ADHD...throwing Bipolar in the mix

Hi all.....
My son is almost 13 yrs old.
He has previously been diagnosed with slight Aspergers.
We moved to new province, new psychiatrist feels its more ADHD, the spychologist is sure its Aspergers! Both think its not ODD and also not personality dysorder
He started throwing terrible aggressive tantrums, it last for hours...screeming, hitting stuff, swearing exct.
The one moment he will be fine and calm and then out of the blue become exstreamly aggitated, just to burst into tears later and become terribly depressed....but the thing is....its ussually if he cant get his way (almost always because of games he isnt allowed to play or techno...)
There isnt ANY pattern that we could pick up...but it ussually starts with becoming aggitated and then escalates.....this only happens at home
Now we're thinking of possible bipolar, starting Abilify tomorrow..he is using Zolift and Conserta at the moment.
My question is...did any of you had this experience before.....? Whats your thoughts on Abilify, any good?
Can bipolar be triggerd by events...?


Well-Known Member
My grandson started Abilify when his psychiatrist added Disruptive Moood Dysregulation Disorder to the ADHD/Anxiety diagnoses, which is a recent addition to the DSM to find a diagnostic place for kids that have bi-polar-like symptoms, but don't always mature into true bi-polar. It tries to define that "something else" that doesn't quite fit into other diagnoses. My grandson's problems are across every environment, not just home. Near constant irritability seems to be an identifying hallmark, but you need to go out and do some research. In any case, I'm not a label-seeker, but in the psychiatry world (and this is only my experience with my family), certain diagnoses open up other medication and treatment options. The Abilify has made grandson gain a good bit of weight, but he was so scrawny (years of stimulants and not wanting to eat? We don't really know) so we have the confounding variables of going off stimulants and going on Ability (generic aririprazole in our case) and Intuniv with several months of each other. All I know is he wants to eat all the time, where he never did before, even before stimulants. He has also grown much taller, too. I think it has helped his irritability, but that comes and goes, so hard to tell.

As to your other questions about bipolar being triggered by events, I'm sure someone else with experience will try and help you with that. And problems with Abilify seem to somewhat dose-dependent in my research. It's like so many medications: they affect different people differently.


Well-Known Member
thats the trouble with psychiatry. It is not an exact science and often ten different professionals can have ten different opinions. But none can prove it. They are all guessing.

There is proof coming out that it is nearly impossible to diagnose bipolar in children. I am no pdo, but think he sounds Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) with maybe other stuff.


Well-Known Member
Thats the trouble with psychiatry. It is not an exact science and often ten different professionals can have ten different opinions. But none can prove it. They are all guessing.

There is some evidence coming out that it is nearly impossible to diagnose bipolar in children. There has been no evidence that those diagnosed with bipolar have it as they get older.

I actually think he sounds Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) maybe with more. Of course, I'm just a mom.

I hope you find the answer soon. My son was wrongly diagnosed for a long time and put on heavy duty bipolar medications. He has autisim high functionong, not bipolar. I am not happy he was put on heavy duty bipolar medications. Read up on them so you can make an informed decision.

Good luck!


Crazy Cat Lady
Another thing is that if he has a mood disorder, or outright bipolar, the medications he is on will send him right off the rails.

Get a new neuropsychologist exam done.
Thanx all for this constructive feedback
Yes, I am also worried that his current medications can be causing some of the symptoms!!!! Or at least worsening it!
And we are also worried about possible weight gain....but lets start today and hold thumbs!!!


Well-Known Member
Bi-polar is, from what I understand, not triggered by specific events. It is a problem of cyclical brain chemicals. So, the real trigger is the brain chemicals being a certain way and then when something goes wrong, the reaction coming back doesn't match the situation.

Bi-polar DOES often show up with or shortly after puberty. Add in the hormones of puberty, and it's ugly. If you then also have to add a developmental difference such as ADHD or Asperger's...

Lets just say that it's not an easy road.

For the record. The difference between ADHD and Asperger's is "a line in the sand". Somebody had to define diagnostic cut-offs for each of the diagnoses. So there is an arbitrary minimum number of "problems" that have to exist to get an Asperger's diagnosis; the ADHD diagnosis has fewer, but does overlap. More recently, there is some recognition that the two diagnoses are on some level related. If you are on the borderline... you often need but don't get the higher-level diagnosis of Asperger's.

The biggest difference between a ADHD diagnosis and an Asperger's diagnosis is the resources available to you in both the medical and school systems. ADHD doesn't tend to get much.


My daughter is ADHD and had an initial diagnosis of disruptive mood disorder, and now they ate leaning more towards bipolar. She is on 50mg of seraquil. We ask about anti depresant for her depression and the psychiatrist said she is leary of it at that time because it could make mania and other symptoms worse. She was never a big problem until 13 and that's whenough she became aggressive and would flip mood switches like nobodies business and also began getting in trouble in school. We did see symptoms from a young age but she was manageable until around age 13.

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Welcome Sunshineaftertherain! Love your username! It's always good to get a second opinion. Our son was diagnosed early as ADHD (age 3) and Bipolar (age 6). His diagnosis fit and until we found the right medications life was very difficult. It took us until 7th grade to find the right medication combo. Of course, I was concerned about the medications he trialed but for him without it, he couldn't function.

Abilify didn't work for him but people react differently to different medications.

We did get a second opinion and they agreed with the bipolar diagnosis. It was a long road of trialing different medications, including 6 hospital stays but now he is truly a different kid (he is 19).

Is he also receiving counseling? We did for our son and for years we thought it wasn't helping but in the end we saw it helped a lot.

Also, if he is bipolar, then the Zoloft might not be a great medication until he is more stable. Anti-depressants can make a bipolar kiddo manic.


Crazy Cat Lady
Speaking as one "on the inside". (I have Bipolar), I wasn't able to take antidepressants at all until I was fairly stable on medications for the bipolar. Even then, the one antidepressant I've found that works, and that I can tolerate, is citalopram (Celexa). The others that I've tried send me right up the nearest wall.

I also have ADHD and it was attempted early on, to medicate me for that. (Despite my telling my psychiatrist at the time that I had tried "speed" in the 70s and reacted very unpleasantly to it.)

She RXed Ritalin. I took ONE dose and the only thing that kept me from jumping in front of a bus was not wanting to scar the bus driver and passengers for life, and the knowledge that the Ritalin would wear off in a few hours.

After that, I refused to take stims. So, psychiatrist tried Strattera, went sent me into one of the most irritable, hypomanic states I've ever been in.

I just live with the ADHD and concurrent lousy executive functioning. I write notes to myself. I use a organizer app, and most of the time I'm where I'm supposed to be when I'm supposed to be there, the cat is medicated when he should be, bills get paid on time, car get maintained on schedule.

I have good computer skills, and I've kludged together quite the Rube Goldberg-ian system to make all this work.


Ritalin caused my daughter to have tics so we did non stimulant and it sent her anger thru the roof. For ADHD she takes focalin xr 10mg and it works for her along with her seraquil.


Crazy Cat Lady
I didn't have tics ( have had them from antipsychotics) from Ritalin, it just made me horribly depressed, angry, and homicidal, which if you knew me, you would know is so out of character as to be ludicrous.