Help! Severe Aggressive/Defiant Behavior! - Page 15 - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-15-2010, 10:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Bisou View Post

I have had ONE doctor (not more than one) suggest Risperdal, and this woman was a complete jerk.  Right in front of my son, she said he was an awful kid, that he was "cute now, but he won't be cute much longer," that he had no friends (which was true because we had just moved and he had changed preschools, but mean to say the way she did), and actually yelled at him in her office because she expected him, at 3 1/2, to sit there for an hour with nothing to do while she talked to me, and then he climbed on my back and shoulders.  After the session, he said, "She was so mean!" then cried for an hour. 

 

I am sorry, but I have no respect for this person or her opinion, and I am not about to take the advice of someone who obviously knows nothing about what is appropriate for a child to hear about himself.  This is the only person who suggested Risperdal for my son.
 







Your OP says two people suggested it.

I too have been following this thread for a long time, and I am concerned that in your worry to not possibly damage his brain with medication, it is certainly being damaged anyway by these violent rages. Like you said in your OP, you don't want his brain to be trained to respond this way to things, and he IS getting older and more dangerous. It doesn't matter how often the rages come, but the fact that they do occur and cause great damage and he loses all control of himself.

He needs to be trained to react differently. You can't do a restrain hold on a ten year old.

Furthermore, you yourself had medical issues with your own rages and depression and suicidal thoughts, and his father reacts in violence and rage, so perhaps this truly is something genetic and cannot be fixed with diet?

If I were you, I would at least give the meds a try....that's it....just a TRY, and go from there.
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just to clarify, the rages I had were caused by medication. 


 

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Your OP says two people suggested it.I too have been following this thread for a long time, and I am concerned that in your worry to not possibly damage his brain with medication, it is certainly being damaged anyway by these violent rages. Like you said in your OP, you don't want his brain to be trained to respond this way to things, and he IS getting older and more dangerous. It doesn't matter how often the rages come, but the fact that they do occur and cause great damage and he loses all control of himself. He needs to be trained to react differently. You can't do a restrain hold on a ten year old.Furthermore, you yourself had medical issues with your own rages and depression and suicidal thoughts, and his father reacts in violence and rage, so perhaps this truly is something genetic and cannot be fixed with diet? If I were you, I would at least give the meds a try....that's it....just a TRY, and go from there.


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Old 11-15-2010, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I should clarify that my son's therapist is no longer suggesting medication.

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Old 11-15-2010, 10:45 AM
 
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Tell him if he's feeling uncomfortable about the exploration/play he should just say "i think i'd rather play *insert favourite sport*" and leave.  Tell him he doesn't have to join in.  It sounds like he's got a difficult task in making/keeping friends if he's feeling anxious but not empowered to simply not be involved.  In addition it is more likely that he will react inappropriately to such games and get into trouble over it (i say that as a survivor of sexual abuse, i'm not accusing him of anything, i just mean his whole context for that sort of thing is not and cannot be innocent any more, so ideally you want him to discuss concerns with you and minimise his interaction on that level with other kids - for my abuser, my brother, the fact that he'd been abused meant his innocent exploration quickly turned into abusive behaviour which i suffered for 7 years).

 

How much progress do you think the professionals have made in diagnosis/treatment?  I would imagine PTSD would be looked for initially, right?  I mean your son suffered at least one horrific sexual assault resulting in a severe injury, so surely they are aware that he will very likely have ongoing issues from that?  Does he know about these things happening?  Does he have a conscious memory of the attacks?  Has he been able to talk about it?  Perhaps it would help him to know WHY he flies into these rages?

 

I do hear that you felt the behaviour was violent from before he was assaulted the first time, but my DD did very similar things (and bloodied my nose on several occasions) at 18 months and we now look back and know it was a phase.  Is it possible that the phase of acting that way (which i can't think of how to describe, but for us it was like she would be upset over something or want something and she would escalate it without limit, up to and including headbutting people's faces) arrested when he was assaulted and so he has never been able to "move through" it?

 

I am not sure what to say about the medication.  I have known people with diagnoses of various illnesses/disorders who could not live without their medication.  People with bipolar who will be suicidal and attempting suicide within a few weeks of going off meds, schizophrenics who have NO periods of wellness when off medication.  For those people the comparison with insulin really is a valid one.  But i totally get why for you, with no clear dx, and no clear path through, you are hesitant.  I think i'd be looking for another evaluation, with a child psychiatrist, and a review with his psychologist/OT/other treatment practitioners to try to get a clearer picture of where everyone is.  I too would hesitate to follow the advice of the dr you describe with the medication - over in birth forum lots of people are told to run away from Ob's who are horrible/have ridiculous ideas and expectations, i agree with you, if that dr really thinks a 3yo should sit not moving for an hour with nothing to do she really isn't the dr i would want assessing something as big as need for medication for my child.  I'm sorry Choli but "the doctor has no clue about what is age-appropriate" isn't the same as "the dr was mean".  

 

OP -Perhaps you would be more open to medication IF you had a clearer diagnosis and a "path" of treatment through this?  If you want to try diet modification before you try medication then by all means do so, but perhaps a multiple pronged attack would be most appropriate?  Find a dr you ARE comfortable with, who you CAN trust.  Find therapists who DO recognise the trauma your son has suffered and DO have a plan on how to help him come to deal with them.  Ultimately your son might benefit enormously from medication, so maybe it's time to try to find a way to figure out if it's appropriate.  I agree that medicating without faith in the prescribing dr or the treatment process isn't a good idea.  But clearly, as you say yourself, he still needs help.  Hang in there.

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Old 11-15-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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Can't get the quote thing to work, but OP you stated:

Last night he told me that there has been some sexual exploration going on at school, including large groups of children (7-9 kids), both boys and girls, unsupervised in the bathroom.  There have been multiple incidents, and I think he's had a lot of anxiety about this.  I asked him if he was worried about this, and he said yes.  When I asked him on Saturday, once he finally calmed down a bit, what was bothering him, he said there was something going on at school, but he didn't want to talk about it.  I know that this kind of thing is normal for kids at his age, but I think given the sexual/physical abuse he's had, it may be traumatic to him.  In the least, it was something he was really worried about.

I'm a former teacher. Large groups of elementary age boys and girls in the bathroom unsupervised is NOT normal under any circumstances. I would be very hesitant to believe this and in any case, I would be talking to the teacher ASAP if my child came home with a story like that. Have you contacted the school yet?
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Old 11-17-2010, 03:33 AM
 
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Hello!

 

There have been several responses removed from this thread.

 

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Old 11-17-2010, 05:25 AM
 
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I just saw that you had replied to my posting, apparently before they removed it. I think it would be possible to use some of the principles of the GAPS diet as a vegetarian, although certainly implementing all of it would be hard. But starting with gluten free/casein free might be a good start...a lot of families have benefitted from that basic change. Honestly, there are some GAPS families that were previous ethical vegetarians that made the change because it was the only thing that would help their kids, but that is a very personal thing. There are also discussions on the GAPS yahoo list about how to do it while remaining vegetarian, so you might check that out. The basic premise - increase good gut flora through probiotic supplementation and probiotic foods, and remove as many of the foods that feed bad gut flora as possible - would still help, I think.

 

I disagree with the PP's who say that diet cannot heal mental illness. I have seen too much. One of the moderators of the GAPS yahoo list was schizophrenic. The whole nine. On meds, homeless, everything. She is completely recovered and lives a normal, med-free now.  There are autistic kids who have recovered on GAPS, bipolar, OCD, pretty much every mental illness you can name. Diet is powerful, more than we realize.

 

Thinking of you and your son and hoping for the best!

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Old 11-17-2010, 10:28 AM
 
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Please remember that explosions of rage, screaming, anger---are cathartic and in such, self-rewarding and self-perpetuating.  A trial of something to decrease this may well reset the trigger so meds can then be stopped.

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Old 11-17-2010, 12:21 PM
 
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[QUOTE]It's just so hard because he does so much better, but then he's so much worse.  Some people have mentioned Bipolar PD, but I don't see him having depressive states, though the "My mom hates me" stuff is definitely on the depressed side.  He's never really shown a depressed side before.  It was always either fine or out of control anger.[/QUOTE]

 

This stood out to me. Depression is kind of a misnomer, in that you think "sad." Many, many people with depression manifest it as anger, or at least partially so. So outbursts of rage could absolutely be a sign of depression.

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Old 11-17-2010, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Zinemama:

 

I didn't mean that it was normal to have all those kids in the bathroom, but that sexual curiosity and exploration is normal at this age.  (Not that I want him doing that!)

 

It was happening on recess when they have only 2-3 adults and 75 kids on the playground.  The kids were going into a small building near the playground where there are large bathrooms with many stalls.  Only 1-2 kids were supposed to go at a time, but there were 5-7 kids from at least 2 different classes.  Basically, the recess monitors weren't keeping track of who was in the bathroom.  This didn't happen in the classroom or under supervision of the teacher.

 

I have already talked to the principal about this. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post

Can't get the quote thing to work, but OP you stated:

Last night he told me that there has been some sexual exploration going on at school, including large groups of children (7-9 kids), both boys and girls, unsupervised in the bathroom.  There have been multiple incidents, and I think he's had a lot of anxiety about this.  I asked him if he was worried about this, and he said yes.  When I asked him on Saturday, once he finally calmed down a bit, what was bothering him, he said there was something going on at school, but he didn't want to talk about it.  I know that this kind of thing is normal for kids at his age, but I think given the sexual/physical abuse he's had, it may be traumatic to him.  In the least, it was something he was really worried about.

I'm a former teacher. Large groups of elementary age boys and girls in the bathroom unsupervised is NOT normal under any circumstances. I would be very hesitant to believe this and in any case, I would be talking to the teacher ASAP if my child came home with a story like that. Have you contacted the school yet?


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Old 11-17-2010, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wilddreamer:

 

I had a friend who was schizophrenic (I say "was" because she later committed suicide), and in trying to research things with her mom to help her, we came across strong evidence that schizophrenia was tied to wheat sensitivities.  They even did a study where they removed wheat from the diets of schizophrenics in an institution and a good number of them completely recovered!

 

My friend had celiac sprue, which is a severe gluten allergy, yet she continued to eat these foods occasionally even though they made her sick.  From what I understand, with this disease the intestines can actually die, or parts of them die, that prevents you from absorbing the correct nutrients for mental health.  A LOT of our mental health has to do with our intestines, so I think that makes sense. 

 

Anyway, I am still figuring out what I am going to do to help my son.  I think I may request some blood work from his doctor as a starting point.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilddreamergrl View Post

 


I just saw that you had replied to my posting, apparently before they removed it. I think it would be possible to use some of the principles of the GAPS diet as a vegetarian, although certainly implementing all of it would be hard. But starting with gluten free/casein free might be a good start...a lot of families have benefitted from that basic change. Honestly, there are some GAPS families that were previous ethical vegetarians that made the change because it was the only thing that would help their kids, but that is a very personal thing. There are also discussions on the GAPS yahoo list about how to do it while remaining vegetarian, so you might check that out. The basic premise - increase good gut flora through probiotic supplementation and probiotic foods, and remove as many of the foods that feed bad gut flora as possible - would still help, I think.

 

I disagree with the PP's who say that diet cannot heal mental illness. I have seen too much. One of the moderators of the GAPS yahoo list was schizophrenic. The whole nine. On meds, homeless, everything. She is completely recovered and lives a normal, med-free now.  There are autistic kids who have recovered on GAPS, bipolar, OCD, pretty much every mental illness you can name. Diet is powerful, more than we realize.

 

Thinking of you and your son and hoping for the best!



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Old 11-18-2010, 01:24 AM
 
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Hi Bisou,
I was thinking about this thread today, and I think a really positive sign is that he is improving quite a lot with what you are already doing. So he's not perfect, but it takes time to heal and learn new skills. Once every few weeks/a month is MUCH better than every day. That's a huge improvement! So you had a set back, that's not a big deal so long as he keeps moving forward overall, and (as my therapist would say) probably to be expected. Its also, of course, normal to be discouraged by set backs. Sure, maybe he'll grow into a very large uncontrollable child, but if he continues improving at this rate, he might also be recovered by the time he gets that big. I'd cross that bridge when you get to it. I'd also really suggest reading the Whitaker book before medicating. It talks a lot about the idea of brain chemical imbalances etc, in addition to specific info about subscribing psych meds to kids.

Also, I agree with what others have said about him being sensitive to your moods. I'm similar myself, I often pick up on people's moods when others don't. And sometimes I misinterpret it, so I wouldn't be surprised if it happens with a young child as well sometimes. For instance, if someone is stressed out, I'll feel it, and maybe think they are angry with me, and become frustrated when I try very hard to be pleasant and they still seem off. (all unconsciously of course). When in reality, maybe they are stressed because of something completely not related to me and whilst I feel they are reacting to me, they don't even realize they're presenting as stressed. If that makes any sense. I can see how, if it happened to a 4 year old, it might lead to a meltdown and confusion.

Hang in there, I hope things start looking up. I'll be thinking of you guys.
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Old 11-18-2010, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Oubilette:

 

Thanks for the encouragement.  :o)

 

Maybe you already mentioned the Whitaker book, or maybe someone else did, but I missed it.  What's the title?

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Old 11-18-2010, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are you talking about Anatomy of an Epidemic?  I just Googled "Whitaker medication children" and I think this is what you might be referring to.  Am I right?

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Old 11-18-2010, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What about studies like this?

 

Two-year prospective follow-up of children with a prepubertal and early adolescent bipolar disorder phenotype. American Journal of Psychiatry 159 (2002):927-33.

 
Lithium, antidepressants and mood stabilizers all failed to help bipolar youth fare better at the end of two years. Juvenile bipolar patients treated with an antipsychotic medication, which is a standard treatment, “were significantly less likely to recover than those who did not receive a neuroleptic.”
 
If you look at Whitaker's site (Anatomy of an Epidemic) he as a lot of research that shows that psychiatric drugs don't help many people and also can cause irreversible harm and brain damage. 
 
I know there are people on here who feel their children have been really helped with medication, and I don't want to discount that at all, but I just have such GREAT fear of medicating my child when I see article after article saying this sort of thing.
 
Also check out what the book reviews for Whitaker's book (on Amazon, for example) say about all of this.  This is what gives me GREAT pause in considering this for my child.  Whitaker claims that some of these medications even cause brain damage and says that they do not help with any "imbalance in brain chemistry" -- that that is a myth.
 
What do I do with that information?  This is what makes me scared to even try medication.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:15 PM
 
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Ok, reading that study hypothesizes that maternal warmth and an intact family are the only predictors of recovery.  ANY other intervention:  therapy, meds of any kind, did not predict recovery.  I have two main issues with this study:  one, it dates to 2001 and involves a relatively small sample size.  two, the title of the site under which it is published and the singling out of meds by this site as ineffective, when in truth all interventions were found ineffective, is highly indicative of someone with an ax to grind.

 

Is it possible that meds were tried only for the more affected of the kids?  Yup.  Is it possible that the more interventions applied, were in general applied because the kids were sicker to start with.....probably.  It would be possible, for example, to state that a hospitalized patient receiving 3 or more IV meds was less likely to recover than one only receiving a single med......well, why?

You don't use 'em unless you need them, and the first one didn't work.

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Old 11-19-2010, 12:04 AM
 
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Quote:
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Are you talking about Anatomy of an Epidemic?  I just Googled "Whitaker medication children" and I think this is what you might be referring to.  Am I right?


Yes thats the one. His other book "Mad in America" is a good read too, but not as relevant to your current situation. Whitaker himself says he's not anti-meds, but he wants the public to know what they're taking. The evidence for brain chemical imbalances as a cause of mental illness is weak, and the evidence that meds fix these imbalances is even weaker. You can use drugs for behavior control, but there are also significant drawbacks, so its important to be informed.

I'm sorry if I scared you, I certainly didn't mean to do that, I just thought you were looking for a bit more information. As for what to do with the info, you can obviously choose not medicate at all, or you can read up on long term and side effects, as well as what various drugs do and use that to help develop an approach to medication that attempts to minimize harm- for instance, knowing that some drugs can cause agitated behavior or hallucinations would enable you to ask for withdrawal from that drug if they occur, rather than having him labeled with something more severe and the side effects labeled as new symptoms, and placed on a second drug in addition to the first to control the new "symptoms" . Or knowing that some drugs show effectiveness for a certain time frame but then effectiveness drops and side effects rise might allow you to decide to use them sparingly for acute outbursts over a short period of time rather than as a maintenance dose long term. After 7 years of medication myself, I've chosen not to medicate any longer, but I can certainly see how you could use the information to make an informed choice to medicate as well, if thats what you choose to do.
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Old 11-27-2010, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone:

 

Have had a really awful two weeks or so.  My son has definitely gone downhill, and I am not sure what's wrong. 

 

I am devastated about this and scared out of my mind, but I am thinking about trying medication for him.  I have read so many articles that say that medication can actually create worse problems than the child had before (for example, induce mania in a child that never had mania before) or cause permanent, irreversible side effects in some cases.  Obviously he's having problems, but no one knows what is wrong with him.  It's so terrifying to me to give him a medication that might make things worse or might damage his brain.  I have known at least 5-6 close friends or relatives who have been on medication for mental health issues, and I have NEVER known a single person who felt they were effective.  I know that's a relatively small number of people, but it just scares me to death.  Whenever I think about doing this to my son, I can't stop crying.  I feel like I have failed him.  I have been too impatient.  I haven't been able to protect him or provide him a safe, loving environment.  I have yelled too much. 

 

I am so scared that there is something seriously wrong with him, and that he will have a horrible life, that he will never be better, never be able to be happy or have successful relationships.

 

And, as usual, I am having arguments with my parents and they are blaming everything on me.  So helpful.  My mom always tells me to "try something different" to get him out of his aggressive/rage-filled moods, and believe me, I try everything.  Then last night he was at their house and punched her in the face, and she is mad at me.  I wasn't even there.  Yet she thinks that when he does these things to me I am just not trying hard enough.

 

So sorry, I am in a terribly dark mood.  Everything seems really hopeless right now. 

 

I just don't understand how suddenly there are so many kids that have these sorts of problems and need to be on medication.  How can this be?  I don't remember kids being like this when I was growing up.  We didn't know any kids that had these sorts of problems, and we knew a lot of people.  I just feel lost and confused about the whole thing.

 

The research I've been reading says there is no such thing as "adjusting one's brain chemistry" with medication, and that these medications can cause brain damage in some cases, permanently altering the brain.  This is just so scary to me.  Yes, his behavior is scary too.  I feel trapped between two really awful choices. 

 

I have been so impatient with him the last week or two, so frustrated with his behavior.  I feel like I have caused this to escalate, but then I can't even tell which is the chicken or the egg: did his behavior cause my frustration and impatience or vice versa? 

 

Is it because it's all dark and gloomy here, the sun going down now at 4:30?

Is it because it's been cold and rainy and he hasn't gotten enough exercise (and he needs TONS)?

Is something happening at school that's upsetting him?

Is someone hurting him? (This has always been the case when his behavior escalated in the past.)

Is it because something is wrong with his brain?

Is there something medically wrong?

 

I did ask his doctor to do blood work to test for lead poisoning (which someone suggested).  She is also going to check for celiac disease and a couple other things.  I want to make sure that we at least rule out any medical issues.  I wish it were only that simple.

 

I wish there was a blood test or brain scan that could be done for mental illness so I could just KNOW that there is something definitely wrong.  I am so scared to give him medications when we don't even know what's wrong with him.  What if we create a problem that he wouldn't have had otherwise?  What if he's just super sensitive and angry that he's been abused and scared, that he doesn't have a dad, that he doesn't get to spend as much time with me as he wants?

 

I wish I had a supportive partner (or even supportive family) helping me work through this and make these decisions.  Having the weight of this decision on my shoulders alone is unbearable.  I am so afraid I will make the wrong choice for my son, and if something bad happens to him because of this, I will just hate myself.  

 

I am just completely and absolutely crushed by what is happening to my son. 

 

I always wanted a child and was told I couldn't have kids, so getting pregnant unexpectedly was scary, but an amazing miracle.  I had no idea that things could turn out this way.  I always believed if I did everything right, my son would turn out to be loving, smart, and wonderful.  I ate all the right things during my pregnancy, I exercised, I breast-fed for two years plus, I was gentle with him, I spent tons of time with him, keeping him home with me until he was two.  I tried SO hard and I just can't believe he is the way he is.  I feel so responsible.  I wish I could know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing I can personally do for him and that medication is the ONLY option, but I don't know that.  I don't know anything.  Except that I am devastated for him, and for me, and I am scared out of my mind.

 

bawling.gif

 

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Old 11-27-2010, 08:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bisou View Post
I had no idea that things could turn out this way.  I always believed if I did everything right, my son would turn out to be loving, smart, and wonderful.  I ate all the right things during my pregnancy, I exercised, I breast-fed for two years plus, I was gentle with him, I spent tons of time with him, keeping him home with me until he was two.  I tried SO hard and I just can't believe he is the way he is.  I feel so responsible.  I wish I could know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing I can personally do for him and that medication is the ONLY option, but I don't know that.  I don't know anything.  Except that I am devastated for him, and for me, and I am scared out of my mind.

 

bawling.gif

 


Bisou, you are such a resilient, hard working mother. There are things that are within your control, and things out of your control - we try our best with our children and do the best we can. You certainly have tried your best. I hope for some peace for you two soon.


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Old 11-28-2010, 11:26 AM
 
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:hug

 

Have you tried posting over in the Special Needs board? There are a number of parents there with kids on medication, and they might be able to give you a more balanced view. 

 

And a question: If your son had epilepsy or diabetes, would you be so reluctant to medicate? I would quit reading "Dr. Google". Medication can help and it can hurt, but I know of very few documented cases where the hurt was permanent and irreversible. Everyone has a horror story that they'd love to attribute to medication. There is also risk to not doing medication. He's not learning the skills he needs and he's not feeling good about himself. How long into his teenage years before he starts to self medicate with street drugs?

 

A quick story that I've told several times. Friends of mine have a child with severe ADHD (the kind that the stimulants make worse, not better). They initially declared 'no drugs' and did everything in their power to work with him on his behavior -- therapy, occupational therapy, diet changes, an aide in school to help, pulling him out of school to homeschool. His behavior got worse. He was in rages daily; multiple times a day sometimes. In desperation, they tried Risperdal (an "atypical antipsychotic" if I remember correctly). They really didn't want to do it, but they were at the end of their rope and they were worried about the self image that he was creating for himself (some of his talk about himself was quite worrisome). Risperdal made a difference. As my friend described "it gave him 2 seconds to think before he blew up". With Risperdal, he had time to learn to implement the skills that they'd been working so hard on. Without it, he was not in a place to do learning. He was on Risperdal for 18 months or so. During that time, he learned a lot of skills in self-control. 5 years later, he's still got ADHD, he's still homeschooled, he's still a bit quirky. But he's a delightful young man who's succeeding socially, academically and in many other ways. Risperdal gave him the chance to learn skills that he needed. Once he learned those skills, he didn't need meds. For other disorders, you do need more continuous meds.

 

You need to find a professional you trust and work with them. (FWIW, my friends also tried anti-depressants with their son and went off them after 2 weeks because they were making him much worse.)


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Old 11-28-2010, 02:14 PM
 
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Wow.  You are an amazingly strong woman and a wonderful mother.  hug.gif

 

Only you can decide what is best for your son.  If you try the meds, you will know if they are truly helping him or suppressing his identity.

 

I personally believe strongly in nutritional therapy.  I was diagnosed with clinical depression as a teenager along with a mood disorder, migraines and a seizure disorder.  After many unsuccessful attempts with medications of all sorts, constant testing and side effects ranging from the nasty to the unpleasant, all issues resolved with the removal of dairy and the addition of a really good b-complex vitamin to my diet.  Now, that is just my experience.  

 

I also think that getting advice from professionals is wise, that is what we pay them for.  However, it seems that you could broaden your scope of professional resources to those with who share a more natural approach to dealing with behavioral issues.  Here in Oregon, there is a highly qualified naturopathic doctor and homeopath on virtually every street corner, that may not be the case where you are but there are doctors who will work with you on Skype, or there may be someone in your area.  In some states, it does require some homework to find a qualified nature doctor, as they aren't regulated everywhere.  I know a couple who had incredible success with their formerly violent toddler with homeopathy.  That child, he's now a teenager, was adopted and his biological mother was addicted to crack and using throughout her pregnancy.  

 

I don't think that any situation is hopeless, I think that you are strong enough and loving enough to make it through to the time when you and your son have figured out a way to live and love one another without violence.  That being said, I hope that you find an opportunity to take breaks, to recharge, love and forgive yourself for any behavior you feel guilt over.  

 

My heart goes out to you.

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Old 11-29-2010, 01:12 PM
 
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OP-- I am so so sorry for what you're going through.  Everything that is happening is not your fault.  I keep going back to the idea that you may really need to treat PTSD to get anywhere.  Everything you've written strongly suggests that PTSD could be a huge problem.  He and you have been through a lot.  PTSD can look so much like bipolar and behavioral disorders and I wouldn't want to overlook that.  Have you heard of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing )?  It is a treatment used for PTSD and I have worked with people who have had really good results.  I am fairly sure it is also successful for children.

 

Secondly, please consider looking at diet even if it is just a last ditch effort before doing the meds (which you might get to). My son became so much less aggressive when we pulled dairy.  It was amazing.  Several other foods produced similar results. 

 

If you have to do meds, you have to, and only you can judge that.  I just think it is important that he is treated for the trauma he has experienced as well.  Best of luck to you both. 

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Old 12-01-2010, 10:17 AM
 
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Your story is heart breaking... I had to stop reading about halfway, so sorry if this response misses the mark... but as someone with a paranoid, depressed mother, and depression myself... I think your son needs relief from himself....

 

His brain is taking him for a "trip" he can't get off of.... his inner world must be very scary and troubled and medication does sound appropriate to me.


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Old 12-01-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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This is all I have to offer.  I don't know much about severe aggression, but I liked what this lady had to say.hug.gif

 

http://www.handinhandparenting.org/video/Members_Aggression/


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Old 12-01-2010, 05:26 PM
 
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If you think the wintertime could be contributing to his behavior, you could ask the doc to check his Vitamin D levels. I am out of sorts and slightly depressed due to a lack of sunshine and Vitamin D in the winter. I recently started taking a Vit D supplement and I feel 100% better!

 

Just ANOTHER thing to keep in mind... :wink

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Old 12-03-2010, 09:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi ApToddlerMama:

 

It's interesting that you mention PTSD and EMDR.  This is something I've been exploring this week!  I have had some EMDR to deal with the break-in attempt we had about a year and a half ago, which really made me fearful of a lot of things.

 

I was talking to my therapist who is a specialist in trauma and does EMDR, and she basically said the same thing you did: that my son has had so much trauma in his life, and that maybe if we can treat the trauma with something like EMDR, we can figure out what's left.  My son's therapist said she feels like his rage/aggression is coming from fear, like he's so terrified he is just angry and also goes into that fight/flight mode, but he chooses "fight" every time.

 

I did call and talk to one EMDR therapist that works with kids, but when I explained his situation to her and all that he's been through, she said she wasn't sure she would feel comfortable taking him on, simply because of his trauma and behavior being so extreme.  That was disappointing and not something I expected.  She is still deciding though.  I am going to check out some other therapists also.

 

I know dietary changes are something I need to explore, but I am sort of afraid of that, honestly.  He LOVES dairy and grains, and if I started feeding him a completely different diet, I know he would be pissed, and I am just so reluctant to add one more thing to our lives that will make him angry. 

 

He has been SO sensitive lately.  The last few things that have caused EXTREME rages that have lasted several hours include the following:

 

  • Needing to leave the park/playground after being there almost 2 hours in 40 degree weather because I was freezing!  (I hadn't planned to go to the park so didn't have on socks, only a light coat, etc.)  I warned him two or three times that we would need to leave, and then when I said we really needed to go, he threw a huge tantrum that lasted for hours, even after we got home.
  • One night I accidentally bumped his arm while he was working on writing something, and he blew up for about two hours.  After I bumped him, which made a mark on his paper, I said, "I am sorry, I can help you erase that," but he immediately destroyed what he had been working on, then started screaming and hitting and destroying his belongings.
  • He wanted to go to a pizza place with a large play area.  I told him we could, but then he fell asleep in the car and I couldn't get him to wake up, so I took him home.  He woke up at 7:30pm, too late to go to the pizza place, and even though I told him I would take him the next day, he went into another several hours long rage.


I have been trying SOOOOOO hard to keep my calm with him and provide him a calm, stable environment, but it's just been exhausting.  The other night after I bumped his arm when he was writing, he went on a 2-3 hour long rage.  It was bedtime and I was trying to keep him in bed, but he kept trying to get up and destroy things and was threatening to leave.  I held him in his bed and tried tapping on his body, alternating tapping his right and left arm, which was something my EMDR therapist recommended trying.  I also was rubbing and scratching his back, something he likes, and talking in a calming voice.  He would start to calm a bit, but then was talking to himself under his breath, and would just suddenly explode physically and just start wrestling with me.  I got him to breathe, something he will never do, and we were doing deep breathing together for a few minutes, and then he just jerked away from me again and jumped on me and grabbed my arms, like he was wrestling me.  I seriously tried EVERYTHING!  I then tried having us both lie on our backs and kick our legs against the bed as hard as possible.  He did laugh a little at this, so I thought, "Phew, finally!" and he did kick his legs with me while I kicked mine.  And then we beat our arms against the bed.  But then he got out of control again and jumped on me.  He wasn't really acting like he was trying to hurt me, but just wrestling with me and trying to get away from me to run to the balcony or out the front door.

 

I finally got out two of his puppets and we had a lengthy dialogue.  I was the one puppet and asking his puppet to come lie down with me and read books, and my son's puppet was saying, "No!  You are NOT my friend!  You hit my arm and messed up my paper!"  And we had this big discussion between the puppets about what happened.  My puppet said she was sorry and didn't mean to bump his arm, and his puppet was very angry and wanted to fight my puppet.  This was probably the best thing I tried with him.  We finally ended up, about three hours later at 11:30 pm, both passing out lying in the bed with the puppets and a few other animals lying in bed with us. 

 

This is so absolutely exhausting.  And then I have to get up at 6:00 in the morning and get us to work and school! 

 

The one thing that I don't quite understand is how he can do essentially fine at school and at my parents' house.  He is actually really relaxed and calm at my parents' house.  I don't know if it's because he doesn't have to go to school or what, but it makes me feel awful, like I am somehow stressing him out A LOT.

 

I am worried that maybe there is something going on at school that is damaging to him?  Every time he's acted so out of control like this in the past, there was some kind of abuse happening.  (Well, this happened twice, and his behavior was similar to what it is now, but not exactly the same.)  I don't want to think he's always being abused, but something seems really off. 

 

I know some people said he will use all of his energy trying to act appropriately at school, and then when he comes home, he just can't hold it together anymore.  But I am not sure how this would explain how well he does at my parents' house, at least most of the time.

 

It's just SO sad to me that he is five years old and is having such a hard time.  Childhood should be a happy, somewhat carefree time.  I hope I can find a way to get him back to that happy place.

 

Anyway, that's my update.  I hope in the next few weeks I will have some happier updates.  I will be done with the term (I am a teacher) in about a week, and then I will have about three weeks off from work, so maybe I can help him a little during this time, though generally when he's with me all the time and we just stay home, that's when his behavior is the worst.  We seem to do best when we fill the day with activities and just come home in time for bed.  But that is exhausting for me!!!!  But probably less exhausting than fighting with him for hours.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

OP-- I am so so sorry for what you're going through.  Everything that is happening is not your fault.  I keep going back to the idea that you may really need to treat PTSD to get anywhere.  Everything you've written strongly suggests that PTSD could be a huge problem.  He and you have been through a lot.  PTSD can look so much like bipolar and behavioral disorders and I wouldn't want to overlook that.  Have you heard of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing )?  It is a treatment used for PTSD and I have worked with people who have had really good results.  I am fairly sure it is also successful for children.

 

Secondly, please consider looking at diet even if it is just a last ditch effort before doing the meds (which you might get to). My son became so much less aggressive when we pulled dairy.  It was amazing.  Several other foods produced similar results. 

 

If you have to do meds, you have to, and only you can judge that.  I just think it is important that he is treated for the trauma he has experienced as well.  Best of luck to you both. 



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Old 12-04-2010, 10:52 AM
 
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He could be acting out at home and at you because it's safe for him to do so.  He can hold it together at school and at grandma's house.  But he has used up all  his self-control after that so his episodes are even greater at home.  At least that's what Erica did.


Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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Old 12-04-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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Bisou---Ugh...sounds like a rough week.  That is really weird that a therapist who does EMDR is considering not taking him.  I've worked with some extremely challenging children and never ever had a therapist tell me that they wouldn't be comfortable taking them on.  Can you look for someone else?   If I could find someone else who does EMDR, I would.  I guess it is a good thing if she's telling you she's not up to it.  Maybe she doesn't have a lot of experience or something. 

 

As far as diet and him being p.oed at you--you might be surprised.  If diet actually is a big culprit, he may do much better than you expect.  We were so worried about taking away the only foods my son would eat, but he mellowed out so much when we pulled dairy, that it was pretty easy.  Maybe you could pull dairy first because that is the easiest and generally with the quickest results.  There is coconut milk (1/2 gallon cartons at Whole Foods-ish types of stores in the refridgerated section) as well as yogurt and icecream (so delicious brand). You could always try doing 90/10, and then mixing in higher quantities of a dairy sub and seeing if he even notices. 

 

Don't beat yourself up over him acting out with you and not your parents.  Like pp said, he feels safe with you.  This is VERY common.  It is common with every child and especially when a child has been traumatized.  I'd trust my gut on the school thing though...perhaps something is going on again.  Can you volunteer in the classroom or something to see if you might be able to get an idea of what might be going on? 

 

Good luck with finding someone to do EMDR....it seems so very likely that PTSD is causing at least a part of the issues.  Wishing you a better week!

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Old 12-04-2010, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Sewchris:

 

Was that a mental health issue for your daughter or more of a behavioral one?

 

I am still trying to sort out, though I might not be able to, what is a matter of behavior, trauma, and possible mental health problems with my son.  It's so complicated.

 

I am hoping if I can get him help with trauma, maybe that could help his behavioral issues, and then I could see what's left. 

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Old 12-07-2010, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, an update.

 

We did blood work this week to test for lead poisoning (someone here suggested it, and just thought I'd check!), celiac disease, and a couple other things.  That SUCKED big time.  Poor guy.  He cried so hard that it seemed like half the people in the waiting room were crying along with him.  People looked so sad when we came out and everyone was telling him "Good job!"  I did take him and let him pick out a toy afterward as I knew it was extremely hard for him to do that.  He sat perfectly still the entire time.  I was so proud of him.


Things have continued to be very hard for him and we are having pretty much daily outbursts and rages.  This now seems to be happening at both his therapist's office at at the occupational therapist too.  Yesterday we went to the OT and he climbed on a swing for a minute while she and I were talking.  He fell off and got this certain look he gets on his face when I know he's hurt, and then he burst into tears and ran to me.  The OT was saying "He's fine!  You are fine. You are not hurt. You just fell on the pads!" and she thought he was trying to get attention or maybe get out of going to OT, which doesn't make sense because he loves 90% of it!  I knew he was hurt because he never cries unless he's really hurt, but I couldn't get anything out of him about what was wrong (I was comforting him, hugging him, and trying to see what was wrong), and then he just exploded at the OT, telling her to "SHUT UP!  SHUT UP!"  I then saw that he had this cut and big white spot on the side of his face, right by his ear, and his ear was red and swollen also.  I think when he fell, the swing hit his ear.  He was really furious because she was saying he was fine and not hurt.  Any time he is not validated with something like that, he is FURIOUS.  I wish that me validating him had been enough, but it wasn't.  He then just went on a rampage and started throwing things (balls, things sitting on the ground), and I had to restrain him.  He was just absolutely enraged.  We were able to get him calmed down enough that he wanted to continue with his therapy and even was laughing by the end, but phew.  It's been a hard week with that.

 

On Wednesday, something similar happened at his therapist's office.  She had collected all of these large boxes and asked him if he'd like to play with them (kick, hit, smash, knock over, etc).  He was excited, and I think she was trying to find something new and different for him to try.  This is only the second time he's seen her since the holding down/peeing pants incident, so I know he's very vary of her.  So we went into this big empty room and together we built a stack of boxes probably almost 6 feet tall (way over my head), and then my son knocked them down, but they fell on him.  Again, I saw that "look" that he gets when he gets hurt, like this momentary look of shock, then the downturned lip, sometimes a bit of anger, and I said, "Honey, did you get hurt? Are you ok?" and he just blew.  He started throwing boxes at his therapist and was just furious at her.  I grabbed onto him and was talking in a calming voice saying, "It's ok, she didn't do anything, she didn't want you to be hurt," and his therapist honestly seemed like she didn't know what to do, and then we couldn't get him to calm down, so she ended the session, which has never happened before.

 

Except for the time when he got really angry and she held him down and he peed his pants, he hasn't really shown aggression towards his therapist, maybe only once before that (and REALLY minor, like swatting in her direction but not actually trying to hit her or throw things at her).  I sort of feel like after the restraint hold/peeing thing that he no longer trusts her and that maybe their relationship is broken.  I don't know.  I am also feeling like maybe she has reached the end of being able to help us.  If every time I take him there he's just going to have a huge conflict with her, I am not sure that's helpful, though maybe some people would think working through that would be helpful.  I don't know.

 

I am getting in touch with some different EMDR therapists, so I will see if I can find someone to help him there. 

 

He is acting very weird about going to school, so much so that I am scared that something is going on there, but maybe it's just the stress of being in school and having to control himself for six hours (8-2).

 

On the positive side, I have had GREAT luck this week with getting him to calm down using puppets!  I have one puppet and he has the other, and the puppets just talk to each other.  Sometimes they fight.  Sometimes they are friends.  And I swear, he will tell that puppet TONS of things he doesn't tell me.  He talks about his feelings, his fears, why he's upset.  It's so weird to me, as I know he knows it's me talking to him.  I guess somehow it makes it less scary.

 

We also pretended to be the Mommy and Daddy to one puppet all last night and all this morning, which really kept him 100% calm, but I don't know.  How long is it healthy for a child to play act?  I don't want him to be completely out of his reality, though I know kids like to do this a lot.  We went to bed that way and woke up that way, pretending to be other people.  He is a doctor and had to get ready for work, and I was going to stay home and take care of the baby.  It definitely helped him get ready this morning with NO problems and NO fighting, so that was good.  I guess that is much better than the regular fighting and yelling that has been happening in our home lately.

 

We have the appt with the psychiatrist in one week, Dec 14.  I am scared to death as I know their job is basically prescribing meds.  I know some of the meds require weekly or monthly blood work, and I can't imagine subjecting him to that regularly.  Awful.  We are going back to acupuncture today.  We only tried it twice before and it seemed to completely relax him, so we are going back. 

 

I know I need to stay calm, and I am trying to find that calm.  It's extremely hard though.  Almost impossible at times. 

 

I have felt these moments of calm lately though, and I wondered if you guys are praying for us.  I am not a religious person (though was raised fundamentalist Christian!  Eeeks!), but I do believe in a higher power, I think, so if you're the praying type, we can use all the help we can get.

 

I've been thinking about a naturopath, but I've seen three myself and felt like it was a huge scam.  It cost me like $350 each time I saw one, plus they wanted me to spend $200+ per month on these weird "shake" mixes that were completely unpalatable, and it just seemed like a complete rip off.  I am sure there are good ones out there, but I haven't found one yet.  I am having MUCH better luck with acupuncture and Chinese medicine.  Their treatments only cost like $10 for a month's supply of herbs!  Not $200+!

 

 

 

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