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#1 of 5 Old 08-22-2002, 10:44 PM - Thread Starter
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My 12 year old daughter was just diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder - periodic changes in mood, behavior, thinking, sleep and energy levels a.k.a. bi-polar II, dysthymic disorder (early onset) - mild/moderate depression lasting for atleast 2 years, and ADHD, combined type, and at risk for developing bi-polar disorder.

She is a wonderful, creative, beautiful girl who at the flick of some invisable switch becomes enraged, violent and scary OR very sad and self deprecating.

She has had learning issues and these diagnosis are the result of testing I had done in hopes of getting the nyc board of ed. to increase her services. In addition, she lost her father to AIDS in 1994, when she was only 4, and has been deeply affected by this.

We are scheduled to see her psychoterapist (she's been getting therapy 2x monthly during the school year for almost 4 years now) and arrange for a psychopharmacological consultation next thursday...HELP!!!!

I DO NOT WANT TO PUT MY DAUGHTER ON MEDS!!! Everyone I know keeps telling me that she will need to go on medication because as she gets older she her episodes/symptoms will become more severe, and beginning meds now will increase her chances of not getting worse.

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#2 of 5 Old 08-23-2002, 08:38 AM
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I want to give you, envelope you,- in warm loving hugS of support.
I have kids, was diagnosed once as manic(depressed)<roll eyes> and am active an a 12 step program where I shun? when people discuss being on meds- not comfortable with it as my personal experience was that I never needed them
HOWEVER my sister who has a 4 year degree from Basteur and is V E R Y into natural alternative solutions , her DH just went thru , over the last couple years, some doses of some meds to help him with some similar diagnoses, he is now off of them-
I think what I want to say is that every person is different, there are alot of meds out there and I dont feel that I could properly advise you anything specific to turn re: the meds,
My advice (putting my mom hat on) is to find someone you like, like a naturopath or an herbalist and ask them to do a consult with her also, seek more advice from someone in the natural field who might be able to judge your daughters individual case who also has knowledge of the pharmacological solutions as well... or maybe someone here will give you some ideas of pharmacological alternatives you can research-(I guess thats what you originally asked for, sorry Im rambling)
Your daughter is blessed and loved, I can feel this, hang in there, keep doing the next right thing and watch the divine order as it takes place -m
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#3 of 5 Old 08-23-2002, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks for your response. in my freakedout state i totally forgot that i have a wonderful resource for natural remedies...our family practioner. she has for years given me ideas and choices for natural alternatives. so i am going to stop by her office during the week.

i guess we will have to try different things and see what works best for her.

keep well
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#4 of 5 Old 08-29-2002, 02:01 PM
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Definately seek your own homeopathist or other natural remedy person. Sometimes kids are put on meds as a course correction, and it is done for a period of time the child and parent are comfortable with. After five years of fighting meds tooth and nail, I finally agreed to try a course correction, and it is giving my child an idea of what it feels like NOT having issues interfering with the child's behaviors. I still work diet, and herbal supplements in, and the child will go off meds eventually, but the problems were way beyond what could be controlled through homeopathy, diet, environment manipulation and herbal supplements. It sucks, but there you have it.
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#5 of 5 Old 09-02-2002, 09:26 PM
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I have a 14 year old son that was diagnosed with bipolar disorder about 3 years ago. We are all very happy (he, me, familyl, doctors) with the results from Risperdal. It is common for people with bipolar to not take their meds because they like the mania feelings. In my son's case mania was his norm and he likes not having to deal with the mania symptoms.

I have completed the course work for a specialist degree in counseling (between a Master's and a Doctorate) while working on my doctorate in health science. I've taken all the courses in psychopathology, pharmacology, and counseling at the graduate level at a top rated university. There are many different theories about mental illness but we are becoming more aware of the biological and genetic link. There are some disorders that respond better to medications, some to counseling, and some to both.

There is agreement that medications are the way to go for bipolar disorder. I feel that it would be abuse for me to deny the medicaion for my son that works so well with no side effects. I too am cautious about medications and stopped Ritalin and Adderal when they thought he had ADHD (an inaccurate diagnosis). Psychotherapy has little to offer basically well-adjusted people with bipolar. The main goal of therapy is to make the person comply with medication, understand bipolar disorder, and basic 'getting along with others' skills. We have been lucky to have had two great psychiatrists (in the 2 cities we have lived in) that picked the right meds, didn't advise therapy, and only require visits every 3-6 months.

Bipolar disorder is a terrible diagnosis and people with bipolar can have many life problems: substance abuse, breaking the law, divorce, difficulty holding a job, spousal and child abuse, and on and on. For my son, homeschooling is a big priority. He is afraid that the kids would be so mean to him (he has learning difficulties) that he would end up hitting someone and end up in jail. He is 14 and 6'2" so he knows he can really hurt someone.

His father has bipolar and tried to kill me and my other two sons while I was pregnant (leading to problems with the pregnancy and a premature birth). I have been a single, disabled mother since (my injuries from the incident involve physical and medical problems). I have been able to attend graduate school one or two courses at a time. I am too sick to attend this semester. I can't get excited about homeschooling or spending 24 hours a day with my son (I've been doing it alone for 14 years). However, I will do it because it is what is best for him. His older two brothers (19 and 22) do help some but are busy with college and their own lives. He has never met his father.

Bipolar disorder affects everyone in the family. Counseling might be more appropriate for family members than the person with bipolar disorder. Beware that counselors, social workers, and psychologists recieve a very general training and may know little about or have little experience with bipolar disorder. I would avoid practioners that have a behavioral or cognitive/behavioral approach. If you can find someone that practices reality therapy or systems therapy (not family systems) that would be best. Reality therapy is based on the notion that life is tough and learning how to cope. Systems therapy believes that there is no one theory of behavior that can explain all behavior and that life is complecated. A behavioral therapist would say a child misbehaves to get attention, a reality therapist would say children misbehave (that's life) and help you find ways to deal with misbehvior, a systems therapist would say that there are many different causes for a child's misbehavior and many possible responses.

Wow, this is getting long. I've tried to give you some ideas that are different from what you might find while beginning to search for info. To better understand different theories there is a book on spanking that does a good job of explaining. I think it is called The Case Against Spanking. In considering medication, think about the fact that we know there are chemical problems in the brains of people with bipolar disorders and that medications can make their lives much better. This is not medicating to enhance mood. It used to be thought epilepsy was a mental illness. You probably would give epilepsy medication if it would stop your child from having daily seizures. Some day, and it may be soon, bipolar disorder may be classified as a medical disorder rather than a mental disorder.

I wish you luck.
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