Bi-polar child question - Mothering Forums

Bi-polar child question

TexasSuz's Avatar TexasSuz (TS)
01:02 PM Liked: 5
#1 of 18
08-11-2006 | Posts: 1,669
Joined: Mar 2002
TexasSuz's Avatar TexasSuz (TS)
01:04 PM Liked: 5
#2 of 18
08-11-2006 | Posts: 1,669
Joined: Mar 2002
I hope this area is not searchable from google. I could get in trouble if anyone from my real life sees this post.
TexasSuz's Avatar TexasSuz (TS)
06:11 PM Liked: 5
#3 of 18
08-11-2006 | Posts: 1,669
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shantimama's Avatar shantimama
07:11 PM Liked: 5851
#4 of 18
08-11-2006 | Posts: 10,909
Joined: Mar 2002
Hi there,

This isn't one of the faster moing forums - it doesn't get visited as often as many of the others at MDC do.

What comes to mind for me is Munchausen by proxy syndrome - where a paernt reportsa al kinds of (false) sumptoms to a doctor in order to get treatment for ehr child. It mmets emotional needs for teh parent but can do great harn to a child. You could try googling it to get more info.

What a sad story, sadly it is one I have heard before.

It sounds like you spend a lot of time with this child - can you talk honestly with her mother?
stik's Avatar stik
11:28 PM Liked: 673
#5 of 18
08-11-2006 | Posts: 1,860
Joined: Dec 2003
My experience with bipolar children is limited, extreme, and several years in the past. However, in my experience, bipolar children are pretty unmistakeable.

Bipolar children are more likely than adults to experience rapid cycling in which they go through emotional extremes in very short periods of time. They are usually extremely irritable. Bipolar disorder is not usually mistakeable for ADD or innatentive types of ADHD. Bipolar children are sometimes misdiagnosed as having severe ADHD, but I have not heard of the other way around (though that doesn't mean it's not happening). Symptoms should be clearly identifiable in all environments, and at almost all times.

Bipolar disorder is very difficult and risky to treat in children - the medications involved have to be carefully monitored (the most common ones cause dehydration and liver damage), and are not reliably therapeutic. For this reason, many doctors are unwilling to diagnose bipolar disorder in children, and will try other diagnoses and their treatments first. Some people try to fake bipolar disorder because if it's severe enough, bipolar patients can qualify for Social Security benefits. Doctors should be aware of these issues.
WannabeaFarmer's Avatar WannabeaFarmer
03:27 AM Liked: 0
#6 of 18
08-14-2006 | Posts: 831
Joined: Jul 2006
Stik-I think you are exactly right about all that. My family has lots of bi-polars so I have grown up with it and also have it myself. I think it is dangerous to treat a child that young with meds for such a distinctive disease. I have been looking into orthomolecular medicine(natural treatment of common diseases, since bi-polar meds are not safe while bf'ing) which uses the natural vitamins and antioxidants to treat diseases(higher than otc vitamin doses but safe to take)and it seems to be working so far. Therapy in my opinion is one of the best ways to treat young bi-polar kids. But from the sounds of it, she doesnt seem to show any signs of a rapid cycling.
If you want some info on natural treatment, you can google it or PM me and I can send you some links on it. I think natural treatment is the best way to go for kids. You really want to avoid the long term physical effects of any of the drugs as long as possible.
Best wishes to you.
ConfusedPrincess's Avatar ConfusedPrincess
10:16 AM Liked: 0
#7 of 18
08-17-2006 | Posts: 229
Joined: Jul 2006
Originally Posted by TexasSuz

Would not bi-polar child show signs of it everywhere and everyday? Why would the doctor not get some outside opinions of the situation or realize that the mom may not be seeing the situation correctly?
Probably not. I was a bipolar child and most of the people in my daily life had no idea I was. I've been to many doctors in my youth regarding my bpd and they never went to any "outsiders" for opinions. These doctors went to school for these issues-they diagnos based on facts not on other people's opinions. Also b/c of confidentiality issues the doctor would need mothers consent to consult someone.
The good news is if you are positive it's all in the mother's head AND the child was tested for bpd then I think the doctor will figure out that the mother is "making it up" and tell her the child is doing just fine.

stik's Avatar stik
01:10 AM Liked: 673
#8 of 18
08-18-2006 | Posts: 1,860
Joined: Dec 2003
ConfusedPrincess, how old are you? Until about the last ten years, bipolar was considered an adult disorder, and children were very rarely diagnosed. The thinking on this began changing in the mid-to-late 1990s, as more psychopharmeceuticals became available. Even if you were having very clear symptoms, doctors might not have believed you were bipolar if they believed that children *couldn't* be bipolar.
ConfusedPrincess's Avatar ConfusedPrincess
01:26 AM Liked: 0
#9 of 18
08-18-2006 | Posts: 229
Joined: Jul 2006
Originally Posted by stik
ConfusedPrincess, how old are you? Until about the last ten years, bipolar was considered an adult disorder, and children were very rarely diagnosed. The thinking on this began changing in the mid-to-late 1990s, as more psychopharmeceuticals became available. Even if you were having very clear symptoms, doctors might not have believed you were bipolar if they believed that children *couldn't* be bipolar.
Well tell that to my doctors..
kriskriskris's Avatar kriskriskris
09:17 PM Liked: 0
#10 of 18
09-04-2006 | Posts: 475
Joined: Aug 2006
I know I am a little later here but TexasSuz how is your family member doing? Did the child get diagnosed with bipolar?
Electra375's Avatar Electra375
11:16 PM Liked: 795
#11 of 18
09-26-2006 | Posts: 4,329
Joined: Oct 2002
BiPolar dx in children is hard, it takes on many different forms of other mental illness and there is not a lot of research on it. My d sister is looking into it for her step son. The bio-mother is bipolar.

On a quick side note - friends of our took their dd to a phych doc for evaluation and they had to fill out questions separately and the teachers as a well. The doc did her 2 day test in 1 and then came back with a dx of Aspergers -- frankly I've known this girl since she was born and she does not have Aspergers as I know and see it in other children. The family also does not want to even consider dietary changes to help their daughter -- dx, drugs, finished...

Back to my sister - The boy has school issues, is in special ed. due to behavior issues. Can not complete assignments, is not on grade level etc. 1 school system ruled out ADD or ADHD. I think my sister is still focused on him completing work and catching up rather than getting a dx, teaching him life skills and setting up funding for him after they are gone. The boy will not ever hold a job or live on his own. I think aside from a phycological issue he is slightly mentally retarded.

The dad is in total denial that there is anything wrong with his kids. And really has not had the interaction he should have had to get answers, the boy is 10 now I think and the size of my super skinny 7 yr old. He hangs his head all the time and never looks up, his eyes move to the up possition, but never his head. This says mental impairment to me clearer than a bell by my ear!

I was asked to watch the kids and this is when the problems came to light more than just dad not disiplining correctly. This is when we the rest of the family became aware that my sister had really taken on more than she can or should have to handle. Something would start to set of the boy and then he would become violent, picking up furniture to throw it across the room, hit, push down, use curse words etc. I physically had to restrain him from behind holding his arms crossed over his chest to prevent him from physically harming my children or me while I restrained him. He then went into a repeat phrase thing and jerked, "punk" over and over and over again. On another occassion, same day it was "quit your crying you're 6". He started with that toward my 2 yr old and it developed into him attempting to take everything off of a table top and do an arm swipe which I stopped and then had to again with physical restraint b/c he became violent at me for stopping his rage against the table items. I physically had to restrain him 4 times that day before 4 pm. My sister took over the last time as I had lost my footing.

I continued to watch him closely to determine what sets him off. I could tell it was over stimulous some of the time as in too much going on, but not all the time restaurants he was fine, at the wedding he was fine, at home he was not and at school he is not always. He would also as a relief (I think) sit as close to the tv as possible and turn the volume up quite high.

My parents who are educators both witnessed me and my sister wrestle this boy to the ground during our visit. My sister who works with kids has been reading and researching everything she can find. We just do not know what is wrong with him. I'm no dummy either as I did my fare share of teaching and studying children and now I have 3 who are only a bit younger than my sister's step children. We are all at a loss. It's going to take the right person who has seen this behavior before to help my sister get on the right track to finding a dx and getting him help.

Now the first evening I met him I thought it was all in my sister's head, how do I disipline him is the phone call I get all the time. I watched the dad say "name of child, please come sit down, please" over and over again, begging the child to sit at the restaurant. I'm sorry you don't ask and beg and plead with a child, you make it authoritive. This has to start early at by age 10 it isn't an issue. I give mandatos and my children listen for the most part. "it's time to sit down for dinner" -- no issue, they sit down. My sister said they were told by the school to ask him and plead with him -- : : : OKAY... But it isn't working so now what???

So the mother may know things that go on at home that are bipolar in nature, she may also be making it all up as she herself is obviously not mentally well being bipolar.
Shiloh's Avatar Shiloh
07:10 PM Liked: 187
#12 of 18
10-03-2006 | Posts: 6,680
Joined: Apr 2005
have a relative that is bi-polar and is conivinced that her child is bi-polar.
when your child is bipolar trust me EVERYONE SEES IT!

Would not bi-polar child show signs of it everywhere and everyday?
My dd was a rapid cycling bipolar as small child 2-3 major swings a day..... self mutilating, biting, headbanging until she drew blood, bruises or was stopped..violent rages like you would not believe with little recolection after and no ability to really control herself, it was heartbreaking as she wanted to be incontrol and would cry after feeling silly for behaving badly, this was a kid who could not cope around other kids PERIOD. We got her into infant psychology at a children's hospital, no drugs a great treatment programme and now she can control herself 99% of the time, we still deal with it here and there......

Why would the doctor not get some outside opinions of the situation or realize that the mom may not be seeing the situation correctly?
Good luck getting a bipolar dx in a child that actualy is bipolar its a life long type thing so they aren't really going to give one without a tonne of evidence.... might get adhd, odd but not bipolar they will watch her for it but..

She is 9 by the way.
I'd say the child is being messed with emmotionally because of the mother's illness but if by 9 she's not obviously not in control...bipolar runs in my family its very obvious very early on....
TexasSuz's Avatar TexasSuz (TS)
10:19 PM Liked: 5
#13 of 18
10-03-2006 | Posts: 1,669
Joined: Mar 2002
edited = did not realize this forum was public and shows up on google
Electra375's Avatar Electra375
10:02 AM Liked: 795
#14 of 18
10-04-2006 | Posts: 4,329
Joined: Oct 2002
Originally Posted by TexasSuz View Post

Now we are having trouble with her teacher in a private school who does not want to modifiy her work. The child's issue is time - it takes her twice as long to do anything. But when she does finish she gets everything correct. Fighting with an ignorant teacher who sees her slowness as a "motivational" issue is tiring!
I have a suggestion - Private schools you pay a nice chunk of change to and if they want your business, they are providing a service, they will meet your needs.
Here is where Public schools have the advantage of being run by the county or city and a school board of elected members, whom WE the Parents Elected! We the Parents are in Charge! We also have the written regulations of No Child Left Behind, in the event WE the parents need it for our children. What your child needs is called a Modified Instructional Program (MIP) or IEP depending on where you are in the country. My son has one for speech therapy, so that oral presentations are not marked against his grades for something he is unable to help.
Maggi315's Avatar Maggi315
07:25 PM Liked: 10
#15 of 18
10-04-2006 | Posts: 2,315
Joined: Aug 2003
I thought I replied to this, but I guess not. We are in the process of getting my 11 yo diagnosed with bipolar. It is not a surprise, my husbands mother we have never met is bipolar and unable to care for herself. She wasn't able to raise him. My side of the family also has mental health issues.

Right now, our psychiatrist doesn't want to "commit" to the diagnosis so we have "severe anxiety with severe mood swings". She isn't able to go to school, has horrible mood swings and what we call "rage" fits, goes without sleep or very little, overreacts to everything, etc. She is a wonderful child and I am happy we are dealing with this now and getting her help. She realizes she has a problem and wants to change the way she feels. I feel so bad for her sometimes. I finally admitted to myself a few years ago that I felt much better on meds and wasn't a lesser person for being on them. I want her to feel the same way.

Bipolar is a hard diagnosis. I would definitely find someone experienced with this issue to work with you. We are still looking for a good therapist that isn't 2 hours away that deals with these issues. So far our occupational therapist has been much better than the therapists!
Losgann's Avatar Losgann
09:02 PM Liked: 0
#16 of 18
10-04-2006 | Posts: 1,284
Joined: Jun 2004
My ds was dx'd recently with bipolar (he's 9). He also has been diagnosed with
1) Classic autism and mental retardation (5)
2) Aspgergers/SID (5-6) normal IQ
3) ADHD (8-9)
4) Bipolar (9)

The 1st dx of classic autism was because he didn't test well and his social skills were so below the norm the psych couldn't see through it.

The AS has since been informally dropped though I'm sure he's still on the spectrum somewhere. (PDD-NOS)

So we're dealing now with the bipolar/adhd.

Rapid mood swings- excited off the wall, babbling non stop, can't sit still to lying in the floor sobbing to furious screaming, throwing things, cursing.. we've done all three today, he's been home since 3 and it's not even 6 yet.

And if bipolar *is* involved you definitely definitely want to stay away from stimulant meds-it's a huge no no as it will aggravate the bipolar and cause mania. Right now we're trying to figure out how to treat the bipolar without aggravating the adhd and vice versa.

And bipolar outbursts are more likely to stem from an outside stimuli- such as a parental no, rather than some internal factor.

Here's a short list of symptoms here
MyChildIsBiPolar's Avatar MyChildIsBiPolar
10:59 PM Liked: 0
#17 of 18
10-05-2006 | Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2006
I just read your thread (hope the terminology is correct, am new to this), stating that you are now trying to treat the ADHD without affecting the BiPolar and/or vice versa. I have a phenomenal child psychiatrist who diagnosed my son last year with BiPolar and ADHD. His previous psychiatrist (not a specialist in Child Psychology, mind you) had simply stated he was ADHD with a "possible mood disorder" and put my son on Adderal (sp?). This caused horrible, horrible rages in my son, although at the time, I did not understand why. When we moved and started seeing his current psychiatrist, she immediately diagnosed my son with BiPolar, with all of the history that I had given her (there was a lot of it, even though at the time my son was only 5 years old). Anyway, she explained to me that the Adderall was actually enhancing the rages in my son and gave me some literature to read to help me make an informed decision to take him off the Adderal. Her philosophy was to control the BiPolar first and foremost, and then deal with the ADHD. The hyperness I could handle, the rages we could not. We now control the BiPolar with Depakote (he is also Epileptic) and Seroquel. Once we had his Bipolar under control, she started him on Provigil for the ADHD. Provigil is not a med that is usually used for ADHD, however it is a low dose stimulant (Originally used for Narcolepsy) that works well with his BiPolar without causing rages. Not sure if this is the answer for you, but it's a suggestion. Good luck!
Mrs.PhD's Avatar Mrs.PhD
11:31 PM Liked: 0
#18 of 18
10-05-2006 | Posts: 480
Joined: Aug 2006
There has been a lot of good info on this thread already, so I won't repeat what they said.

However as a former therapist (SAHM currently) who worked with my fair share of youth and teens I will say don't jump to conclusions with the therapy yet. She may be telling you that they are mostly talking about meds because she doesn't want to disclose what they are talking about (and shouldn't have to.) More then likely she is still developing a relationships with the therapist and this will take some time.

Hang in there, it does sound like going to the doc was the right choice, even if it was for the wrong reasons. At least the mother is getting help with her daughter now and maybe her daughter will get more of what she needs.

I would of been pretty concerned if the Doc did come back with a bi polar dx. It is very rare for that to ever be a 1st dx in a child. Most doc's don't want to start out with that, unless there is no doubt, even then they say let's watch and see. As stated, until 10 years ago it was believed onsite was only young adult (same as schizophrenia). Men and women present differently as do children. Also in many adults with bipolar they can look back and see traits all their life, but the onsite and 1st manic episode or depressed episode presents in late teens, early 20's. This is rather different then truly bipolar children.

Best of luck. It sounds like you are loving aunt and that is a good thing. Every kid can use those in their life.
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