rages and getting physical

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gss329, May 1, 2011.

  1. gss329

    gss329 New Member

    I just found this site and need help. I'm sorry I don't know all the spcial acronyms.

    My son is 14.5 and has had intermiittent rages for 2 years. He is on zoloft and abilify.

    Things have progressed where he is getting more physical towards me. tonite he had me a in headlock for awhile (my head and face still hurt) and he hit me in the face a few times (not fully as he hasn't gotten that brave yet).

    If i fight back, I think I would get in trouble, right?
    So, do I just have to take it and wait for him to calm down?
    What actually happens if you call 911?

    I am a single parent. His father committed suicide 1.5 years ago (we were divorced at the time).

    Child threatens to shoot himself just like his dad did if I tell. But then he threatens me to call 911.

    I'm totaly distraught.

    I don't know what to do

  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. Welcome to the board, but so sorry for your troubles.

    I have a few questions that will hopefully help us be able to help you a little bit more. Obviously your ex had some psychiatric problems, but was he also a substance abuser? Did he have a psychiatric diagnosis? Are there ANY psychiatric diagnoses on your son's genetic family tree on either side?

    Now back to your son. Was he a normal kid before his father died? Do you think he may be using drugs or drinking or both?

    When I called 911 on my daughter because she pulled a knife on herself, they took her to a psychiatric hospital, which is what we hoped for. I am not sure we always get what we want. However, you shouldn't have to fight him or be afraid of him. Maybe he would benefit from residential treatment????
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Gss329. The first thing I thought when I read the subject heading was, how old is he? And you gave me the answer I did not want to hear. I thought if he was 3 you could do "the hold" or something but obviously, you're way past that point.
    I'm wondering if he just got physical recently, because the medications could be making things worse.
    There is no law, by the way, that says you cannot protect yourself. Problem is, if you can't really protect yourself, you'll just make your son madder.
    Do you have a BIG boyfriend, neighbor who can come to your rescue when you need it?
    Keep your cell ph on you at all times.
    I am so sorry about your husband.
    Sounds like some of this is hereditary.
    Remember, that with-ADHD, you get a lot of impulsivity so your son is going to grab/hit first, and think later. (If at all.)
    My son did that for a while but is much better now. It took a lot of therapy and some medications, too. Clonidine works for us.
    One thing I had to learn was not to aggravate him. It was very hard, because I had to figure out the difference between not aggravating him, and "losing" in an argument. I learned that at this age (and even at age 11 or so) these kids can understand delayed punishment and restrictions, so for example, the next day, once my son had calmed down and wanted a favor (TV, computer, pizza) I could say, "I'd love to say yes, but since you attacked me yesterday, I'm still upset and have to tell you that you don't get any special favors. That makes me sad and I know if makes you sad, too."
    He'll argue (these kids argue about everything--that's who they are) and you have to just walk away. Don't let it escalate.

    Could you give us some more history on your son? If you think he may be bipolar, you shouldn't be giving him stims. They tend to make it worse.

    Just saying ...
  4. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Welcome gss329. I have always called 911 & requested transport to the hospital of a mentally/emotionally disturbed child(teen). Please send a unit to my home with-o sirens. Report & document all the times your difficult child has become physically aggressive toward you & document any & all injuries to yourself.

    Each & every time I've called 911, the transport was done to an ER with a psychiatric unit in the hospital.
  5. gss329

    gss329 New Member

    thanks for the feedback

    my son was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), odd, depression, tics, and unspecified mood disorder about 2 years ago. he saw a psychiatrist and psychologist for about 1.5 year, now he refuses to see the psychologsit ( i have no way of physically making him go - he would jump out of the car), but he does go to the psyc appts still. Problem his, he won't talk, so most, if not all, of the info the doctor gets is from me. I have to schedule separate appts. I wonder about the bipolar, but the doctor won't really go that far. But there is something that turns him into a different person during these 'spells'. i started the abilify one year ago April after he got really bad. now, its down to about once a month, but more physial each time. If its bipolar, is there a differnet medication?

    He is stronger than me now and getting taller quickly. I don't have anyone to call for help, which is why i was wondering about 911. Problem - he would be SO angry if I did that, I would be very fearful once he was given back over to me.

    I like the no siren idea, so thanks for that. Do they ask me what I choose when they come or do they automatically take him to the hospital? How long do they keep him? He would not talk to them.

    He has cut himself before too. He has several scars on his wrists which embarras him. Now that summer's coming, he's getting anxious over that too.

    His dad did not have a diagnosis of bipolar, but depression. He did start seeing a psyc, but would not take his medications, including prozac and an anti-psychotic as per directions. Alcholism runs in that family with the grandfather passing in early 30s from complications from that.

    So, i think there's alot of things going on.

    I feel like its just hopeless.

    No drugs for my kid and no, he's never been a typical kid. He has been exceptionally difficult since infancy with things just getting worse in 2007 - thats when I st started seeking out professional help.

    I don't know what I'm asking, but hearing from others is HUGE bc I feel so alone. by the way, my son's main interest is guns and says he plans to get one as soon as he is 18. Not in my house for sure.

    What is that medicein you mention and might it keep him more level? I think there is something not diagnosed right. He just looks so different when he has these spells.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I can give you my own experience. I have a mood disorder and have been put on many medications to try to control it (it took years to find a good combination, but was well worth hanging in there). I would be dead if I wasn't on medications, but, at the same time, if I had continued taking the wrong medications, I also may have killed myself. It's a delicate balance. If your son is worse on Abilify, it's absolutely useless...not helping him.Why take anything that is making his symptoms worse? I've had to wean off medications many times, often at my own insistance, because I felt worse, not better. But as a highly cooperative adult, I was able to stand my ground yet still be willing and desperate to try again.

    The very first thing I would do for your son, if you can gently talk him into it, is to schedule a neuropsychologist evaluation to see what interesting details about your son he can find. NeuroPsychs intensively test and often find problems that psychiatrists miss. My son went to a psychiatrist for three years, got a diagnosis of bipolar, was put on ten or so medications that didn't work, and all this time I didn't feel like he had bipolar. Finally, when he was obese from the medications and tired all the time and wetting himself every night (also from the medications), I took him for a second opinion. It was a neuropsychologist who tested him for ten hours and, like me, saw no bipolar symptoms. He was puzzled that nobody had caught the autistic spectrum disorder, which is what hub and I had always felt he had. Six years later, he's off all medications and his mood is extremely stable. I guess I'm trying to say, sometimes psychiatrists really don't know what to do and it's not a bad idea to get another perspective/opinion.

    If your son indeed is bipolar and his father committed suicide (and he thinks about it) Lithium could be your friend. It is the only medication that I've heard of that actually helps suicidal thoughts on top of stabilizing moods. Antidepressants can make one even more suicidal so be careful with that. I know this first hand. The wrong one can make you impulsive and suicidal...a bad combination.

    Abilify is an anti-psychotic. Many psychiatrists try them for bipolar in place of mood stabilizers. My own opinion is that they don't work as well as staple mood stabilizers...Lithium, Depakote (again jmo I don't l ike Depakote), Lamictal, Tegretal and Trileptal.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
  7. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    You need to call 911 when he become violent. If he gets angry, then he gets angry. If that leads to a second violent episode then you make a second call to 911. For us the trip to the ER resulted in an evaluation and then placement in a day facility (incompetent place), but also gave us quicker access to resources that we were on a waiting list for.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I know what you mean about saying he looks different. My son gets glassy eyed and his voice gets hoarse. It's like he's possessed.
    The last time I called the police, 2-1/2 yrs ago I think, was when he refused to go to school and was getting violent with-my husband. In a hoarse, raspy voice, he said, "You don't know what it's like to be in my body!"
    My heart broke, but I called the police, and later that day, we took him to the psychiatric unit. It was the best thing we've ever done. The police were very good with-him ... firm but not provocative. He was scared and sad about the psychiatric hospital but knew that something was wrong and that they would help him. At least he understood that much.

    When your son was a baby, did he sleep through the night? Did he have a lot of ear infections? Projectile vomiting? When did the tics start? That sounds more neurological than chemical, so I'm wondering about autistic qualities as opposed to or in addition to bipolar.
    Does he make good eye contact? Does he shy away from crowds, loud noises, bright lights?
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The tics made me think of Tourettes Syndrome which, on top of causing tics, causes behavioral problems. Maybe he should see a Neurologist too.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

  11. gss329

    gss329 New Member

    thanks for the feedback. what exactly does a neuro doctor do to make their evaluations?

    regarding when he was a baby - i always joked when people said, oh my child slept through the nite at 4 months, I'd say, my child slept through the nite at 4 years. not really so funny, but he was a terrible sleeper, NEVER slept through the nite and cried alot. not sick tho, never had an ear infection in his life, no strep, anything. just very 'difficult'. he doesn't shy away from noises, he has no problem with very loud noises. But i do notice its only if HE is controlling the noise and it not coming from another source that he isn't initiating.

    i think the abilify is helping, he's gone from having the spells from once every few days to about once every 30 days.

    i think the zoloft is treating the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and the ability to help with the depression and stabilzing his mood. I know when we go back to the psy, he will want me to increase the abilify.

    i just want these episodes to stop.

    So, can someone tell me more about neuro evaluation and also, why are the medications he is on bad, i thought they were helping
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Depending upon what sort of insurance you have, you may be able to find a neurologist/psychologist by yourself. If the ins will not allow it, you'll have to use your pediatrician or family dr for a referral (which you may want to get anyway, to get a good name).
    You will want to set up some testing, which will involve written Q&A and neurological testing, as well as an interview for your son, so the dr can talk to him one-on-one. (You ask for the testing, the dr ofc sets it up.)
    You will write a lengthy history (sort of like the questions we've been asking you).

    Typically, with-bipolar, stims make it worse. They can set the kid off and make him manic or really angry (or both). If he's not bipolar and he's ADHD because of an underlying neurological disorder, say, Asperger's, then the stims might work just fine.
    Antidepressants also can make bipolar worse. However, you've got him on Abilify, which may counteract some of that.

    Others here can give you more info on medications that worked better for their kids.
    One issue is that many of the drugs take wks to titre up in the bloodstream. In fact, the Zoloft you've got him on wouldn't have worked for several wks. And if you take him off of it, he's got to be weaned gradually.

    If you are seeing a lessening of his anger/violence issues, then maybe the drugs are working.

    What sets him off? You said if he's making noise, it's okay, but if the noise comes from elsewhere, it's not okay. Does that mean a sudden noise, like a clap of thunder, or like any noise, such as other kids around him on a playground or gym?
    It seems like his emotions are exaggerated, for ex., when he's happy, he's really, really happy, and when he's mad, he rages. Is that accurate?
  13. gss329

    gss329 New Member

    I am going do some research into the neuro idea. we have a great pychologist, psychiatrist, and pediatrician and so it would be easy to get a good referral. I say they're great, but I'm not sure I'm getting what I need. The psychiatrist just asks the same questions each time, but doesn't really offer any advice other than wanting to increase the abilify to help completely stop the outbursts. I'm relunctant to do that.

    He has been on the zoloft for about 2 years and the abilify for 1 year (time flies)

    What sets him off? Usually 'no'. But not always, I can tell when he's getting what I call 'itchy' - that's more likely when it happens. Many times 'no' is fine, but when he gets 'itchy', i can see things building up and usually i will get an explosion within a couple days. It lasts about 2 hours and then its over. Over the course of regular days, he is fairly easy to deal with, although I think i've trained myself on 'how' to make it fairly easy to deal with since its only the two of us. We have a regular routine, which helps.

    So, i'd say noise doesnt set him off. Just a build up of 'things' and then it could be anything really for the 'final straw'.

    I wouldnt say he's every really, really happy becuase he is depressed. His dad's actions have pretty much taken his breath away for the past 1.5 years.

    He's just never been an ordinary child, now he has that added burden to carry.
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    My gut says more Aspie than bipolar, but again, you need a good neurologist/psychologist.
    There are questionairres online you can Google and fill out yourself. Type in "Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified checklist" or "Asperger's quiz" and see what you can find.
    Clonidine has worked well for us. It's a blood pressure medication for adults, used off-label for kids, to help them calm down. It works within about 1/2 hr.
  15. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    This is instantly what I thought after reading through your posts gss. I'm not saying there isn't a mood disorder going on, but tourette syndrome captures all of the behaviors you mention. A neuro-psychiatric would be able to re-evaluate him and give a definitive diagnosis. I would start there. My now 21 year old difficult child was diagnosis'd with tourette at around age 10...we tried everything from punishing to counseling to freedom with her from about age 7 to 10, primarily due to what were called 'rage attacks' - the glassy eyed look, as if she were far far away and then afterwards she wouldn't remember hardly any of what transpired in what sometimes were rages that lasted for HOURS, occasionally entire weekends. Once she was diagnosis'd with tourette our path became at least somewhat doable. To begin with they started her on clonidine to control the rages, a touch of wellbutrin for her add stuff and an antidepressant for her depression/anxiety. It was a combo of the medications that worked best. The counseling we sought early on helped but in her early teens she refused to talk. Telling her 'No' always precipitated a rage.

    We are not doctors and obviously cannot diagnose your son, but hopefully you will receive enough information and ideas to help you. Big hugs, you've found a very supportive group of people!
  16. gss329

    gss329 New Member

    THanks to all. The support and this forum helps so much. I appreciate your time to share and help me with your suggestions. Hugs
  17. P-nut2004

    P-nut2004 New Member

    I can't give you any advice on dealing with teens as my difficult child is much younger (I'm dreading those years) and I'm fairly new here. What I can tell you is that, coming from my personal experience with mood disorders, esp. bi-polar, MWM is right about the delicate balance of medications. Especially with suicidal thoughts & behavior. I rode the medication trial roller coaster myself for years & Lamictal has worked better than anything else for me.
    I also second what MWM said about getting a neuropsychologist exam, it is definitely the best decision we have made so far with difficult child. Previous to her neuropsychologist testing she was only being treated for ADHD & ODD with a stimulant and mild sedative, things were so much worse. Now that we understand where all her behaviors are coming from and can medicate her properly she is not as dangerous to herself and others, although still quite a handful and in my opinion not on the right mix of medications yet.
    I hope this helps & above all else know that you are not alone and there are some things you can do to better the situation, this board has been my saving grace lately & others will definitely have good advice for dealing with teens. Welcome & ((HUGS))