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Old 02-16-2014, 03:28 PM   #1
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Anyone have a young child with Bipolar or suspected Bipolar?

Spider-Man has a genetic background in Bipolar but his behavior makes me suspect he has it. Because he is only soon to be five no one will say that is what it is. I have heard "well there is a chance", "these are symptoms but we cant diagnose it at this age", "we can only wait and see" and so on.

I have had it. I think this is what is going on and compounded by trauma. He needs treatment not avoidance due to his age. He deserves a chance to get better. So anyways on to my question.

Anyone have a child that was diagnosed or treated for bipolar at a young age? What do they give? What treatments are there? Any advice on how to get them to stop tiptoeing around this due to his age?

I get the reasons not to diagnose kids young. I really do, but the benefits in this case far outweigh the downfalls.

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Old 02-16-2014, 05:29 PM   #2
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Re: Anyone have a young child with Bipolar or suspected Bipolar?

My youngest was diagnosed with bipolar at closer to 6.5 but we knew for years something was going on. His initial diagnosis was ADHD and Defiance, then ADHD ODD, we bounced around for a long time before we could get anyone to really listen and eventually diagnose him. I am bipolar and have been since I was a small child. It was always accepted that young children cannot be bipolar (when I was young it was almost impossible to be diagnosed under 18 so even being diagnosed at 15 was very young) though that is changing. Young children exhibit different symptoms than adults. I knew looking at him that that was most likely what was going on but coming to terms with it, and the guilt, plus dealing with my family (they do not accept mental illness, it is a real mess because my father is bipolar and untreated) made it very difficult.

As far as diagnosis and treatment you have some options. I went with a Pediatric Developmental Behavioral Specialist, they are like Developmental Pediatricians but specialize in Behavioral diagnosis and treatment. I chose him because I had already been through the whole course with the interdisciplinary team and the psychologist with my oldest and hated it (plus I didn't like the psychologist particularly well and couldn't find another one locally). I am very glad I chose this route, so many specialists want to see either autism or ADHD, it is where they specialize. With comorbid diagnoses and more uncommon diagnoses it is helpful to have a specialist who is willing to look more closely. Another option is to go to a children's hospital with a psychiatric research facility. We have one local to us with a very good center and if things should go bad or if this last round of meds don't work that is where we are headed. If things go very bad you can have your child put on psych hold for a diagnosis, but obviously we are all trying to avoid that if at all possible.

As for medications your options are very similar to those for adults with bipolar. Talk therapy is difficult for bipolar children, particularly very young children. My pediatrician specializes in behavioral therapy and he has done that with Tharen in the past before we had a final diagnosis. Play therapy, horse back therapy, music therapy can all help. I find one of the very best things is to get him active and keep him that way. A tired child is a good child and a tired bipolar child is a child that sleeps at night without night terrors and doesn't have pent up energy for fighting. For medications Tharen is on topirimate, generic topomax. Many people will tell you children can't take topomax or that it is ineffective for bipolar but it is the only thing that works for me (and I have tried almost everything you can name) and so far after many trials the thing that works best for him. There is certainly a genetic component. Options include the antiseizure drugs that are used as mood stabilizers as well as drugs like lithium which has been a mainstay for bipolar for a very long time. Many doctors will want to start out with new meds like Abilify, I have never heard of it working alone though (it makes me agitated and made Tharen aggressive). Never allow a doctor to prescribe an antidepressant, they should never be used by a bipolar person. My oldest son can't even use them as the risk that he could be bipolar is just too great to mess with.

I recomend this book http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS.../chrisficti-20 Though it is super long to trudge through

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS.../chrisficti-20
and this one which is a lighter read and compares several conditions and their overlapping nature.
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Old 02-16-2014, 06:46 PM   #3
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Re: Anyone have a young child with Bipolar or suspected Bipolar?

We suspect it for DS. His mom is bipolar. He is almost 5. His psychologist is reluctant to diagnose at this age because if it is not, it will make things harder for him later, and we are parenting the symptoms anyway. He started Vyvanse for ADHD and that made a huge difference. We have an ODD diagnosis as well. What we are doing for him right now is firm boundaries, being EXTREMELY consistent, and medicating the ADHD. Down the road, if things aren't better, we will consider a bipolar diagnosis.

The book Parenting the Defiant Child helped us a lot.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:14 PM   #4
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Re: Anyone have a young child with Bipolar or suspected Bipolar?

Spider-Man is currently on Risperdone .25 mg twice a day and Clonidine .1mg twice a day. We feel like we are closer to a good place but as you can read in my other post we are still having some pretty difficult issues. My number 1 concern is that he was so mad that he though DS wore his shirt that he threw it on the floor and peed on it. I am worried about his anger/aggression level. Changing our parenting does not change his level of aggression/anger. It manages it in different ways but no matter what we do it WILL come out. Its just a question of how.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:57 PM   #5
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Re: Anyone have a young child with Bipolar or suspected Bipolar?

What does your psychiatrist think?

Also---how long has he been placed with you (I forget). When DS was here for about 12 months (after he came back I mean) was the very very worst it ever was. I don't know if that is normal or not, but, over time since then with lots of snuggles, me laying with him many nights (he has a double bed), and as many bonding things as possible, things have gotten more stable. He's now been back here about 2.5 years, and things are getting progressively calmer. Going to 5 day a week 9-3 developmental preschool helped things too. He thrives on routine, and it keeps us together for less hours in the day, so we both are more tolerant of each other. I am not so "at the end of my rope" by dinner time when he is in school all day.
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:07 PM   #6
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Re: Anyone have a young child with Bipolar or suspected Bipolar?

Ok...just read other thread.

Could you get a referral to a developmental pediatrician? Particularly one at an urban children's hospital who deals with lots of foster kids?

I don't know if you've seen this article or not, but it might have some gem in there that helps with the peeing. I know you feel so helpless and frustrated.

http://www.ahaparenting.com/ask-the-...over-the-house
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:10 PM   #7
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Re: Anyone have a young child with Bipolar or suspected Bipolar?

Quote:
Originally Posted by luvsviola View Post
What does your psychiatrist think?

Also---how long has he been placed with you (I forget). When DS was here for about 12 months (after he came back I mean) was the very very worst it ever was. I don't know if that is normal or not, but, over time since then with lots of snuggles, me laying with him many nights (he has a double bed), and as many bonding things as possible, things have gotten more stable. He's now been back here about 2.5 years, and things are getting progressively calmer. Going to 5 day a week 9-3 developmental preschool helped things too. He thrives on routine, and it keeps us together for less hours in the day, so we both are more tolerant of each other. I am not so "at the end of my rope" by dinner time when he is in school all day.
I just checked out a pre-school/day care last week. 24/7 together is not helping us. I wanted more time to bond with him but its been counter productive. I honestly don't trust him enough to sleep with him. I do lay with him to watch movies and hold him a good amount of time but he can be a bit handsy. I feel bad saying that but its just not a good idea. We do need more routine and the school will help keep us on one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by luvsviola View Post
Ok...just read other thread.

Could you get a referral to a developmental pediatrician? Particularly one at an urban children's hospital who deals with lots of foster kids?

I don't know if you've seen this article or not, but it might have some gem in there that helps with the peeing. I know you feel so helpless and frustrated.

http://www.ahaparenting.com/ask-the-...over-the-house
The thing about this is we have looked for triggers for Spider-Mans behaviors. Sometimes we can find them but sometimes I am 100% sure there is not one or rather that the reason is contrived as it was today. The problem does not exist. I cannot fix something that is not happening.
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Old 02-17-2014, 01:06 AM   #8
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Re: Anyone have a young child with Bipolar or suspected Bipolar?

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Originally Posted by mmbreb View Post
I just checked out a pre-school/day care last week. 24/7 together is not helping us. I wanted more time to bond with him but its been counter productive. I honestly don't trust him enough to sleep with him. I do lay with him to watch movies and hold him a good amount of time but he can be a bit handsy. I feel bad saying that but its just not a good idea. We do need more routine and the school will help keep us on one.



The thing about this is we have looked for triggers for Spider-Mans behaviors. Sometimes we can find them but sometimes I am 100% sure there is not one or rather that the reason is contrived as it was today. The problem does not exist. I cannot fix something that is not happening.
With bipolar children/adults it doesn't matter that the problem doesn't exist, it is very real to him. You can't fix it, and neither can he. The idea is to get treatment so these things stop happening in the first place. I can work up to unreasonable anger about something that didn't really happen, or didn't happen the way I believe it happened/wasn't intended. Tharen can convince himself that someone else hurt him and get so angry he is a danger to himself and others (most of that has stopped with medication). The idea is to treat it through therapy and medication because you can't "fix the problem" all you can do is get out of the way. Poor dh has to live with two of us. I live with this deep well of darkness that won't ever go away. I know that I can step into the abyss at any time and just let it swallow me completely. Sometimes I miss myself so much that I consider it. Being bipolar, even treated, is walking a tightrope every day. I have no idea what "normal" feels like. I regret doing this to my child but I have to fight to keep him from living the same childhood I did. I don't want the abyss inside him to swallow him.

I hug him, I hug him when he hates me and just wants to kick me and scream. I put him in his room and hold the door shut when he is kicking and screaming and would scratch my eyes out and hurt everyone around him. I hold the door shut and listen to him call me horrible names because I love him so much that I want him to win that battle inside. Then I hug him again. I take him to the doctor over and over and try medication after medication until we find one that finally makes him feel better so that he doesn't bounce off the walls one day and scream at me the next. He still has worse tantrums than his ASD brother but when I ask him to do something he doesn't immediately throw things at me or kick me and he hasn't threatened to kill anyone in a little while.

Obviously my situation is different. Every child is different and Tharen does not have the extra trauma to deal with. I cannot stress enough how important proper diagnosis, therapy, exercise and medication have been. Really though if he misses derby even once I can tell the difference. He needs physical activity as badly as my crazy Aussie mix puppy.
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Old 02-17-2014, 03:52 PM   #9
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Re: Anyone have a young child with Bipolar or suspected Bipolar?

I feel like in a way this would be easier if he was my biological child. I don't have that same attachment to him. It's hard to feel attached while dealing with this. He has a photo album with every significant person in his life. He bit all the pictures with Ds in them. He said it's because he doesn't like ds and that's why he did it. He said it made him feel angry.
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Old 02-17-2014, 03:52 PM   #10
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Re: Anyone have a young child with Bipolar or suspected Bipolar?

Have you had him evaluated through your local school district's developmental program? A normal daycare probably won't deal with him. DS got kicked out of 2 preschools before he was 3 and able to do the one through our district. No one would let a kid who hit and who drew blood on other kids stay.
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