Don't know why I didn't look before - sorry so long

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by freckledpotter, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. freckledpotter

    freckledpotter New Member

    So I'm new. I have been looking through quite a number of the topics here, and feel like I wish I had thought to look for this earlier.

    I am the mom of two beautiful, wonderful children. But my oldest has been a handful his whole life. I always suspected that there was something going on with him, but I received the typical "he's fine", "he's just being a kid", "you need to put your foot down" advice that I'm sure all of you have heard. For years I thought he may need medication for something, but was never comfortable taking action. I have feared bi-polar for a long time....but have been told he is not. He is extremely violent with his little brother and seems to be angry all the time. He is also one of those kids who is great, helpful and at ease at school and in public, but loses it at home.

    The first sign that something was different was when he was 2 and still couldn't speak properly. He couldn't complete a full word ('cat' would be pronounced 'ca'). At three he qualified for speech therepy through our school district. In 1st grade school testing revealed a Learning Disability (LD), more specifically a processing delay. During 2nd grade he sunk into a depression, started talking about how he hated himself and life and he wished he were dead. We were devistated. We started him in therepy and started seeing a pd/r. She diagnosis him with ODD & depression. But we still were unwilling to put him on any medication because my husband has had severe side effects from medications.

    He seemed to get better through his 3rd grade year, but that next summer everything got worse. He started exhibiting severe anxiety toward food and food borne illness. So much so that he stopped eating while on a 2 week vacation and lost 10 lbs. We took him to his pediatrician who referred us to a behavorial pediatrician. After a battery of tests, he was diagnosis with ADD, Anxiety with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tendancies, on top of his Learning Disability (LD). Having a diagnosis was like a weight had been lifted, I wasn't necessary a bad parent afterall. At the beginning of this year we finally started him on Staterra which seemed to help him the rest of the school year with his focus issues. We are still leary of medications for the anxiety. His Dr. recommended trying a supplement, DHEA, but didn't expect it to help at all. Within 2 weeks, my son was so violent and volitile that we decided to take him off of the DHEA. Those tendancies went away, make the dr. suspect that an anti-depressant actually could be the wrong medication. Now he's recommended a mood stabilizer instead. We haven't decided what to do yet, but are still hanging in there.

    Anyway, that is our story. Thanks for being here. I'm so glad that I finally sat down to see if there was anyone else out there who was going through all this too. So thank you and I would appreciate any feedback.
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi freckledpotter, glad you found us!
    I am so sorry to hear of your difficult child's troubles. Your journey is similar to many of ours here--trying new medications, taking it one day at a time.
    What sorts of daily behaviors does your son exhibit that you may be able to work with? I would guess you want to get a handle on the anger issue.
    Have you read The Explosive Child? Everyone here loves it.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hmmmmmmm. I'd take him to a neuropsychologist. With his speech delay, and anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) traits, he might have a form of high functioning autism. IF so, he would need interventions beyond a behavioral therapist. My son has this and his first diagnosis. was ADHD/ODD. Does your son have any social problems, problems with eye contact outside of the family, any obsessions (like dinosaurs) or any fine/gross motor skill problems? Is he able to transition from one activity to another without trouble?
  4. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Strattera is an SNRI antidepressant. It has all the same warnings about suicidal ideation, hostility, aggressiveness, etc as any other antidepressant.
  5. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Just wanted to welcome you. Glad you finally found us. We are an amazing board, with a wealth of knowledge. You story sounds like so many of ours.......but there is hope. Continue to ask questions, and solicit feedback, and we will help as we can.
  6. freckledpotter

    freckledpotter New Member

    He doesn't have any of the things you mention. But when he was younger that did occur to me. Of all the people and dr's he's seen, no one has said he is autistic. I don't worry about that being the case. He is in a class with other kids who have high functioning autism. He is very different from them. The only social problems he has is always wanting his way and seeming very self-absorbed, which his dr says comes with the ADD/Anxiety combo.
  7. Christy

    Christy New Member

    I'm glad you found us. Midwest Mom offered some good advice and please consider what Sara said about straterra. We found this out the hard way with our son. Good luck as you continue to look for the right answers, medications, and interventions for you son. You have found a great place to come for knowledge, advice, and support.

  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Adding my welcome to a fellow Californian!
  9. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Adding my welcome!:D
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    I do recommend the Explosive Child, and also the Love and Logic books. We used L&L before they developed the one for special needs children - I have heard great things about it also. The library probably has most of them. You can learn about Love and logic at

    MOST of us started with the ADHD or ADHD/ODD diagnosis. some of us battled for years to find out what was truly wrong with our children, some found that ADHD was the right diagnosis, many found otherwise.

    My own difficult child, Wizard, has Aspergers. He also has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Most of the time it would be hard to tell he has any problems. Aspergers is different from high functioning autism, and may be worth looking into. My son was incredibly violent with his little sis, and began to be violent with his little bro when we sent him to a long term psychiatric hospital. When the violence started again about a year after he came home, my parents eventually took him in. He will live with them until he gets a place of his own. I will not ever, ever live with him again. I simply cannot physically handle the risk, nor can my other kids, esp Jessie. We do stay with him for a week or two wehn my parents go on trips, but that is the limit. It saddens me, but we can all thrive as a family of different addresses, where we cannot survive as a family of the same address.

    I am NOT saying htis will be the outcome for you. It is what has worked for us, but is NOT the outcome for many.

    If it is a mood disorder, it would be helpful to have him weaned off hte stratterra and using mood stabilizer medications only. Strattera, other anti depressants, stimulants, etc... OFTEN interfere with mood stabilizers.. For people with mood disorders it is recommended (by the american board of whomevers - I forget the name) that treatment first be a mood stabilizer, even 2 mood stabilizers, then add an antipsychotic, then to try stimulants or antidepressants - and be aware that these medications may cause more mood disturbance.

    Many many psychiatrists ignore this guideline, but it exists for a reason. Many adults with bipolar have posted here about how they never truly got help until they went this route. If you are just beginning the medicines, it is handy info to have. I think Sara PA has the name of the board of docs who recommended this.

    Anyway, glad you are with us, don't be a stranger!

  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    G'day, Freckles, welcome to a haven online.

    As you will see from my sig, I have a special connection with kids with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), ADHD and autism. I also know how easily it can be missed. These kids can be very different from each other. However, if you are sure your son hasn't got a form of autism in the mix as well, then at least you have given it serious consideration.

    That said, even if he hasn't got it, I think it's a good thing he is in a class with high-functioning autistic kids, because they WILL share the anxiety/ADD combination presentation and when you're supporting one kid like this, it's easier to support the next one as well.

    Your son's self-esteem issues could well come from his self-belief that he is bad, that he is stupid, that he can't get anything right. They get frustrated with themselves and everyone else. Sometimes tat is turned outwards and we see it as explosive behaviour; sometimes it becomes self-destructive. It will be ongoing, until he is older and has developed some coping skills, or you have found a medication regime that works - or both.

    And even when he is older and seemingly capable, back in easy child mode - he will always have a shorter fuse, there will always be times when he finds everything too much. The depression won't go away, it will surface again if he gets overloaded.

    So he needs to learn coping skills, as well as to be given an understanding of why he is like he is. It's not his fault. Some kids just are made differently, their brains work differently. He needs to work out how to make his brain do what it needs to do, and to really take on board that he is NOT bad, he is a decent human being who is also a distinctive individual. He CAN do it, he just has to find out what is the right way in HIS case.

    Support him, boost his self-esteem and keep helping him deal with his fears and his depression. Do what you can for him NOW - testosterone is just around the corner and it is going to upset your applecart all over again, in a few years' time.