Beginning to really worry about my DS #2 (not difficult child)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by AK0603, May 1, 2007.

  1. AK0603

    AK0603 New Member

    Hi, most of you know me around here talking about my difficult child, well my next son, he's 6, has really been displaying some odd odd behavior, well odd to me.

    I want to give you a little quick history 3/06 , when he was in Kindergarten last year, the school really pushed me to test him for ADHD (he was inattentive, he had bowel movements in the trash cans instead of the toilet, odd things he never did at home) and even though I didn't see this stuff at home, they pushed and pushed so I took him to a ADHD psychologist. He did some testing with him in the office, he met me me alone on another day, he had the teacher and myself fill out papers, and at the end he said he had ADHD hyper and attentive kind. So he suggested me taking him to his pediatrician. doctor. and get a recommendation for drugs. So I did this that week. She gave him a Rx for Strattera 18 mg. I wanted 1 week to start this, I gave it to him and he freaked out! And by freaked out - I mean call 911 for him because he was hallucinating spiders and webs. Screaming mommy Oh God please save me, you could not talk to him, he was jumping from couch to couch to table. I have never seen anyone "trip" on drugs but this looked worse then what they show on TV I know that. 911 ambulance took him in. The told us he was having a medical reaction to the Staterra and not to give him anymore, but since it was time released it would be out of his system within 12 hours. They sent us with some Ativan I think it was, well by the time we left for home, got it filled he was hysterical again, back to the ER. Long story short, 5th ER visit more then 36 hours later, he was admitted and transferred after he had to be physically restrained given shots of Ativan and other things to get him to calm down, he had like seizures.

    He was in the ICU in the Children's unit for 5 days while this drug left his body and we dealt with the issues of coming off the Ativan as well, lowered breathing, panic attacks.

    Now, a year later, in 1st grade teacher is sooo impressed with his attention, he loves school. And although has trouble with speech (we are looking into this) he is on schedule and gives 110% efforts!

    My concern is for the last year or so, he's had some odd phobias. Bugs #1 (hence why he hallucinated these I was told) he will shake, swear there is a spider or a fly in his room, and cry hysterical for hours. Even if there is nothing at all...nothing makes him feel better. Dark #2 he needs 2 night lights in his room, he needs a light in the hall and one at the stairs. And death #3, he has been saying "I can't sleep because I kept thinking of ways you can die mom" he's thought of my car going off a bridge, car crash, fire, drowning, falling down the stairs, someone stealing me, bad guy hurting me, these types of things.

    And a simple, it's okay honey, nothing bad will happen, Nope that does not work. He cries (and he's NOT a crier) and gets shaky, nervous, sweaty, like panic attacks or something. Tonight was bad, he swore there was a knat in his room and it was landing on his face, he was nuts about this. I assured him, went to his room, checked it all out, saw nothing, still he was not "safe" he put 3 comforters on his face and finally feel asleep, but these nights it is not good sleep.

    On average he sleeps 6 hours a night, maybe 4 some nights due to his phobias.

    I just don't know what to do.

    I don't know if this is a phase, he'll grow out of, or if it's because the drug reactions. Some docs told me that he would NEVER have that reaction with- 1 pill....that he must have a mental defect that just displayed itself because of the drug effect. But then I had docs tell me no, he's just sensitive to these drugs and can not take them.

    I don't know if something more is happening or if this is a 6 yr olds vivid imagination and normal fears?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. First off, you CAN have that severe a reaction to one pill. My son flipped out on one Prozac and I never gave it to him again. EVER. He is on the autism spectrum--Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids tend to be sensitive to medication. I tossed the Prozac in the trash. He didn't end up in the hospital, but he was NOT himself and was scaring his teacher by acting "crazy" (her word). That was the first and only time I've ever gotten a call from school because of my son's behavior and the teacher was freaked I take an antidepressant, which Straterra is, and have taken many--sometimes with them ultimately causing hallucinations, but it was always after I'd taken them for a while. They were quite scary hallucinations. I saw and heard things that were not there and didn't know what was real and what wasn't real. Most kids don't freak out over little stuff like your six year old. He has tons of anxiety, like I did (I also had early onset bipolar, they believe). None of my five kids had phobias like that, but I did. I slept with the light on until I was a teenager. I wasn't afraid of bugs, but had other fears, more to do with health issues, but they were very obessessive. Has your child ever seen a psychiatrist (with the MD) or a neuropsychologist? I wouldn't trust a psycologist, in my opinion, to diagnose, especially an "ADHD" Psycologist. I'm really personally NOT fond of professionals who decide they have a disorder specialty. In our experience, those professionals tend to see THAT disorder in every child, and they could be wrong. I would definitely want him to see a Child Psychiatrist, and, if it were my kid, I'd refrain from any antidepressants at all, and I wouldn't rush to stimulants either. It is hard to correctly diagnose a young child--the medications are often hit or miss--just a guess, and you don't know what will happen. I'd get more than one opinion and also see a neuropsychologist. They do extensive testing and come as close as possible to making a scientific diagnosis on disorders that have no blood tests for confirmation. Anxiety is usually a part of another disorder--such as my anxiety disorder with bipolar. My real diagnostic mix is bipolar II, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, mild Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This is common, to have more than one thing triggering another. I hope you get other opinions, and good luck with your little one.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I'm sure you don't want to hear this, but your DS needs an evaluation. He clearly has anxiety that goes beyond normal childhood fears. With bipolar and depression in the family tree, he could have a mood disorder. But with a speech problem and anxiety, you could be looking at an Autism Spectrum Disorder. So I'd recommend evaluations by both a neuropsychologist and a child psychiatrist. I strongly believe you need to cover both bases because of your son's symptom complex.

    FWIW, doctors told us it was impossible for my son to have a rage reaction after taking one dose of Prozac. But it happened -- he broke a window and trashed the house for 3 hours the very first day he took Prozac. We had never seen him behave that way in his entire life. husband and I are convinced it was the Prozac. Months later when he trialed Zoloft, the same thing happened, but this time at the 3-week mark, not the very first day. We now know he has a mood disorder and he can't take SSRIs without the protection of a mood stabilizer. A similar situation could have occurred with your DS and Strattera.

    I'm so sorry you're facing this in addition to the challenges you've had with your difficult child. Hugs to you.
  4. AK0603

    AK0603 New Member

    When he was in the hospital for the 5 days I believe we saw a Neurodoc. I believe he was the one who stated that he wanted the Ativan to stop because he felt like part of him still feeling bad and out of it was those pills, which helped. He also did tell me that sometimes a pill like this on someone with- a disorder could be a flag. They did a test, I forget what it was called, wires glued on his head and he had to sit still, to get waves or something. But I think that was to check for seizures.

    What would a NeuroDoc do? What kind of testing? I know the psychiatrist and what they would do, but I'm so scared to let him try any other drugs.
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    You saw a neurologist, and the test he did was an EEG to test for seizures. What you want now is a neuropsychologist, found at university or children's hospitals. A neuropsychologist does a lot of testing (some of it paper and pencil) to determine cognitive and psychological functioning. Based on results, he will form a diagnosis and offer guidance on appropriate interventions.
  6. AK0603

    AK0603 New Member

    I just looked on our insurance plans and found several for both plans at the Children's hospital he was at last year.

    I will make some calls tomorrow and see how soon we can get him in, if you remember I'm moving in june and want to get the ball rolling and transfer it over there when we go.

    Any advice to use in the meantime.?
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I really liked the book Helping your Anxious Child because it really explains anxiety and the different way it manifests itself, as well as coping strategies. Even if your child's anxiety is too severe to be helped by just a book, as is mine, it gives you a really good understanding of what your child is going through.

    Good luck to you.
  8. mightymouse

    mightymouse Trying to save the day.

    I really don't know the answer to this but I'll throw it out there anyway. Could he be suffering from PTSD from the horrible experience he had with the Strattera? I mean he was living in sheer terror for how many days? I can't imagine that he doesn't have some lasting effects from the terrifying hallucinations alone. And to be only 5 years old when it happened. I can't imagine how that would feel as an adult, let alone such a small child. I really hope you're able to find someone to help him.

    If he's not hallucinating and acutally seeing bugs, here's an idea that I wonder if it would help. Have you seen "Monster Spray" for kids who are afraid of monsters? It is actually an aromatherapy spray that kids think is a monster repellant. They spray it to keep the monsters away and the aromatherapy is supposed to help them relax. Maybe you could come up with a recipe for "Bug Spray" that he could help you make and he could have it in his room to spray anytime he thought there was a bug. I'm sure you could do an internet search and find something. I would go so far as to type up a colorful recipe for it with a claim that it guarantees no bugs will come near and tell him you found it on the internet. Just hope that no bugs really do show up! Just a thought. It's worth a try.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Speaking as the parent of an extremely anxious child, something like Monster Spray wouldn't work. The anxiety goes WAY beyond something like that, unfortunately. I was just talking to difficult child 3's Friend's mother - they've just come home from a short holiday and she said her son was constantly anxious about being away from home. His fears were that they would run out of petrol and not have the money to buy more, or not be able to find a petrol station; that they would get lost and not be able to find their way home; that they might wander off the main road onto a small track and never find their way out of the forest again. He kept moaning about being six hours' drive from home. NOTHING she could do or say helped him. Friend is high-functioning autistic, like difficult child 3.

    A diagnosis doesn't automatically mean medication. Some disorders can't be medicated, anyway. Sometimes they just treat the symptoms with medication (such as the anxiety) but not always. There are non-medication treatments such as relaxation therapy; aromatherapy (it does help, especially if you use it to reinforce other methods) and for other problems different ways to deal with them. And often as a parent, you can find ways of managing a problem that can be unusual, but work for your child.

    Simply knowing what the problem is can make it easier for you to find a way to handle it.

  10. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    difficult child has severe anxiety and panic disorder. Because her anxiety is so severe it tends to have a snowball effect. One worry leads to another and another and then worrying about get the idea. For some of her less severe anxieties, simple tricks would work. For example, when she was younger and afraid of monsters in her room, I grabbed some glitter and put it in a different container, called it "monster medicine" and had her go with me as we sprinkled it around the house so that no monsters could get in. However, her fear of monsters wasn't throwing her into full-blown panic.

    These kids tends to need a strict routine to give them a feeling of control because the anxiety and constant worrying makes them feel so out of control. They have a need to try to control their environment. They also need a lot of reassurance. However, once they are in a state of severe anxiety or panic, unless they have been taught to recognize it and have learned coping skills, it is extremely difficult to help them. It's almost as if the anxiety overrides the rational part of the brain. Instead of focusing on what is making them anxious, focus on relaxing and/or distraction. I've found with my difficult child that focusing on the anxiety by trying to talk about it and reason with it just makes her anxiety worse. However, if I can get her to breathe like she does for her hiccups (we have a trick to get rid of hiccups...difficult child gets them all the time), then I can get her to relax enough to gently pull her attention from the anxiety.
  11. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Pixie went through a phase where she was afraid that there were "bad guys" hiding under her bed. We did a similar thing, with the glitter, to keep the bad guys out.

    Then, one night, she had a bad dream, causing anxiety at bedtime. I bought her a dreamcatcher. We would shake it out over the trash can every morning (to get rid of any bad dreams that got caught there) and put it back over her bed so it was "clean" for when she went to sleep.

    The difference is, I know there were no "bad guys". However, I could not control her bad dreams. The dream catcher worked great until the very night that she had another bad dream. Then I heard for weeks how "I lied to her". It started the anxiety all over again, and she ended up in my bed.

    Your difficult child is having anxiety over insects. If you use "bug spray", and a bug gets into his room, it could traumatize him, based on how anxious he is.

    I like the idea of a strict routine. Perhaps it could include a soothing lavendar bath. Also talking to him about it is a marvelous thing. The more he can address his fears, the less power those fears have.

    And, on the complete other side of the spectrum, until he gets in to see the neuropsychologist, I would not be adverse to letting him crash on the couch (or the floor, or with you) if it made him feel more comfortable or "in control". Whatever it is he is feeling, it is very real to him.

    Hugs to you and that little guy.
  12. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    ok - you guys have me scared now about the medication thing. I just started Strattera last week.
  13. bystander

    bystander New Member

    I agree with doing a Neuropsychologist evaluation. His anxiety level sounds beyond age-appropriate. The odd things he did in Kindergarten would attest to that as well.

    Forms of autism CAN look like ADHD too. Kids who are high-functioning are often accelerated in academics, if not gifted - and this often hides the disorder.

    Severe anxiety is a hallmark condition of ASDs too. And, ADHD medications often don't work in kids that have ASDs.

    I am going to get that book that has been touted here - "Helping Your Anxious Child". It looks and sounds good. I've had 4 debilitating panic attacks over the past 15 years - and was able to stop one last week. My son's anxiety isn't as profound as your little guy's (mine's the same age) - but I know he's going to need some techniques to cope.

    Good luck.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Just a thought on the subject of bad dreams - I used to get night terrors as a kid. And since I have a memory like the proverbial elephant, I can still remember how it was handled (or not) and what worked (or didn't).

    Having a bed light within reach was always what I desperately wanted. Some nights it wouldn't have helped as I was literally too terrified to move, for hours (I know, because I counted the chimes on the clock so I knew how much time was passing before I could dare move). But I was not permitted a lamp. I don't know why. Probably because all my sisters would have wanted one too.
    As I got older, I realised that changing sleeping position changed the dream. If I was able to wake up enough to move around and roll over, that dream was gone. I taught myself to wake myself if I was having a bad dream (you program in the cues by repeating to yourself and rehearsing at bedtime what you will tell yourself in the dream, to make yourself wake up). Then I would roll over. This was when I had my own bed lamp, after I had left home (at 17).

    So I'd worked out how to handle it with my kids - when they had a nightmare I would give them a cuddle then when I could feel their heart rate had returned to normal I'd send them back to bed but tell them to lie on the other side to how they'd been sleeping - "because that way, any bits of that bad dream that might be left will trickle out of that ear, now it's downwards." You tell the kid to change position so the ear that was facing up during the bad dream, is now facing down.
    It sounds crazy, but it works. Because you've woken up enough to change position, all the stimuli that have been incorporated into that dream (your sleeping position, for example) have been changed. You may get ANOTHER bad dream, but it won't be the same one. And each bad dream - wake yourself up and roll over. The first bad dream won't come back, not even then.

    I also encourage my kids to tell me their bad dreams, while they're still fresh. Telling helps take away the terror and it also helps me recognise any recurring themes indicative of an unresolved problem.

  15. bystander

    bystander New Member

    I'd also like to suggest another series of books. It's called "Your (6) Year Old" ... substitute the child's age. They're little paperbacks. Somewhat dated, but, child's organic physiology and development doesn't change with the times.

    I find these books very useful to weed out what is typical behavior versus difficult child behavior.

    DS will be 7 soon, and I've started the 7 year old one. He's typical already!