Wild Mood Swings?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by jennd23, May 31, 2011.

  1. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    Are these commen with an ADHD, ODD, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis?

    I just worry about S. At one point his pediatrician wanted him evaluated for bi-polar but when I brought it up to the psychiatrist he said he didn't think that was necessary.

    I just find it amazing how fast he can go from ****** of to totally fine. I admit I don't know much about bipolar and I should do some research but I figure enough of you guys can help me sort it out for now until I have time to research. I think in adults the swings aren't so quick but I'm not sure how it works in children. And it could just be "letters" related.

    This morning he woke up, was in a great mood, laughing, being silly. I got out of the shower and asked him to move over and he did, then out of no where "you've got a giant butt, i hate you" "i'm so stupid, you think Im so dumb, you don't even love me, i hate myself, I don't even want to be alive" and starts hitting himself. Some of this I think is attention getting but he's in a legitimate bad mood, I will usually just throw out a "S, I love you so much, and you're the smartest 7 year old I know!" and that's about it, I don't play into the babying or any of that (maybe I should be, I don't know, but the poor me pity party just kind of annoys me).

    Move on, he eats breakfast while i'm in my room getting ready, he takes his pills and comes back in (in a totally normal, happy mood again)

    So, at this point I bring him his clothes fresh from the dryer (as he likes them) and tell him to get dressed while I fix my hair. He starts throwing his clothes into the fan so I tell him to stop. He gets ****** off again and starts yelling at me that I'm so mean and never do anything nice, etc. Then starts crying, hitting himself and me. I remind him to keep his hands to himself and keep going on about my business, turning lights off, getting coffee, etc to get in the car.

    We are in the car and he's mad because I didn't remind him to buckle (ugh,...you buckle EVERY time you get in the car, you dont' need a reminder....sorry, side bar :)). So he buckles, gets his shoes on, and gets his DS out. By the time we get to school he's back to bright and sunny "Bye mommy! I love you!!" And jogs into school with a big ole smile on his face.

    I never know which of these kids I'll get each morning so I don't know how to prevent him from turning to the angry side. Its just so frustrating. I know there are lots of things that could be playing into it, but I'm just curious if the mood swings are "normal" with his diagnosis?

    This isn't just a one time thing, its any time of day, for any reason he can go from happy having a blast to almost depressed sounding (hates his life, he's so dumb, thinks i hate him, etc). Any thoughts?
  2. Snowenne

    Snowenne New Member

    My son recieved the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) high functioning and ADHD diagnosis. He is 8 and can go from 1 to 1000000 in a second. Last night he was on the computer playing computer games. Like many others this is where a meltdown can occur. I asked him to get off as it was time for bed. He said 'no' and kept playing. So I gave it about 30 seconds and told him again. He then told me he had things to do on the game. I told him it was time to get off, the game will be there tomorrow. Well it came into a screaming/destroying battle. He was screaming not words just screaming really loud, on his way up to his room he made sure to knock over/throw whatever he walked by. He then stomped up the stairs, slammed his door and then began throwing and destroying his room. So I think in some cases the anger is very common unfortunatly. We are trying to get X. medicated because every little thing with him is a battle and i'm getting so exhausted doing it. I see he is on abilify. Maybe try to change the medications. I heard some not so great things with abilify. My son so far is only on adderall for his adhd. But hopefully soon will either be on risperidal or zoloft for the anger. Hope this helps.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Be careful of thinking that moodwings has to be bipolar. There are a lot of reasons for moodswings, including less severe mood disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids are constantly reacting to their environment and can be happy one moment, then turn on a dime. They have compromised levels of frustration, especially when young, and may be fine one moment then encounter something they don't like and fall apart in an instant.

    I issue this warning because my poor son was put on heavy duty bipolar medication for three years and he clearly does not have bipolar. I questioned it the entire time, but the psychiatrist insisted that he had bipolar and not Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). He had a series of horrible reactions to these medications until I finally took him to a neuropsychologist where he was finally given the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis. that hub and I had suspected all along. And we were right. He was weaned off the medications and never put on them again and he has been fine. The medications he is taking could actually be making him worse. Do you feel they are helping him?

    I can't tell you what to do or what to explore, but I did want to share my experience. Good luck and keep us posted :)
  4. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    I really do think his medications have helped. His angry outbursts are much less frequent and severe since starting Abilify.

    I really was only curious about the bi-polar because the pediatrician mentioned it one time. I wouldn't put him on medications for it without another npsych evaluation. In the last one she saw symptoms of depression but didn't mention bi-polar.

    But it sounds like the consensus is that its "normal" for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). I am not so worried about the anger, I know what that is, its the "you hate me, I hate me, I'm so dumb" stuff that bugs me.....
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    First I'd like to say that while jennd23's and Snowenne's descriptions of "meltdowns" do sound similar, I view them as VASTLY different.

    Snowenne in my opinion your situation sound very "typical" You wanted XYZ he wanted PDQ, you rule, he tantrums. Oh, a never ending battle it is. Choose them wisely, and look for ways to bargain, find his motivators on the not so important ones. Think outside the box because he does.

    This totally sounds like "mood swings" not necessarily Bipolar, though. How long has he been on these medications? Did he do this BEFORE the medications? If not, then that's where I'd g looking first. been there done that 2x now, and although very aware that medications could cause the problems, I still think it took me too long to notice the second time around.

    If he's always done that, then maybe the medications are just not working right and/or there is some sort of mood disorder going on. He's still young so it is tough to pin it down. DD1's psychiatrist keeps bringing up Bipolar, and she has "markers" for it, but just does not really fit "textbook" Now that we're weaning off Paxil, she still has the "markers" but the behaviors that would indicate looking for a BiPolar (BP) diagnosis are all going away (knock on wood, fingers crossed, salt over the shoulder.)
  6. Snowenne

    Snowenne New Member

    My son is definatly the typical aspergers case. Which does surprise me that it took 7 years to get the final diagnosis. However his anger is brutal right now and definatly I believe that getting him on something that will take that down is what we need. We are stuck really. Hes very defiant. You tell him the rules and he gets really upset. I try to explain to him that everyone has rules. Some rules we wont like but we need to follow it. He's a huge negiotiator. Everything we ask him to do turns into if I do that then I want this. Sometimes I will allow him to do it (if its something small) but when it comes to the important things he has to listen. Right now I am working on a book for him. One that will outline everything. Im going to laminate it so he cannot destroy it when hes in his moods lol. Next week back at the doctors. Hoping to get medicated.
  7. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    Kiesta, I agree. We DO experience the same angry "meltdowns" when he doesn't get his way, but I don't see that as a mood swing so much as a temper tantrum. These are different though.

    He has a done this for as long as I can remember, the medications have helped the ADHD and the anger but not this moodiness side of things. I totally understadn (well not totally, but you know) the anger of not getting his way and being told "no" and am working on that right now (just got the explosive child and am working through it). But this just feels "different". There ARE times when he's yelling angrily "you hate me!" but even that seems different.

    I will bring it up to his psychiatrist next time we are there. Thanks for the input, any additional thoughts are welcome :)
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    jenn23, yes, he does sound moody, but everything had a "root" or "reason" or "trigger," from what I read in your note.
    You asked him to move over and he did, but he had to adjust to it and got mad and didn't like your big butt :). (Remember, Aspies will blurt out what they see as the truth, and couldn't care less about hurting someone's feelings until they get much older. In my experience, their emotional/social learning curve is s-l-l-o-o-o-o-wwww. Like, maybe they'll "get it" when we're in our 90s.)
    You told him to stop throwing his clothes at the fan, and all he heard was stop having fun. Know what I mean?? Explosion! And these kids are great at catastrophizing.
    You didn't remind him about the seatbelt ... routine, routine, routine.
    Get the picture?
    Yes, you can give him medications to help his moods, but I would highly recommend lots of talk therapy and practice. Life is all about change and he's got to roll with-the punches.
    Many hugs.
  9. zba189

    zba189 Guest

    I replied to your other thread, but I thought I would add a few thoughts here as well. Let me preface this with the fact that I'm coming at this from the viewpoint of having a 7 year old who was diagnosed with early on-set bipolar just two months ago. I'm in no way saying that this is your son's issues at all. I only can tell you what I have seen with my own difficult child. I will also say that it is so hard to figure out what could be just part the initial disorder, what is something else that stands alone, and what is just typical kid behavior.

    One of the things that was stood out in your post to me wasn't the angry mood swings, but the way you describe him being happy. "He woke up, was in a great mood, laughing, being silly...". For me the depressive stuff, the angry stuff, was always easier to see than the manic stuff. In fact, at the beggining of finding out that we were dealing some pretty serious mental health stuff- our doctor gave me son Prozac. That was a nightmare within a few days, but I remember telling my husband that T seemed so happy the first few days. I even questioned if he was too happy saying, "well maybe this is what happy is like, it's been such a long time since he's been happy- maybe happy for him is giddy".

    When you're looking at mood swings- recognize that the happy stuff can be manic just a easy as the angry stuff can be depressive.
  10. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    And again, not knowing enough about it, some days he is out of control ADHD like, literally bouncing off the walls, talking non-stop, can't sit still, almost like his ADHD medications have no affect, but most of the time they work great so I really don't think that's the case....I've wondered lately if those might be "manic".

    I'm not diagnosing him myself just thinking about some things....
  11. keista

    keista New Member

    While I do see it Terry's way - they can be explained through Asperger's, to me they seemed like you said "different". If these "different" ones have always been around, then you've got even more detective work on your hands. It could easily be a "different" presentation of the same diagnosis - exactly as Terry viewed it. It could also be another diagnosis.

    Try keeping a journal of daily symptoms, explosions, meltdowns, "different" episodes, etc. You don't really need to detail things like in a diary, but enough so you can try to find a pattern and have decent notes when explaining to doctors. I've come up with my own codes and a legend in case I have to pass a copy on to someone at the spur of the moment. This helps with identifying possible patterns, and also helps you become more observant as to what may be going on inside his head. Also, try asking him if he can tell the difference between the "different" and 'regular' episodes. Try to find out if he knows what his "motivation" is for any kind of episode. My son was very self aware at an early age and although he didn't/doesn't always know what's going on in his own head, he does very often give great clues that I then piece together to figure out what's happening.

    I believe that if we show an Autistic child/person that we are trying to understand their world, they may "come out" and try to understand ours. I saw this first hand when my son was placed in Special Education for pre-k. He had no diagnosis at the time, and I had no concerns. His language was a bit lacking, but also advanced in many ways. I thought the kid was a genius (still do). So when I saw the class he was placed in, due to their concerns over language delays, I shook my head thinking this is not going to work - there were visibly autistic kids in the class, with verbal stims, and I told them if language is what they are going to help them with, they will fail because he will pick up the "language" of the other kids. Needless to say, a month into school, I got a note home saying that son was mocking the other kids. I saw RED! "I told you this would happen!"He was not mocking in any way shape or form, he was picking up their "language". Well, teacher was a first year, fresh out of school herself, and said we had to get him to stop because it was "upsetting" the other kids. So, I went in to observe. Then I asked teacher to set aside her own adult views and just OBSERVE. What we saw was my son "talking" to this other child, and in turn, this other child started to 'interact' with my son. It wasn't huge, it wasn't obvious, and 'interact' is in the quotes because it was 4yo side by side play, but this other child hadn't done that in the past. Teacher dropped the whole "mocking" thing.

    Point is, kids with ASDs see and experience things differently. If we can understand how they see things, or show that we are at least trying to, in my opinion they will be more wiling to try things our way.
  12. keista

    keista New Member

    I'll second chriscrosses thoughts on food dye. My kids are only slightly sensitive to it, but as a rule I avoid it. Rare occasions I do allow a "treat" because it's not a serious issue for us, but I notice removing the Red 40 especially helped calm our household.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    As I said on another thread, it can also be more than just artificial additives. They are one category of possible food sensitivity; there are others, more insidious but still possible to work out.

    On the tantrum angle - you would need to assess this method with your child in mind, but humour can help. As long as the child does not feel like HE is the one being laughed at. For example: kid throwing clothes at the fan. Parent says to stop. Kid then says, "You're mean, you never let me do anything that's fun!"
    Parent: So it's a fun game to throw clothes at the fan and risk them getting ripped to shreds? What are the rules of the game? When do you know if you've won? What would you tell people when they ask why your clothes are shredded? Can you imagine their reaction when you try to convince them it was the fan? There are much better games, a lot more fun and a lot less destructive to your image."

    It's a matter of changing the thought processes from obsessing and catastrophising over being told "no", to one of "what if" and following the possible outcomes to the weirdest conclusions. It can break the cycle of negative/obsessive thought patterns.

  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I like the journal idea, incl food issues, bedtimes, clothing tags, you-name-it. It will be time consuming but worth it. It will also be a bit difficult, because things that we don't see or feel are magnified to these kids, no matter what their diagnosis.
    Some days I still wonder if my son doesn't have both a mood disorder AND Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). But he keeps it under control so much more lately, I'm backing away from the mood disorder issue.
    Your son is so much younger ...
    Best of luck.
  15. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    Marg - I like that idea. The problem that I have (me, not him) is catching him before its too late, because once he's to the point of "leave me alone" humor won't help. I like to be silly with him and that does help. I recognize its my way of reacting that sets him off sometimes because if I had said "did you just throw that at my fan???" in a silly playful voice all would have been well, and we could have moved on with a "you know we don't do that!" (still playful) but you know how those moments go sometimes. I'm still learning, I'll admit it :)

    Terry, I do need to start a journal. I am at that point on TEC and just haven't done it yet. I need to get my booty in gear though.