Bipolar and irritability in kids

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    This is really interesting, and in my case, on target. I'm kind of glad I didn't know this when difficult child was little, because I wouldn't have gotten the interventions I did. We probably would have gone straight to medications. Although a strict sleep routine is extremely important either way.
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    "A bit of background: One group of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have taken this approach because they believe 'the irritability of pediatric mania [is] qualitatively and quantitatively distinct from other forms of irritability and thus can be used to identify bipolar disorder."

    Given that this article is a little over two years old, I would be curious as to whether this still holds true. Reactions to medications (although I would imagine it is a given that a d'xing doctor looked at that first) as well as other disorders (depression being the first one that comes to mind) can also drastically affect a kid's level of irritability and aggression.

    I will tell you that I discovered pretty early on, when difficult child was in second grade, that a really solid, good night's sleep was vital. Therefore, a strict bedtime and a comforting and calm bedtime routine became paramount to difficult child's behavior modification plan. It didn't take long to see what a positive difference it made in his irritability and over-all ability to function more typically. We followed that routine until high school - no longer the same bedtime routine, but he has a pretty strict "lights out" rule on school nights because I can directly see the correlation between lack of sleep and "bad behavior". His phone and tablet are placed on the dresser in the hallway at bedtime. However, on the weekends it's pretty much a "free for all"!!!!!


  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Sharon, we've fought that battle over and over again, and just tonight, in fact, told difficult child we want the iPad taken at night. He just about had a nervous breakdown. That's how he listens to music. I'm going to get him another cheap iPod (the others are broken, they seem to wear out quickly) and then he won't have the bright screen in his face all night. Also, the study did talk about the differences between depression and bipolar in kids, and that's why this study was touted as better. We'll see what happens with-the DSM VII. :)
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Absolutely get him a different format for the music "need".
    Takes away the temptation of the Ipad... without creating a "need" to hide behind.
  5. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    When the difficult children were young (up until the age of about 13 respectively for each) I was able to maintain a very strict bedtime for each of them. I think you can find threads bout it here. It started at 7 and as they got toward the older age it went to 8 and that was really early for older ones but I found that's the magic time that they needed to be in bed by. Once magic 13 hit then I've had a heck of a time getting them to adhere to that time no matter what, even with medications that are suppose to aide them in sleeping. Middle difficult child is about the only one that really sleeps early at times on her own but she has always been my one that LIKES to sleep (ok older one does too but that is her depression and she will sleep all day now that she is adult because she will stay up all night).

    Interesting in that all 3 also have to have music and at the barest minimum white noise but mostly music. In fact mr busy has a cd of Enya that has a single song that he listened to, I kid you not, for 7 years straight on repeat through out the night. We, as a family, are so sick of hearing the same song all night long for 7 years as he won't listen to it at a reasonable level and it has some pretty heavy drum beats to it. I don't know how he can put up with it and have long tried to figure out what it is about that particular song that he finds soothing. For a while I even started to wonder if it had some kind of subliminal message to it because he would freak out if he could not listen to it and would not sleep without it, PERIOD! There are words but it's nonsense words/language.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I think I know which song you mean. Terra, something, very depressing and scary, actually. I guess it's her version of earthy. I think it's either Latin or Celtic. I read the translation once. I used to love her work, but now I'm tired of it, and I certainly didn't listen to the same piece for 7 yrs straight, lol!
  7. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Interesting article. difficult child's hallmark bipolar symptom is her extreme irritability. And now that she's a teenager it's amplified times ten. Although it's hard to deal with her, I sorta feel bad for her. Irritable people in general aren't very happy. It must really suck the life out of someone to constantly be so touchy and hard to please. I just wish there was more I could do to help her. Irritability is the one symptom her medications never seem to help.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sleep does. The underlying issues make sleep a challenge, and medications sometimes make that worse... but sometimes they can help. We weren't dealing with bi-polar, but we WERE dealing with huge irritability... and solving the sleep issue made a MAJOR difference. (yes, HS age teen... sleeping almost half the clock, and up "before breakfast" in the mornings... and NO hassle about it... difficult child is tired, difficult child goes to bed.)
  9. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    " Would you describe your child as super angry, super grouchy or super cranky? Is this how your kid behaves all or most of the time? Does the smallest distraction or inconvenience send your youngster over the edge into angry and touchy fits? This is what your doctor will specifically look for -- persistent and severe irritability -- to establish a diagnosis of bipolar disorder."

    Uh yes. Angry, grouchy, AND cranky. Isn't that the definition of difficult child? For me it is.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Really? Our psychiatrist sees "persistent and severe irritability" as a sign of sleep problems... at least, that's the first thing she out-rules. If that's all a doctor looks for as a sign of BiPolar (BP)... I'd be looking for another doctor.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That was me, that is me and that will continue to be I know one thing, if I even allow myself to open the computer I will probably not get to sleep most of the night. Notice the time I am posting. I take a ton of medications that should put me to sleep but if I allow myself to get on the computer...nope...its screen time. TV doesnt do the same thing though.
  12. IT1967

    IT1967 Member

    :( My heart just fell into the pit of my stomach. That describes my difficult child's, especially difficult child 2. If it's true, I, well, I just don't know what..... it'd be devastating to me. Our therapist has thrown that out as a possible diagnosis for my kids, but certainly not definitively. Still, reading it just adds to the heaviness of my heart.
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    IT1967, I'm sorry to see that, IT. But for me, just having any label makes me feel more in control. I feel like there is something specific I can pursue, instead of buckling under to this nameless, angry shape strangling our household joy.