a child with Bipolar/ADD and continuing to give and receive the wonderful support that this forum offers.

    ((((HUGS)))) ~ Goody

     
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    Old 10-26-2007, 08:59 PM   #2
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    Re: Parenting a Child Who Has Bipolar

    Hi Goody,

    Thanks for your post. I want to thank you and all the other Moms who have listened to me and helped me over the past 5 months. I know that my son still has a little way to go to reach stability, but I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    I don't know what I would have done if I had not found the BP board when I did. Reading the experience of Mom's that had gone through what I was going through really helped me. I have learned to advocate for my son and I have also learned that even when things seem hopeless there is hope.

    Hopefully we can still support each other and the new moms who come along on this board. I will miss the BP'ers and the insight they have given me into what my son is going through and if any of them are reading this I thank them.

    Please keep posting and I hope that we will hear from the others again soon with updates on their children. The support we had was special and I hope that it can continue.

    On a personal note, We have had a great week. I think I appreciate every smile now. I am even happy to see those little annoying habits that have always been my son, but were gone for such a long time.

    Lor

     
    Old 10-26-2007, 09:38 PM   #3
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    Re: Parenting a Child Who Has Bipolar

    I am so glad to have found your posts and the discussion and support can continue regarding our kids.

    I also have a daughter, age 15, who is bipolar diagnosed at 13. She has been stable without any major episodes of mania, but I am concerned we are seeing a downward turn towards depression. She was touchy this afternoon until she took her Ablilfy and then she calmed down enough to play a board game with her sister. I did put a call into her doctor and we will see her on Tuesday. One of my goals is to have more consistancy regarding her bed time this week. She is trying to manipulate how early she goes to bed and in the morning has been more diffucult than ususal to get up. She then thinks it is her medication which is making her so tired and wants to change the times. I know where this would lead and have been able to nip it immediately,but she needs to understand that messing around with sleep and medications are major no no's. She is involved at school in orchestra, DECA and church activities. It is such a thin line in encouraging them to do what they love but not letting them get so involved that they spiral out of control from the stress. I know she is upset that her English grade is so low on 3 week reports and is concerned she won't be able to participate in school actitivies. I told her we were going camping next weekend and she (and our other two children) got so excited, so that was a relief. We need some get away time, even if it is only 20 minutes away.

    Anyway, I am looking forward to meeting others who are parenting bipolar kids and sharing experiences and giving support.

    Cristina

     
    Old 10-27-2007, 05:52 AM   #4
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    Re: Parenting a Child Who Has Bipolar

    I just realized I forgot to introduce myself on my last post. I have a 14 year old son who began having problems about 2 years ago. He was initially dx with Major Depressive Disorder and started on Prozac. He did well for a couple on months then we began to see out of control behaviors, drug use, SI, hallucinations, and suicide attempts. He is now taking lamictal, abilify and Wellbutrin XL. Things are much better but we are still having some occasional problems. His dx has been changed to Mood Disorder NOS or possible BP.

    Cristina, I struggle with the same issues with my son. It is hard to find the balance between letting them be normal, active teens and keeping the stress level down. For us sleep and daily exercise really helps.

    I have started a new thread and would be interested in your opinion. Do you know anything about the new law. I'm afraid the chance of getting an IEP or 504 at my son's current school is pretty slim. The health plan may meet all our needs. He is really a great student and when I look back over his grades for the first marking period he has almost all A's and B's except to the 2-3 week period when he crashed and has mostly F's.

    Hope, I hope you find us and will give an update on Zac.

    Lor

     
    Old 10-27-2007, 10:09 AM   #5
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    Re: Parenting a Child Who Has Bipolar

    I'm new here. This is my first post. I have been searching everywhere for someone who can help and I think I may have found the right place.

    I have a daughter who has been diagnosed with ADHD and now her doctor thinks she may also have a Bipolar Disorder, but we have to wait for tests to be done before we can be sure. He has taken her off of all medications until we can determine exactly what she has. He thinks she was misdiagnosed in the first place. But while we are waiting, her behavior is out of control and I don't know how to parent her anymore. What do I discipline for and what do I let slide because it's from the disorder? How are we going to survive until her doctor decides what to do with her?

     
    Old 10-27-2007, 11:38 AM   #6
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    Re: Parenting a Child Who Has Bipolar

    Hi 2 kids,

    I'm glad you found us. How old is your daughter and what specific behavioral problems is she having? I think we could be more helpful if you gave us a little more information.

    There are 2 books I would recommend which have been very helpful for me. They both have some very specific suggestions for handling BP kids. They are The Bipolar Child by Papolos and Papolos and Understanding the Mind of Your Bipolar Child by Gregory T. Lombardo. You may find them at your library or you can order them on line.

    It is very common for kids to be dx ADHD first, in fact lot of kids end up having ADHD and BP. The problem is that sometimes the ADHD medication can actually activate our kids and make them worse if they are not properly medicated for their BP first.

    I am interested in what tests they are doing to evaluate for BP?

    Welcome to the board.
    Lor

     
    Old 10-28-2007, 05:21 PM   #7
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    Re: Parenting a Child Who Has Bipolar

    Hi, 2Kids ~ Lor seemed to welcome you and I would like to do the same.

    As already mentioned, many kids who have ADD are either misdiagnosed as so when they actually have early onset Bipolar and/or have both as my 16 year old daughter does. It is best that the Bipolar is addressed first and then if there are any remaining problems that remain that the ADD be taken care of. ADD and BP share many of the same symptoms thus making it difficult for doctors to diagnose between the two.

    As you will learn, the earlier that Bipolar is treated the better the outcome. I think that your doctor is handling things quite well by taking your daughter off of her meds which I would guess are most like stimulating. That way he will be able to see exactly what symptoms need treating and then try to attempt to accurately diagnose her and come up with a treatment plan. Bipolar is not a one med fits all situation....it will take some time and patience in finding the right combo (took us about a year) but once you do it will be so much better.

    Can you describe your daughter's behavior, her age, what meds she has been on so that we can get a better picture of things.???

    As far as discipline...IF she has Bipolar OR ADD, the symptoms will only be able to be minimally controlled so I think that it is a matter of keeping her and other's safe. You will definitely have to pick your battles and try to sort of basket some of the behavior that is not manageable until the doctor comes up with a plan.

    If your daughter gets angry, irritable or agitated it is best if you come up with something that she can relax with whether it be some music in her room, crocheting, calling a friend, taking a shower/bath or perhaps even taking a walk or bicycle ride to exert that energy in someway. Make a list of things that she thinks will help relax her and then tell her that when she is upset you may suggest that she do one of them. But IF it is Bipolar if she is unmedicated there will probably be no reasoning with her until she is medicated.

    My daughter is doing quite well now so there is hope...the important thing is for you to get her properly diagnosed and treated. The best way to help your daughter is to get your hands on as much information about Bipolar and ADD. The Bipolar Child has a chapter dedicated to telling the differences and explaining how closely related these two disorders are and how common it is for them to co-exist with one another. Your daughter's success will come from you learning to be her advocate by proactively working with the doctor in terms of being "his eyes" to seeing what exactly is going on with your daughter. Keeping a mood chart that documents the amount of sleep she gets, significant behaviors during the day and anything that you think may trigger that behavior.

    Try to take care of YOU as much as possible....the more you do the better you will be able to handle all of this until your daughter is properly diagnosed and treated.

    And most of all, remember that you are not alone in all of this....feel free to come here as much as you need to and we will try our best to carry you through.

    Lor ~ It is great to hear that Drew is exhibiting some of those annoying habits of the past!! It's nice to see them free from the grips of BP however long that may be.

    Cristina ~ I know how careful we are to make sure that the stress levels are down and how our kids sometimes overextend themselves. How was the camping trip??? October is a GREAT time to camp and I am hoping that you all had a wonderful time!!

    It seems that things have turned somewhat here....don't know if it is seasonal or the full moon or a combo of both. I think you may remember that I was going to be watching for a seasonal component that may cause some breakthrough symptoms with Erin. Well this past week or so we have noticed a sort of flat affect....when she talks it is in a monotone and she seems to stare and be somewhat spacey. It is quite noticeable and when you ask if everything is alright she almost sounds like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh and says yes and asks why. She is almost looking like a Stepford wife. The past few days she has been very tired and going back to bed afer breakfast and taking a nap after lunch. I asked her if she was feeling down or depressed and she said yes but not bad. We see the pdoc on November 8th and as I recall quite vividly we had some breakthrough symptoms around Halloween last year and I think that is happening again right around the same time!! I am thinking that a temporary increase in her Lamictal may do the thing.

    I hope that everybody else is doing well and that this week is a good one for everybody.

    LOve & (((((HUGS)))) ~ Goody

     
    Old 10-28-2007, 06:43 PM   #8
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    Re: Parenting a Child Who Has Bipolar

    Hi Goody,

    It sounds like you are right on top of things with Erin. On one hand it is hard to see our kids go through this when they are so young, but on the other hand it is nice that we are still able to observe them on a daily basis and be involved in their treatment.

    Did you get to talk to Kait this weekend? I do worry about the Wellbutrin also with Drew. I am hoping he will do OK with it and so far so good. At our last appointment the pdoc talked about increasing it to 300mg, but I asked to hold off. I really like to go slow with the meds and he is doing better so I think it was a good choice.

    We do see some of the flatness which you are talking about with Erin. The difference is that we have seen it on and off for so long now. It does seem to be getting better also.

    Chelle, I am sorry you are still having such a hard time with Amanda. I think it takes such a long time to get these kids stable. My husband and I are so nervous about the medications that we never like to make more than one change at a time and we also like to make the smallest changes possible. It may take longer that way but we feel better about knowing that we aren't overmedicating Drew. The one thing that has helped us is to look at the big picture. When Drew is going through a bad time now we remind each other that he is still better than last year and that helps. Even if the day to day progress is slow, hopefully you can look back several months and see some progress.

    Lor

     
    Old 10-28-2007, 06:53 PM   #9
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    Re: Parenting a Child Who Has Bipolar

    Hey parent of a bipolar child, i wrote you a note but it got erased so i thought id write a qiuck one I miss you guys so much thank you for everything im so lost without I wish you the best and hope everything works out for your girls.
    Tell tsohl i miss her I love guys Tee

     
    Old 10-28-2007, 08:02 PM   #10
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    Re: Parenting a Child Who Has Bipolar

    Lor, Yeah I understand what you are saying. I don't want her overmedicated either. It's just so hard to watch her go through this and I also feel sorry for my 4 year old who has no idea what is going on and why sissy acts the way she does and he also gets the wrong end of her as well. How do I explain that his sister yelling at him has nothing to do with him? It makes it even harder with his language disorder his understanding of language itself is delayed. He is also starting to mimic some of her behaviors because he sees that she gets away with it. Luckily he is only doing this at home, but that just adds that much more stress on me. I'm also worried that with her grades and not much change in meds that she is going to fail 8th grade and have to repeat it. I hate to think of what that would do to her! The school said they won't fail her for her 1st quarter grade as long as the semester grade is passing. I don't know how to get her to pass 2nd quarter any more then I knew what to do so she didn't fail 1st, you know?

    So far the increase in meds has had no effect on her. She has been extremely irratable today with screaming and crying spells all day long. Any suggestions to do something that would allow her to calm herself down just make her start screaming at me. I was also a bad mom today with her. Every time she yelled or screamed at my 4 year old, I would yell back at her which of course turned into a yelling match. It is also not helping her sleep. She took her evening dose at 5:50pm and I told her to go to bed at 8pm. Normally that would have her asleep in a short amount of time. It's now 10pm and she's still wide awake reading her Harry Potter book and laughing.
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    Old 10-28-2007, 09:01 PM   #11
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    Re: Parenting a Child Who Has Bipolar

    Hi Chelle,

    I am sorry you are having such a hard time. It is hard when there are other kids in the house. I worried about my daughter picking up some of my son's bad behavior when he used to get out of control. Luckily we are not seeing that kind of behavior from him right now and it is a lot calmer around here.

    I know that things will get better for you. I think part of the problem you had with Amanda today was the three day weekend. I'm sure after being with her for three days straight and also having the two kids together your patience is worn out.

    Do you think you could get your mom or someone else to spend some time with her to give you some one on one time with your son on the weekends? I always worried about leaving my son when he was going through a bad
    time, but usually he was able to hold it together better for someone else. I think the break would be good for you and for Amanda.

    You are a good mom and Amanda's problems are not your fault. Take care of yourself. Don't worry about loosing it from time to time. It happens to all of us.

    I agree with Goody, I would call the pdoc in 1 week if you don't see any improvements. Our pdoc nurse and I are on a first name basis because I call so much.

    Take some time for yourself to recharge tomorrow when the kids are in school.

    Lor

     
    Old 10-28-2007, 09:31 PM   #12
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    Re: Parenting a Child Who Has Bipolar

    Lor, Oh how I wish I could get a break and could ask my mom to take her for the weekend...but, I live over 100 miles away from my family and it's hard for us to see each other that often. I may ask if she can stay a week during Christmas break with my mom and she can hang out with her great grandparents during the day while my mom is at work (my mom moved my grandparents in to her house).

    Recharge tomorrow? HA! That's funny. I agreed to watch a neighbors kids tomorrow afternoon while she goes to court for child support. I will have my 2 kids, plus her 7 week old twins, a 4 year old girl and a 7 year old girl with ADHD. That is the opposite of recharging, but I need to see those twins. I LOVE babies!
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    Old 10-29-2007, 06:55 AM   #13
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    Re: Parenting a Child Who Has Bipolar

    Ah, I may get to recharge today after all. My neighbor was wrong about the time of court today so it will just be the babies. That's better
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    Old 10-29-2007, 07:22 AM   #14
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    Re: Parenting a Child Who Has Bipolar

    Goody - How's Erin today? I've seen that flat affect. It is very unsettling. Let us know how she is.

    xxx
    Hope

     
    Old 10-29-2007, 08:12 AM   #15
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    Re: Parenting a Child Who Has Bipolar

    Hi Goody..Lor..Hope...and others I know.:

    Glad I found you all on this Board.

    Well I'm not Parenting a "child" any more...however my adult son (40) has contacted me last week and said that he is experincing some rough times with his BP. He has been stable for almost 10 years. He is an ordained Lutheran pastor and is in the proccess of changing churches. (trigger).

    He asked me if I could relate to him what changes I had to make toward staying stable with my BP. (now almost 25 years). He asked that I refrain from giving him "advice", but to just talk about my changes in my life. So between Mrs. Eyes and myself, I have listed those changes.

    Anybody intrested in what I told a 40 year old "Adult Child" ? ?

    ( I'm still hopping computers on a 2 month trip but will get back when I can).

    Carry On,

    Last edited by twoeyez; 10-29-2007 at 08:18 AM.

     
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