Diagnosed ADHD and ODD, possible Bipolar? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 08-23-2012, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
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It seems like my 8 year old has had problems since he was born. I've always known something was wrong. Even as a baby, he never slept. For the first 6 months, he would only sleep for 15 minutes at a time tops and there was no guarentee that he would go back to sleep once he woke up. He would scream as loud as he could for hours at a time for no apparent reason. I would feed him, burp him, change his diaper, rock him, and never would stop screaming long enough to take a pacifer so I gave up on that pretty quick. Needless to say with a baby that cried and screamed all time and never slept, I experienced a lot of post partum depression during the first few months. It didn't help that I was a young first time mother (18 years old). I took him to the doctor several times with my concerns. I looked at other babies and I just new that mine was different, it's not possible for a baby to act this way 24/7. However, I always got dismissed. No matter how many times I went, they just brushed me off and said nothing was wrong, that it was just normal. It got to the point, where I couldn't even bring him over to certain people's houses because they didn't want to hear him scream. His dad and I seperated when he was very young, about 4 months old, and his dad wasn't around much at all. Around a year old, the screaming had subsided quite a bit, however he was still very loud and overly hyper all the time. And he still did not sleep much at all. This was around the time that he started having night terrors. He would wake up in the middle of the night screaming at the top of his lungs, arms and legs flying everywhere. He would not let me hold him, touch him, talk to him...this would usually last anywhere from 1-2 hours, almost every night. Still, the doctors said nothing was wrong. Then....I put him in daycare just after his 1st birthday. I can't count the amount of times I was called in the middle of the day, sometimes shortly after I dropped him off, to come get him. He started being very aggressive towards other children and developed a habit for biting. He bit one little girl's cheek so hard that he actually drew blood. He loved to throw things, whether he was angry or not. He hurt many children and even myself by throwing toys and misc objects. By the time he was 2, I had gotten married to his now stepdad and had another little boy. He was very sweet with his brother and loved to help out. While on maternatity leave, I got the chance to be around him every minute of every day. He would throw temper tantrums that would seem to last forever. One minute he was this sweet little boy and the next minute he throwing a huge fit. Part of me thought that maybe it was because there was a new baby in the house. Even as a 2 year old, there were many times that I could just not handle him on my own. When you have a child that young screaming and crying and you don't know why, you just want to figure out what wrong and fix it. However, you also want it to just stop and it becomes very frustrating. As his little brother got a little bit older, he loved having someone to play with and he acutally seemed to calm down quite a bit. I used to think to myself "most kids get more out of control as they get deeper into their toddler ages, however mine seems to calm down more". When he was 3 1/2 I had my 3rd child, a little girl. Things seemed to stay about the same. My oldest still seemed to having more problems in daycare then most kids. He is exceptionally smart and can actually be very manipulative at times. The babysitters didn't really seem to appreciate that much. It became normal, that he was in time out more times then not. I always felt kind of bad for him, but on the other hand, I didn't want to just let him get away with certain behaviors. Him and my husband, his stepdad, have always butted heads, which has never helped. He gets just as frustrated with him as I do. My oldest always seemed to feel like the odd man out, being the only step child. Although, I've always made sure to include him on anything and everything. In my eyes, all my kids are equal, but he doesn't always see it that way. Once he started kindergarten, the real trouble started. He was extremely disruptive and defiant. Although he was again, exceptionally smart, he got bored easily and became the class clown. Whenever the teacher would tell him no, he would go into the rages, yelling, screaming, crying, even throwing things. Once those fits started, there was absolutely no stopping them. Needless to say, I got called to the school quite often to come pick him up. He even ended up getting suspended for a whole week!! His fits would last forever. One time, I came to the prinicpals office to pick him up and he was throwing the prinicipals chairs around his office, screaming. It got the point, that I was unable to even get him to come with me or even carry him because he was throwing such a huge fit. The principal ended up having to carry him out to my car for me. As a parent, I felt not just disappointed in my son, but myself, and I felt embarrased. I didn't know what I was doing wrong. My younger 2 seemed to act by the book, so what was doing differently with my oldest? I couldn't think of anything. Towards the end of his kindergarten year, I decided enough was enough and I contacted my insurance company to see what behavioral health specialists for kids were available in my network. I set up an appointment and took him in for a consulation. They talked ot us for a very long time and ended up diagnosing him with ADHD and ODD. The doctor first prescribed Tenex, but I wasn't about to give my son anything without researching it first. After a lot of research, I was just not comfortable giving my son this drug, or any antiphsycotic medication. I went back to the doctor, and she wasn't very happy that I would not give it to him, but she prescribed him Guanfacine. Once I started giving it to him, I could tell an immediate difference. It wasn't a miracle drug, but it helped him to control his urges a little better. His first and second grade years went much better! He still acted up and got in trouble more than most students, but we didn't have anywhere near the types of problems we had the year before. He even got student of the month! However, he has had a lot of social problems. With his anger and impulses, he doesn't make friends very easily and the friends he does make are usually the troublemakers who are also mean to him. Another thing that we have noticed, is that he likes to act as if he knows better. What I mean by this is that whether he's at home or school, if he is being taught or told something, he will stop you and say "no, that's not right, it's really this way..." He basically likes to tell the teachers that they are teaching wrong and he knows better. The teachers don't like that very much. After a lot of thought, I decided to move him to a charter school right down the street. I thought a fresh start in a new school might be really good for him. He just started his 3rd grade year there earlier this month. In the last year or so, I've noticed his anger his getting much worse then before. He goes into rages, or what I call episodes. It's almost like a switch that turns on. I can immediately tell by the look on his face and his body language when it's starting. These episodes are full of screaming, physical and verbal violence, threats, he will throw anything he can get his hands one, he doesn't care what he breaks or who he hurts. He will purposely put holes in walls and doors. He turns into this whole other kid, that I don't even recognize...or like. He's tried to hit me with belts, his skateboard, or just his fists. These episodes last for hours and there is no snapping him out of it. It gets to the point, where I feel completely helpless and I just don't know what to do. I try not to fight back with him, but I also don't want him hurting himself or his brother or sister. One minute he can be perfectly fine and the next minute...and episode. It's exactly like Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. I actually made a video recording of one of his episodes, so that he could watch and see for himself once he snapped out of it. I really do believe that my son his bipolar. These are some of the other symptoms that I have noticed:

* No self control - he has to be moving or talking at all time. He will run and dance around at inappropriate times/places, such as in the middle of a grocery store. I can tell him to stop 50 times, but a couple minutes later he'll just start doing it again. He blurts things out when he's not supposed to, especially in school. He is unable to wait his turn, and will get extremely frustrated if he has to.

* It seems as though he gets anxiety attacks and at times doesn't know whats going one. I can ask him "why are you angry" or "why did you just do that" and he will sometimes get very aggitated and screaming "I don't know!" or he might not even remember doing it.

* He has no happy medium. He is either very happy, very angry, or very sad. Even his happiness and excitement goes to an extreme level and he cannot control himself at all.

* He is very irritable, especially with his brother and sister, and gets aggravated very quickly with them.

* He goes through periods of "silliness", usually at inappropriate times and he's unable to control it.

* He does certain things such as clapping, snapping his fingers, or making noises with his mouth. He does these things almost like tic, like he has to do them.

* He lies about anything and everything. Whether it's something that he may get in trouble for or it could be something simple like "Did you drink all your milk?" His first reaction seems to always be to just lie about it, whatever it is.


There are many other things involved, I could go on and on forever. I'm wondering if anyone has any similar stories at all? I really don't want to put him on medication, but I'm afraid that's the only choice. I can't risk him hurting someone else or himself.

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#2 of 3 Old 08-24-2012, 06:23 AM
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Psychosis is defined as "a serious mental disorder (as schizophrenia) characterized by defective or lost contact with reality." Psychosis is an end-stage condition arising from a variety of possible causes. Anti-psychotic drugs control the symptoms of psychosis, and in many cases are effective in controlling the symptoms of other disorders that may lead to psychosis, including bipolar mood disorder. ADHD is not psychosis and ADHD medications are not anti-psychotics. Tenex is the brand name of a short acting form of Guacafine (non-stimulant); Intuitiv is the brand name of the long acting form.


Though my ds was initially diagnosed with ADHD by a psychiatrist we later had an evaluation by a developmental clinic at the children's hospital with a developmental-behavioral ped, a speech language pathologist, a psychologist, and a social worker. They reconfirmed the ADHD diagnosis and thought he may possibly have Asperger's as well. When my ds was in K he had horrid tantrums that could last an hour that he couldn't be brought out of and wouldn't remember. He could quickly escalate from calm to anger but he did have significant periods of calm; he could also be quite aggressive. He did have the tendency to think he knew better (and still does to a lesser extent), and had significant issues with what we now know was anxiety. The worst of his behavior issues improved with the stimulant Concerta but after a short time his symptoms became worse so we switch to the stimulant Vyvanse which he has been on for nearly two years and works well for him. My ds also has significant problems with social reciprocity and pragmatics; helping him with this is a significant part of his IEP this year and we had him in a social skills class this summer.


Diagnosing bipolar in pediatric patients is somewhat controversial so you might want to do some research into that before choosing a provider for an evaluation. There have been at least a couple threads here on ADHD and Bipolar you should be able to find with a search.



Google Search: "bipolar in children" -- https://www.google.com/search?q=bipolar+in+children&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a


About Pediatric Bipolar Disorder | The Balanced Mind Foundation


U.S. Children Misdiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder - Newsweek and ...


Children Labeled 'Bipolar' May Get A New Diagnosis : NPR

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#3 of 3 Old 08-24-2012, 10:30 PM
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If your child is bipolar you will need to medicate so you'll need to get over that aversion.  Medications are a useful tool when they are needed.  My son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (and other issues) when he was 7.  He is now 11.5.  Get a very comprehensive evaluation.  I do not believe in diagnosing a child with a serious mental illness like bipolar without seriously looking into everything.  My son had a 20+ hour evaluation over the course of 6 weeks and was seen by a team of psychiatrist, psychologist, and a social worker.  The social worker also did 4 home visits in our home to see him in his natural environment.  Yes, we had to medicate him.  He was suicidal at 7 and violent so we didn't have a choice.  It is a scary thing for sure.  Check out www.thebalancedmind.org - tons of good info and they have email groups you can join with people who've been there.

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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