New to this...sort of

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mandimae, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. mandimae

    mandimae New Member

    Hi all. I am the mother of a 7 year old daughter who was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 6. She began having problems at school almost as soon as she entered kindergarten. Her teachers would complain that they could not get her to participate or respond and that she would "shut down" when an activity became too difficult. Her pediatrician gave her the ADHD diagnosis after interviewing me, and having me and her teachers fill out a questionaire and she was put on 18 mg of Concerta. However the Concerta had her so zombie like, that I stopped giving it to her.

    Then over the summer the rages started. My daughter would become angry at everyone and everything. She would be unreasonable, hit and throw things. At first it was just sometimes, but it has progressed to the point that it is everyday. Everyone in the house has to be careful what we do or say because it sets her off. She will hit us, throw things at us, tell us not to look at her or talk to her. Its like she wants to control everything arround her. And the anger, that is what amazes me is how angry she is ALL the time. Her teachers at school have not witnessed this behavior. At school, she tends to be quiet, and unresponsive. Right now she is being medicated with 5mg of Ritalin in the morning and 5 Mg of Ritalin at lunch, and then 1mg of Tenex at bedtime, but these medications have not improved her behavior at all.

    It just breaks my heart to see my daughter like this, and I wonder how it is affecting her mentally and emotionally.

    There is a history of mental illness in the family, including bi-polar,
    Schizoid personality disorder, and anxiety.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You describe this as anger - you're probably very right. It's really difficult for a kid who doesn't know what is wrong, why she is different, why it's all so hard.

    You don't have to wonder how it's affecting her - what you see is how it's affecting her. At least she is expressing her anger, but she needs to have a neuropsychologist investigation done to try to get more to the bottom of this.

    We also went through the Connor's tests, the forms etc. But the child needs to be tested too, to be seen and examined personally instead of a doctor merely looking at the forms.

    Getting a diagnosis, especially a carefully considered one, takes time. It can be a very frustrating process. The ADHD could be correct but there could be more. Or if not, then there is a lot of anger there which needs some sort of therapy, to help her cope.

    Poor kid. And poor you, trying to handle all this.

    The Concerta turning her into a zombie - maybe the dose was too high for her. The dose isn't always related to the severity of the symptoms or the size of the person. difficult child 3 is on a very high dose of stimulants, difficult child 1 (although older and bigger) is on a much lower dose. easy child 2/difficult child 2 was always on an even smaller dose.

    I hope you can get some answers that will help long term.

    In the meantime - read on this site, look around the various forums and gather information. When you can do a sig for yourself so you don't have to keep repeating yourself every time you post.

    Welcome. Sorry you need us, but I'm sure we can help.

  3. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi mandimae.

    You know, we are just parents like you who, at times, have been/are just as clueless as to what is going on with our kids! However, many of us can share our stories of success and failure and you can take the parts that make sense to you and go from there.

    I would first suggest the book "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. We recommend that to all our new members - it's kinda like our bible around here. Second, I would suggest you take your daughter for testing with a pediatric neuropsychologist for a full evaluation. You could also go for a multidisciplinary evaluation at a local children's hospital or the psychiatric dept of a local teacher medical school. With the strong genetic component, I believe it's important to get some really indept testing done now.

    In young children, many times depression can manifest as anger and agression. That was the case with my son who has adhd. Once treated with medications and therapy for a couple years, he is doing great. However, the other component, since there is history of bipolar, is that very often the stimulants used for adhd can create mania in kids with BiPolar (BP). Additionally, bipolar in children can mimic many of the symptoms of adhd.

    Basically, I think further study and evaluation is a must.

    That's not to say that you will get straight answers or that a magic pill or therapy will make everything "normal". We just get to that point where we understand that our children are not typical kids and will never be typical kids. But they have many other things to offer that make us love them even more. We will always be looking for ways to offer them the chance of success. We will work with schools to make sure they are getting a quality education, we will work with doctors to make sure they are getting the best treatment, we will investigate the smallest crumb on the internet, or seek out parents who understand.

    That the teachers don't see the same behavior is not unusual. Many parents here have had, or are having, the same. In our case, my difficult child had the raging at school but never at home. What might be a really good idea for you, especially given that you might be waiting a month or more for an appointment, is to begin to keep a log of your daughter's behavior, medication doses, etc. Write little comments on your calandar at home such as, "asked to go to bed, set her off" or "tantrum regarding a tv program lasted 25 minutes" or "angry about nothing and threw down such and such and broke it". It's a good thing to take to the doctor's office when you go because it will help you remember the issues and help the doctor see a pattern and not just your telling him or her about the behavior. The other thing you can do when you have a minute, is go back and think about her infancy and early childhood and write down milestones like when she walked and sat up, how your pregnancy progressed, anything out of the ordinary you remember. All these things really help the doctor to get an overall snapshop of who your daughter is.

    Sorry I rambled on for such a long time, but your daughter is young and now is the time to try and get some answers so that she can move forward in a positive way.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there :)

    Sorry you had to be here, but welcome.

    I would not trust a diagnosis. from a pediatrician. in my opinion you need a neuropsychologist's very intensive and covers everything. Many of us feel this is the best way to get as close to a good diagnosis as you can. To me, it sounds like more than ADHD. "Shutting down" and raging kind of reminds moe possible Aspergers or something like that. Definitely, something pediatricians wouldn't "get" and easy to miss unless the testing is very thorough. My son's neuropsychologist testing was ten hours long.

    Others will come along.
  5. mandimae

    mandimae New Member

    Thank you all for you advice and support. I am making an appoint today with her pediatrician so she can refer her to someone else (insurance rules) I know her behavior is not normal. I have two other children that do not have these problems. I believe she is bi-polar. Espcially because sometimes she will go two or three days very calm and normal acting and then the rages are back on. I will keep you all updated.
  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It's good that you are getting a referal. Pediatricians deal with the body. Many parents who are experiencing these kinds of issues, rely on their pediatricians early on for answers. Most of us learn, as time goes by, that we need a doctor for our children who deals with the mind. I would definately insist on a referal to a pediatric neuropsychologist for a complete evaluation. Don't leave the office without a list of several choices. Many times it is difficult to get an appointment because there aren't enough of these doctors in many areas. I think I mentioned in my earlier reply that you can wait a month or more for a good one.

    Good luck. Please keep us posted.

  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome!! So sorry you needed to find us, but happy to meet you all the same!

    I think almost every parent here started with an ADHD diagnosis. You can see from our signatures (at the bottom of every post. You can do one by clicking on the User CP and following the prompts. It helps us remember everyone's details.) that most of us have much different diagnosis's now, though the ADHD may still be there.

    I want to encourage you to get a referral to a neuropsychologist (has special training in hwo the brain works. A good one will do 5-10 HOURS of testing over several days. This is why they give more reliable diagnosis.), to a psychiatrist, and to a neurologist.

    There are a LOT of people wandering around on stimulants who think they have ADHD and don't. Seizure disorders can look like ADHD. Another mom went through many diagnosis's for her son, including bipolar, and finally insisted on a sleep deprived EEG. Lo and behold her son was NOT bipolar. He was having seizures! depending on the part of teh brain the seizures happen in, almost any behavior can be caused by a seizure.

    When the teacher told me that my daughter MUST have ADHD and was a problem in class (She wasn't, teacher dislike girls so she said that to every girl's parents!) we went to the pediatrician and got a referral to a neurologist. I had to be firm, but the neuro was glad I did. I never expected anything to show up on the EEG (test of brain waves) but something did. She has Absence Epilepsy. The seizures are not noticeable. They last from a few seconds to a couple of minutes and are NOT teh typical seizures. Her brain just checks out. So it appears she is not focusing or paying attention.

    Please be sure to get a neuro referral along with other referrals.

    As you suspect bipolar is the problem, you should read The Bipolar Child. It is an excellent resource and is packed with well researched information. One thing that you should ask the pediatrician to do is to stop the ritalin. Ritalin can cause the anger you see. It also usually sends people with bipolar into mood cycling. The book will explain this.

    I would also ask for a referral to a private Occupational Therapist (Occupational Therapist (OT)). Most of our difficult children have significant sensory problems. Sensory Integration Disorder, when your body cannot process input from your senses, can cause a LOT of problems. I get very irritable and angry when my senses are overwhelmed (I have Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) in a major way). I also can be very mellow when I have the right kind of sensory input. A private Occupational Therapist (OT) can tell you what sensory integration problems your child has and how to help. One way to help is brushing therapy. the body is brushed in a certain pattern with a surgical scrub brush. It is non-invasive and has been proven to rewire the way the brain handles sensory information! The Out of Sync Child by Kranowitz explains Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) and how to help. She also has a book crammed with activities for different kinds of sensory input AND how to do them cheaply. It is called The Out of Sync Child Has Fun and I would buy it first. By watching which activities your child likes and dislikes you can figure out which types of things help.

    This is a LOT of info. Give yourself time to process it. Rereading is helpful, and finding the books on CD is also very helpful. I don't know if any are available as audiobooks but it is worth looking for.

    One thing that will really help on this journey is to do a Parent Report. Ages ago some parents here came up with a format that is very helpful in keeping things organized. You can go to the FAQ part of the forum and the thread is title Parent Input.

    I look forward to getting to know you better!

  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The few good days then bad day - it also could fit under Asperger's. These kids try to hold things together but every so often it breaks down when frustration levels build up.

    Have you seen those "drinking birds"? The ones that are a glass tube with a bulb at the bottom, fluid-filled. The bird tips over more and more until it's beak lands in the glass of water placed in front of it. The beak cools, the fluid re-balances and the bird goes back to the start with its movements being smaller to begin with and finally bigger and bigger swings until the bird tips over into the glass once more.

    The moods and temper in Asperger's can be like that bird - the kid is constantly warring with her rising tide of anger and frustration, until it spills over. What finally tips her over doesn't seem much, she tolerated the same and more the day before. But it is a much longer-drawn-our process than you have realised, the tipping over was more of a last straw than just that incident.

    It still could bt bipoar. But it really is far too early to say. If you prejudge with either, you risk locking off other possibilities which shouldalso be considered. Becuase to get the wrong diagnosis can =lead to the wrong treatment for years maybe, until finally someone gets it right.

    Also, depression is a big part of Asperger's because the kids can really hate themselves for not being able to be as good as other kids. But sometimes, especially when immersed in an activity they love, they can seem to switch off a bad mood fast and be happy again, for a little while.

    Sometimes there can be valid reasons for apparent mood swings. Humans are complex organisms!