Almost 4 year old out of control & Risperdal questions

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by amandaf, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. amandaf

    amandaf New Member

    We adopted my son at birth - took him home from the hospital. Although he tested clear for drugs/alcohol at the hospital, we do believe his birthmom drank during her pregnancy (her car was filled with liquor bottles).

    He was a colicy baby & has always been an extreemly difficult child to raise (starting at 18 months when the tantrums begin, like any other child, but his have always been worse).

    He's been in different therapies & sees a developmental pediatrician & a behavioral therapist currently. They have diagnosed him ADHD & Anxiety.

    He can be a great, sweet child, whom I enjoy raising. That will last from a few days to a few months. And then he becomes seemingly possesed by a demon. I actually took him to a nutritionist a few weeks ago and, after seeing how he behaved, the doctor "jokingly" pretended to cast a demon out of him.

    When he's in one of his "possesed" phases (which can last anywhere from 1 week to a few months... right now we're at about 4 weeks of hell) it's an absolutle nightmare to be in this house. Everything we ask him to do (or tell him to stop doing) turns into WWIII. Bedtimes are always the worst, and turn into a 2-3 hour attempt to break his door in half, destroy anything left in his room (all of his toys have been taken out), bang on the window, kick the walls, scream at the top of his lungs, tell us he's moving out, etc. There is NOTHING you can do (short of giving him his way, which we don't do) to calm him down.

    We've tried everything you can think of dicipline wise, and nothing works. My last attempt was to not just take toys away, but THROW them away. After threatening to do that, he took his toy & threw it in the trash. And gave me the "take that" look. His attitude is HORRIBLE. He behaves fine & school & for others (my parents, etc) but not at home, or in public with my husband & I.

    I have tried all of the diet changes, none of which have given us any relief. The behavior therpist doesn't get how awful it is because he, or course, is decent when he's there.

    I am completely at my wits end. My husband called our behavioral therapist yesterday to tell her what is going on & she prescribed Risperital (sp?). I am reading about it online & it's freaking me out a little. He's currently on Tenex & I do think that has helped his anxiety to some extent (he couldn't handle being around other people, couldn't go to school without a huge meltdown, etc before the Tenex). If anyone has had their child on Risperital, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I can't talk to friends or family about this because they either don't understand how awful it is and say "oh yah, my kid does that too" or they think it's somehow a parenting issue (which, trust me, I carry enough guilt that this is somehow my fault). I am absolutley miserable in my own house & although I love him, sometimes I don't like him one bit & wish he was out of this house. No one can understand that feeling unless they have a child like this, and I know no one like that.... which is why I'm here. I'm desprite for support & advice from others who know what I'm talking about because they've walked through it
  2. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Welcome amandaf!

    If you read all the information an any one of the medications that are prescribed nowadays you'd freak. Saying that, risperdal was the one medication the helped my difficult child wm slow down & settle enough to find a way to manage/control himself; his impulses. Like you, I freaked when I researched this medication however we had little choice as wm was abusive & destructive.

    Only when medication was on board & "slowed" wm down were we able to utilize therapy, consequences & anything else wm needed. Before that time his thinking was too distorted & he wasn't able to maintain behaviors for more than 10 minutes. A stimulant made things worse.

    Your little one will likely be thru many diagnosis's; many medications before all is said & done. All of our children react differently to these medications. Honey, this is cr@p shoot time. It will get better, I promise.
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Hi there!

    Risperdal worked really well for Onyxx, when she would take it (she liked to "cheek" her medications, pretend to be compliant).

    Trust me... Even the vitamins I take have possible side effects. As Linda said, it's a cr@pshoot. Really. So many different things... So many different people... This is why there are so many different medications. For instance, my Mom did great on Wellbutrin. Me? Oh, no, no, no, no! I didn't even want to be around myself.

    So... It's worth a try!

    One thing grabbed me, though... He says he's moving out at 3+ years old? How do you not laugh?

    I know the feeling of loving your child, and not liking him at all. Wanting him GONE so you can get some peace... But terribly afraid of what could happen to him.

    Hugs... Welcome...
  4. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    by the way, wm was put on risperdal at the age of 6 ~ has been on it 10 years now.

    I truly understand the feeling "I want this kid outta here". Your feelings of desperation are well understood. Saying that, please please please find sometime to yourself. A time when you can recharge & regroup.

    When my tweedles were placed with husband & myself we thought we'd lose our minds. kt had a 6 month honeymoon - wm didn't honeymoon at all. The day we met he kicked out a door lock in our new car. Knowing that now, husband & I should have left town as fast as we could & not looked back. amada, we were in over our heads.

    Look at the bio history of mental/emotional issues if you can get your hands on that information. Are there addition/mental/emotional issues further back than bio mom? Grandparents on both sides are a good place to look.

    I'm sure you've had behavior charts & the like & reward systems. At this point I'd work on stability before you attempt those interventions. There is no way your difficult child will learn unless/until he's stable. As much as possible give your difficult child choices only you can live with - only 2. Cereal or toast for breakfast. Bath or shower. Yellow or red shirt. I gave my difficult children many cues when it came/comes time to switch from one thing to another. I set the timer for 10 minutes & reminded kt & wm a few times during that period it was soon time to.....pick up toys, help with dishes, start bedtime ritual.

    This gave, especially wm, clear concise choices for his muddled thinking. When wm couldn't decide I took it off his shoulders but let him know that he gave up his time to choose so couldn't get angry with me. I think, for the tweedles, it was a relief to limit things & ultimately decide when each of them was so very unstable.

    Good luck & please keep us updated.
  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! There is a book I have seen recommended here before called The Primal Scream about adopted kids and the natural progressions that can happen even if they were never with their biological parents.

    Is he attached to you? Normal enjoyable hugs, looks you in the eye, sits on your lap?
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, hon. Welcome to our safe haven. I have four adopted children, one adopted from a birthmother who drank and abused drugs. He's seventeen now and doing better than we ever expected.

    Obviously your son's birthmother drank, so... have you taken him in to see a neuropsychologist or developmental pediatrician? He could have some damage due to her alcohol use during pregnancy and that doesn't respond well to normal discipline, behavioral therapy, or many medications.Do you have a good psychiatric history on both of his birth parents? If so, you may have some idea of what he inherited.

    Most of our kids do not do well with behavioral therapy. Our k ids are wired differently and often act up worse when we try to implement the methods that the therapists suggest (often with therapists blaming us for not doing it right...yeah, sure). in my opinion the first thing you should do is have him closely evaluated by a neuropsychologist (they do up to ten hours of intensive testing) to see if alcohol has caused any damage or if it is something else. Did she use drugs?

    After the neuropsychologist evaluation, then you can make more informed decisions on the best way to handle him as well as the psychiatrist having a better idea of what types of medications may help him. He may also benefit from Early Childhood son that we adopted at two started Early Education at three. Before that he'd been in Occupational Therapist (OT), PT, and social skills through the county and it helped him.

    Did your child have any delays? How does he do with his same age peers? How is his eye contact with strangers? Do transitions set him off? You mentioned he is stressed being around other people. That reminds me of my son.That's even hard for him now. He is on the autism spectrum, which is common in kids whose birthmothers used drugs and drank (hey, it's better than fetal alcohol syndrome/effects!). I would definitely be thinking about autistic spectrum disorder. Not saying he has it, but he has red flags.

    We are here for you.
  7. amandaf

    amandaf New Member

    Thank you all for your replies... Going to try to answer your questions...

    MidwestMom -
    We haven't taken him to a neuropsychologist - We are going to see his behavioral therapist on Tuesday, so I'll be sure to ask her for a referal for that. He does see a developmental pediatrician - Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly does a neuropsychologist do? Would they literally be able to scan his brain to check for damage? As far as the bio-parents psychiatric history... we don't have much of anything. Birthmom says her grandma was "crazy" but when asked if that ment diagnosed illness, she didn't know, just that she was nuts. That's the only bit of info we have there. Biomoms side is pretty rocky (she had 4 kids within 4 years... has no relationship with her mother... can't keep a job... etc.) so I'm sure there are more things going on there that haven't ever been checked out medically. As far as I know she did not do drugs, but that's only going by her word. But, by her word, she also didn't drink sooo.... who knows. His speach was always delayed & he has received early intervention speach therapy and is now in a pre-school receiving more speach help. He has been on Tenex for his anxiety for about 5 months... Before the Tenex, he pretty much couldn't play with peers at all. Prefered adults over kids for sure. Had odd reactions to getting scared when people (even my parents) would come to our house, and had HORRIBLE meltdowns when he had to go to preschool. Thankfully, he started Tenex & preschool at the same time, so those only lasted a few weeks until the Tenex kicked in. His eye contact is pretty good... He also has been diagnosed with ADHD, so the jumping around with his eyes that he does do, I write off as part of that. The times we've met with the developmental pediatrician & behavioral therapist, they have "rulled out" autism, and diagnosed anxiety & adhd, but I'm learning that doesn't really mean anything as his diagnosis could change over the years as he gets older, so who knows there. Definietly the things that have been suggested, dicipline wise, during behavioral therapy do NOT work for him (like, set him on a chair in the kitchen for a time out... Um, he would pick up the chair & throw it across the room. Yeah right.)

    Busywend - I will have to look into that book - Thanks. Attachment wise, I think he's always been fine.. no concerns. He definielty can cuddle, loves to hug, says I love you, etc. Now, over the last month since he has becoming seemingly demon-possesed, none of those things have really been happening (quite the opposite with his newly aquired desire to move out apparently).

    Timer Lady - As mentioned above here, we just know that birthmoms grandma was 'crazy' but no idea what that actually means. I'm SURE there are some issues there, based on my experiences with birthmom, but no idea what those are & I'm sure nothing has ever been diagnosed. I definielty do the "2-options" rule, but sometimes it goes haywire... Like this morning for instance, I gave him that same breakfast option that you mentioned... He chose toast. I put the bread in the toaster & then get out the jelly.... He goes nuts. Now he doesn't want toast. Too bad, so sad... You said you wanted it, here you go. 20 minutes of screaming later, he finally eats the toast. So exhausting.

    StepTo2 - Oh yes, I've definitley chuckled at the moving out thing.

    Thank you all for your helpful responses !!
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    They ruled out autism on my son too, but that's what he has. Your child sounds a bit extreme for ADHD and anxiety with people is very Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). I'll bet you revisit that diagnosis in the future. If I were you, I'd get another opinion. And help in early education. JMO
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    He does sound like a handful. I have to chuckle at the moving out thing because I was famous for running away at very early ages. I know I started running away before first grade.

    Your little one sounds a lot like my middle granddaughter though a bit rougher. My 3 and a half year old granddaughter can be a holy terror too. Watch out if she doesnt get her way. I know in my gut something is brewing.

    My son tried risperdal once long ago but it didnt work well for him but he has been on cousins of it over the years and they have worked well. I know lots of other kids on this board who have taken that medication with great results. Honestly if you looked up the adverse reactions to aspirin or tylenol you would be scared to death to take them too. Working with these kids is more of an art than pure science. Nothing is ever black and white. As of right now there is no blood test that can be done to tell us exactly which medication will fix what but that is going to come down the line...probably in your sons lifetime. Maybe not mine, but his. That is such good news! Im hoping I live to see the day they can take my blood and say "oh, you need more xxx and you will be all better!"

    I know it really feels like you are in a blender right now with a wild child. I remember those days only too well. Now Im sitting here listening to that wild child in his bedroom at 24 years of age. They do grow up.
  10. amandaf

    amandaf New Member

    What kind of early education help do you mean (besides what he's already getting)?
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Your school district should have a program for children with special needs. It REALLY helped my son. Call them! :)
  12. amandaf

    amandaf New Member

    Yeah, that's what he's already in :) 4 days a week for 4 hours a day
  13. Good luck, lady. Good docs can really help. Finding the right medications is not easy. Risperdal was a nightmare in our house but works great for some folks. If it weren't for Lamictal, I can't even imagine where we'd be right now. Jeez, it seemed like my son could rage forever, throwing his stuff against the wall etc. My bonus, though, was knowing that the kid took after me, because I was the same way. Anyway, you found a good place here and lots of people to give advice.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My won sent every day for a half day to an Early Education class. His ability to speak clearly and well improved as well as his frustration levels and tantrums kind of toned down A LOT. At the time, they wouldn't diagnose him with autistic spectrum disorder yet, so they just called him cognitively delayed not otherwise specified. He also had a diagnosis of ADHD/ODD (although, in the end, we know now that was not the problem);. Intensive early education really helped his life. He had an IEP (individual education plan) and needed one almost all through school. But the payoff is, he didn't need those services too often in high school. Better to be safe than sorry in my opinion.
  15. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    We started our son on Risperdal in December, just before Christmas actually, and the difference in him has been amazing!! Like you, I read about the drug before we started it and I was also freaked out about giving it to him. The only thing I can say is to try it and see how he does on it. If you see no difference, or if he gets worse on it, you can wean him off of it. While our son still has LOTS of difficult child moments, they are much less sever than they used to be and it's much easier to calm him down and get him to see other solutions other than the one that he has in his head. So far for us, it's been an amazing turn around. Like I said he still has him moments, but it's easier to deal with because he is easier to deal with.

    Good luck.

  16. Miss Crissy

    Miss Crissy New Member

    So thankful I found your post.
    You're not alone.....was feeling as if I were the only one
    The judgement from others seems worse than the home destruction of my 4 year old.
    I worry about my other children bc of his rage.
    This medication has helped us as a family. Helping him helped my other 3 children from also having to cope with his "outbursts "
    Praying he won't need this in the future.
    A work in progress.
  17. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Miss Crissy. I'm glad this old thread touched you and made you feel understood. My friends timer lady and Dammit Janet aren't posting anymore. Somewhere Out There is still here. You may get more responses if you start a new thread (discussion) using the blue button at the top of the General Parenting page. I'm really glad the risperdal helped your son.
  18. Janette Romano

    Janette Romano New Member

    Hi, Risperdal is a very strong drug but I'm really glad your son is doing better now compared to how he was before. I hope you keep us updated as we'd love to hear how it goes. We're here for you :)
  19. My son started taking Risperdal when he was three years old and it did help him quite a bit. After several years his pro-lactin levels (the hormones involved with breast development and milk production) went sky high so the doctors took him off Risperdal. He was going through other medication changes as well and it was really a hellish time. He has been on Seroquel for several years now-does not work as well as the Risperdal did in my opinion.
  20. By HIS Grace

    By HIS Grace New Member

    Hi All, I realize I'm waayyy late joining this post, but am sure glad (relieved actually) to have found ya'll. My name is Desiree, married with 2 children, both adopted from same bio couple. Our daughter just turned 4 and our son just turned 2. Our daughter, L is why I am here writing today. I can sooo relate to each of you above.

    I try to be brief. L began showing some dev. delays around 2-2 1/2. Began speech tx and Occupational Therapist (OT) at age 3. Mild tantruming, we mostly thought "age related" right? The closer she got to 4, the worse she got and the more apparent it became that she was very different from her peers. Sought advisement and care from pediatric neuro also. Ruled out autism as L was "very social" and adapted readily with "imaginative play." No real diagnosis yet except sensory processing issues for sure, possible ADHD down the road, and most definitely behavioral issues.

    pediatrician. neuro connected us with a child psychologist in the same building for assessment and Tx. Luckily, she discovered that we had already been incorporating a lot of what she would recommend, but I had to laugh when she pulls out a chart for us to put stickers on to motivate L. L could care less about stickers and such. Boring. No behavior mods work when your child is pinging (my term) all over the place and can go from happy to nuclear meltdown quicker than you can say, " Did you remember to wash your hands?" The meltdown over toast and jelly really hit home. Been there. :cautious:

    Social anxiety seems apparent. L gets very easily overwhelmed and sadly goes into panic mode. L graduated PreK-3 from our laps. :(There is certainly a difference between "I'm tantrumming because I don't want to wear those socks" vs. "There is too much noise, too many people/kids and I'm freaking out" Luckily, my husband and I can tell the difference and provide comfort and tight hugs or we walk away and say, "When you are ready to put on your socks and join us, we'll be in the living room." :whistling:

    So we began .05 Clonidine twice a day and for the first week and a half, we were amazed. L was calm, focused, a little drowsy, but tolerated well. She actually could slow down long enough to feel hungry and even tell us that she was hungry aaannnd tell us what she wanted to eat. Decreased impulsivity and many other great things came out of this medication without us losing the L we know and love.

    The panic, the mood swings, the overreacting, the meltdowns, the tantrumming at a moments notice (always in a restaurant for sure, oh and at the grocery store too) Don't get me started on the rude staring adults who shake their heads and glare with muffled comments like they've never seen a child meltdown. This is all still a significant part of our day to day life. L seemed miserable and in turmoil. So we went back to see pediatrician neuro after a month on Clonidine today and she added Risperdal. Fingers crossed, we will start it tonight and will keep you posted. Hopefully, I can help another mom or care giver feel less alone reading about you dear ladies' heartfelt struggles and triumphs have helped me. God Bless!:)