Help!!! My son was just diagnosed with bipolar/odd

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by skapas32, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. skapas32

    skapas32 New Member

    My 8 year old son was just diagnosed with bipolar part i, mixed/odd..i'm not sure what to do now?? He was tested then diagnosed with adhd by another doctor back in 2008 so he has been on medications for it. He was still having problems at home and school after going thru several doctors one finally listened and had him retested now come to find out it he doesn't have adhd he has bipolar part i, mixed and odd. I just knew something wasn't right...after getting the results i did some research come to find out the adhd medications could have made him worse instead of this true? His new doctor has changed his medications but they don't seem to be helping any only making things worse. He's on tegretol xr and remeron. If anybody has suggestions on where to go from here it would be appreciated....
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have a few questions that can help us help you.

    1/What kind of professional diagnosed him. Has he ever had a neuropsychologist evaluation?

    2/Are there psychiatric problems on either side of his genetic family tree? Any substance abuse on either side (remember, this is his genetics, not who is raising him)

    3/How was his early development---speech, eye contact, motor skills, his ability then and now to relate to his same age peers? Any obsessions or quirks? Does he know how to hold a give-and-take conversation?

    My son was misdiagnosed, first with ADHD/ODD then with bipolar. He has neither. Instead he is on the autism spectrum, high functioning and that's why medications made him worse and therapy didn't help him at all. He is 17 now and doing quite well, considering. He has been off all medications since age 11 and obviously has no mood disorder and has turned into a couch potato after bouncing off the walls as a child. He does have severe social and life skill problems (Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)). But he's a great kid who is always willing to help with a smile and he has no behavior problems now. So I wouldn't trust any evaluation completely, but the most thorough diagnosticians we have are NeuroPsychs. Heredity plays a big role in disorders/behavior as well. DO NOT trust any school evaluations. They Hoover :)

    Welcome to the board, but sorry you had to be here :/ You may want to do a signature like I have below :)
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    You might want to get a second opinion. It never hurts. A child psychiatrist might be best. Also, read the book The Bipolar Child by Dr. Papolos. It describes the illness very well and gives great information in terms of possible treatments.
    It is common to have to tweek the medications. Yes, the use of ADHD medications could make Bipolar symtoms worse. My suggestion is to try not to make a big deal about this in front of your child. Try to not overuse the word "Bipolar." If you are sure of the diagnosis, you might want to make sure your child understands that medication is necessary. Consider also getting a therapist (for talk therapy). A psychologist, social worker, mental health counselor, etc.....This will be particularly beneficial in the pre-teen...and teen years. Concentrate on what is going right in the child's life to avoid the negative stigma that usually goes with this diagnosis. AND make sure you take extra care of yourself, any other children in the family and your relationship with your partner. This is a lot of work, to be sure. But in the end, it will be worth it. Hang in there!!!!
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Skapas, welcome.
    Yes, ADHD medications can make things worse BUT only temporarily, from what I understand. They go through the system quickly. I wouldn't worry about it any more. (Easier said than done, I'm sure.)
    Also, it's really hard, unless you have a clear family history of bipolar, to diagnosis a child so young.
    I, also, would like to know more of your family history.
    Welcome ... so sorry you had to find us.
  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Heya Skapas. We've been through many medications with Kiddo with varying degrees of reaction, from halfway decent to violent. Some of these medications take longer to get to therapeutic levels than others.
  6. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Interesting choice of medications. Did he go directly from ADHD medications to Tegretol and Remeron? Did you titrate up on the medications, one at time, get rid of ADHD medications first? Just wondering if it is clear which of the medications might not be helping.

    I don't know--how was he retested for bipolar? There isn't really a "test" per se. What were his most severe symptoms? I think you might want to do a lot of reading about bipolar and medications and see what you think.
  7. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Welcome....first things first, please slow down & take a deep breath. The adhd medications can make bipolar worse but you didn't know that & the original doctor didn't know at the time either. You will find over the years that diagnosis's can & will change with time. As will the medications.

    Finding the right combination of medications is a roller coaster ride. It took almost 5 years to find the right course of medication treatment for my ktbug. Everything was hit or miss.

    The Bipolar Child was/is a well used reference in this house.
  8. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Just so you know, Remeron is an antidepressant and can make bipolar disorder worse as well. In general, kids with bipolar disorder need a first-line mood stabilizer like Tegretol (others include Lithium, Depakote, Lamcital, Trileptal) plus an atypical antipsychotic (Risperdal, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Abilify, Geodon, Invega) to achieve stability.

    Having said that, you may want to have your son tested by a neuropsychologist to help clarify the diagnostic picture, as others have recommended.
  9. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Welcome! I would say "get thee to a neuropsychologist". Like Midwest Mom said, autistic spectrum can often look like bipolar in some kids. We just went through yet another diagnostic conundrum recently.

    Gotta go, the weeble is running like a nut today!

  10. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    I know it sounds scary and ominous but once the initial shock wears off, you will still be a mother trying to raise as well balanced son as you can. You may have different issues that come up but he is still just a boy who needs parenting and support and acceptance. Try to look at this in another way. Imagine he had a physical injury that will cause him to limp. He may be hampered to do everything like other people but he with the right supports, he can have a decent,full life.
    Read, learn, second opinion and be his voice. Get frequent breaks from the intensity of a hyped up kid and try to put things in perspective after you swallow that ball of hysteria that chokes us when we hear those words the first time.
    Welcome and hope you feel comfortable sharing more about your son.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Diagnosing bipolar in kids is not easy. One of the hallmarks of bipolar, the mood swings and especially the depressive stuff, goes hand in hand with a lot of other childhood disorders including ADHD and autism. These kids also can seem manic when they are very happy (for a change) often doing something they enjoy. Take away whatever it is they are enjoying, and you can see an amazingly rapid transition to rage which someone who doesn't fully 'get it' can interpret (wrongly) as bipolar. it is most important that all possibilities are carefully considered, and you make sure you haven't just taken him to a doctor who has a 'revolving door' approach to diagnosis (ie every patient who goes in his door, comes out with the same diagnosis, really fast like an assembly line. Fast turnaround, like the large revolving doors in some buildings).

    I'm not saying the diagnosis is wrong, only that as with so many of us and so often with each kid, the diagnosis MAY be wrong. Again.

    The ADHD may not be wrong. Or it may be. If he is worse now, it could be because ADHD medications (which may have been working) have been removed. All I'm saying, is keep an open mind.

    The ODD stuff - it can be managed. Personally, I don't like the label, I think it is misleading and causes more distress than it deserves. Especially distress to parents, who are led to believe their child is choosing to be difficult, perhaps for the enjoyment of it. That generally is not the case. We in fact often teach our kids to be oppositional, by using the more conventional discipline methods. These work well on most kids, but on some kids, they are a bad fit. And you won't know until it's too late and the damage is done. But the damage can be undone, although it takes a change in mind-set. It helps if you have a good understanding of what is going on in his head, and it sounds like right now, you don't have that, with the change in diagnosis.

    In summary - I believe ODD exists, but is not what some professionals claim it to be. And we do it to our own kids with a badly fitting discipline. A change in discipline method to something with more self-determination can turn this around. You need to step back from the "Because I said so" approach and towards something more like, "Let's work as a team on this problem." Mostly these children learn by imitation, and when you model controlling behaviour for them (which is what we all do, when we ry to use the "Because I said so" approach) then they will simply dish it back up to us, then be surprised when we react with anger at the "disrespect".

    I think that behind almost every kid with an ODD label, is a problem with social skills. This can be generally found in autism, but in some other disorders too.

    A lot of these problems can be dealt with by actively working with the child on these issues. You don't have to be a professional (although it helps to have one on board). We had to do a lot for ourselves because we are isolated. I only found out years later, why some of our successful interventions were so successful.

    Welcome on board, stick around. And as the others said - a neuropsychologist evaluation might clarify matters. If nothing else, it can give you a sense of direction, and of things that could help him. And you.