Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by forkeeps251, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. forkeeps251

    forkeeps251 Member

    Just need to vent a little :)

    For the second time the other day, while I was talking to them about the problems I'm having with my youngest son, someone said "He sounds bipolar".

    I'm getting a little tired of hearing that! This time though, it came from someone who REALLY should know better, as she has a LOT of exposure to kids with problems (autism, abuse, etc).

    It seems like people hear about his anger and aggression issues and think "oh, bipolar".

    Of course, we are still awaiting a full evaluation, so we can't rule anything out at this point, but I think this would be pretty unlikely.

    I found a website that seems pretty good to me, as it acknowledgers that a lot of "manic" behaviors are also sypmtoms of a lot of other stuff... like hyperactivity could be ADHD, social anxiety could be, well, social anxiety.

    So, I went through the list of bipolar symptoms for my own peice of mind: (From the website above, my thoughts in red)

    [h=2]What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents?[/h]One of the biggest challenges has been to differentiate children with mania from those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Since both groups of children present with irritability, hyperactivity and distractibility, these symptoms are not useful for the diagnosis of mania. By contrast, elated mood, grandiose behaviors, flight of ideas, decreased need for sleep and hypersexuality occur primarily in mania and are uncommon in ADHD. Below is a brief description of how to recognize these mania-specific symptoms in children.
    • Elation. Elated children may laugh hysterically and act infectiously happy without any reason at home, school or in church. If someone who did not know them saw their behaviors, they would think the child was on his/her way to Disneyland. Parents and teachers often see this as "Jim Carey-like" behaviors. I would say he does not act like this. He is no sillier than any other five year old. 99% of the time, unless he has an outburst, he acts like a normal five year old. Even the school psychologist noted that he had plenty of "normal" behaviors.
    • Grandiose behaviors. Grandiose behaviors are when children act as if the rules do not pertain to them. For example, they believe they are so smart that they can tell the teacher what to teach, tell other students what to learn and call the school principal to complain about teachers they do not like. Some children are convinced that they can do superhuman deeds (e.g., that they are Superman) without getting seriously hurt, e.g. "flying" out of windows. No, never. Not anything like that, although it does remind me of a guy a dated in high school. Maybe he is bipolar?
    • Flight of ideas. Children display flight of ideas when they jump from topic to topic in rapid succession during a normal conversation—not just when a special event has happened. Nope, nothing like this either.
    • Decreased need for sleep. Children who sleep only 4-6 hours and are not tired the next day display a decreased need for sleep. These children may stay up playing on the computer and ordering things or rearranging furniture. He goes to bed at 8:30 and wakes up at 6:30 or 7... so I would say he sleeps plenty. Also we have no problems getting him to go to bed. He pretty much goes right to sleep.
    • Hypersexuality. Hypersexual behavior can occur in children without any evidence of physical or sexual abuse in children who are manic. These children act flirtatious beyond their years, may try to touch the private areas of adults (including teachers) and use explicit sexual language. Um no, and thank goodness, he is only 5.
    In addition, it is most common for children with mania to have multiple cycles during the day from giddy, silly highs to morose, gloomy suicidal depressions. It is very important to recognize these depressed cycles because of the danger of suicide. He never changes his mood unless provoked. In other words, unless he gets in trouble, or someone hurts his feelings, or he has an issue at school (changing activities seems to be a big one).

    Those are the reasons why I think it's unlikely that he is bipolar. My husband was incorrectly diagnosed as bipolar before (he was suffering from depression), and it seems to me people are thinking that it is something it isn't.

    Yes, my kid has problems. He definatly has anger issues, and social issues. I suspect that he may have sensory problems, but like I said, we are waiting on a diagnosis. So why do people seem to jump to the conclusion that he sounds bipolar? The first time, someone who knows little to nothing about even children in general said this. The second time, it was someone who knows my kid, and knows many, many other kids with disorders. I don't think is around any children who are actually bipolar though, so I don't really think what she says carries much weight anyway.

    Just had to come somewhere and vent :)
  2. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    The reason why so many people jump to conclusions? Because they all know "someone". "I know someone who's child is bipolar" "I know someone who's child has autism" "I know someone who's child just needs a kick in the ...(insert your preference here!)" "I know someone who's child..."

    Just relax (yeah right!) until the evaluation is done, go to the readout loaded with plenty of questions. You've done one of the smartest things you can and started researching possibilities and worked at discounting theories. Once you have a sit-down with the professionals and question, question, question.

    We're here for you through thick and thin! :groan:

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    After my son was misdiagnosed with bipolar, I have come to believe that nobody really knows what bipolar looks like in kids or if it even really exists in kids...or how many kids diagnosed with childhood bipolar actually develop it in later years. Most countries do not diagnose childhood bipolar...I think it's better that way. For the life of me, when I look back, I have no idea why the psychiatrist thought my son had bipolar and, even worse, why I went along with it. He is eighteen now and has no moodswings at all. If anything, he is less moody than most people. I think the diagnosis is a bit trendy now in the US...and I'm starting to believe it is misdiagnosed even more often than ADHD. Now this is MY opinion only. But if you think it's not what your son has, then go with your mom gut. I do trust mom gut A LOT! Those medications for bipolar are VERY heavy duty, even for adults. My son was on most of them and I'm very sorry I ever let him go on them.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I think your coping mechanism is right on the money...
    What ever "they" are saying, if it nags at you (or they do), take it and research it... does it even remotely fit?

    Sometimes, its obvious.
    Somtimes... yes on this, no on that...

    But... do keep track of your research.
    All these questions you are asking and getting answers for, will come in handy when you get to the evaluation, and they toss you a bundle of forms to fill out.... is he like "this", does he do "that"... it will be more fresh in your mind, and therefore you will be able to provide more accurate data.
  5. mama_c

    mama_c New Member

    Yes, it seems people love to suggest that kids are bipolar. I posted on another message board merely that DD3 was difficult and always throwing tantrums, gave no details beyond that, and I was told that she sounds bipolar.
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    OH lordy, if that is the definition of bipolar then 3 of 6 of the kids in my family are bipolar, Oh well, that is why we always say take what fits and throw the rest....
    So so you think that bipolar is over diagnosed even by the professionals? I know this argument went on for a long time (still does to some extent) for both autism and adhd (especially for adhd still)
  7. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    No one diagnosis fits difficult child 1. He has been diagnosis bipolar, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), ptsd, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), ect... I've come to the conclusion I don't care if they call him a pink elephant with spots. He needs help. If his diagnosis gets him the help I think he needs then we'll go with that diagnosis.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The only problem with bipolar are the heavy duty medications they give these kids. Trust me, they give them the same medication as they give adults.

    It is hard to diagnose both kids AND adults with ANYTHING. I've had problems since toddlerhood and got help as soon as I was old enough. I must have had ten labels tagged on me. The one that makes the most sense is mood dysregulation disorder and I digagnosed myself with borderline personality disorder, recognizing the obvious symptoms t hat I had ESPECIALLY as a young adult. I think that if you are getting good help, the label doesn't matter, but be VERY careful about ANY medication. Research the medications. See if you are comfortable giving it to a child. Research research, research is the key. And question, question, question. If something seems wrong...get another opinion. Use your Mom Gut.

    I've had a thirty-five year experience with mental health professionals for myself AND my daughter who used to take drugs AND my autistic son...and I can tell you, you can talk to ten professionals and get ten different answers. I like NeuroPsychs the best because the actually test each part of function and give results on how the person did. That is the most accurate map of how somebody is doing that I know of. So many people, adults and kids, spend years on medications that can be harmful and do not really help. And kids can't tell us how the medications make them feel.

    Sorry about the rant. I just look back and don't want others to go through what I did. Today the big diagnosis in the US is bipolar. Tomorrow it will probably be something else. Try to get help for the behaviors...and be careful of the medications. I am not anti-medication. If I didn't take medications, I'd be dead from suicide. But it took me ten years to find medications that really helped me.

    Keep us posted.
  9. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    I DO have a kid who is bipolar and it also frustrates me how easily people throw the term around. Anyone who has ever seen a manic 8 year old can tell you that it does not look anything like ADHD. It is a completely different beast. The checklist from NAMI is a good place to start and, from your answers, I would say that your child is not bipolar.