Bi Polar?? I am so confused


New Member
Many years ago I posted about my son. Things have changed and he has evolved...into a person I don't recognize anymore. I went thru a VERY difficult divorce and have since tried to manage on my own with- a child who is out of control. difficult child is on many medications (Abilify, Zoloft and Focalin) but things just aren't going well. He is in Special Education. clases, we have a plan in motion to move him back to regular classes. Here's the problem. He is having terrible outburts (scremas, throws things, spits at teacher, hits other kids). I attributed this to the increased Concerta (17 up to 28mg) because he REALLY went balistic shortly after increasing this. He was taken off that and put back on Focalin but at a higher dose than before. Yesterday (due to more outburts and thinking his mood swings were due to his low dose of Abilify) we increased his Abilify to add in the am as well. This child has been paddled twice now by the school, due to his erratic, hostile behaviour. There are times that I can't control him or settle him AT ALL when he is in one of those fits. I am at a loss as to what to do. Psychologist changed his medications and is supportive to change but I am so about to just give up. I am a single mom and get no support from my ex and I can only handle so much. Am I rambling? Guess so. Anyways, whats the take on this mood swing problem? ANYONE out there can get back to me as I feel there is no hope right very tired of this. Thanks for any words that come my way.


Active Member
Hi Gennard....
Oh goodness....I am so sorry. I can definitely relate - my son was out of control at that age as well, and being solo there were times I thought I could not make it as well - but obviously I did, and you will too!

I guess my main advice would be that his medications need to really be looked at, and possibly a hospitalization would be in order to help with that. I found that any anti depressant, and any stimulant like Concerta made my son unbelievably moody - at times so much that he was suicidal. Abilify was also horrible for my son....although it is supposed to be a mood stabilizer, it made his bipolar worse, especially his sleeplessness - and as most doctors will tell you it does have a stimulant in it. Your son is basically on 3 medications that all can increase mania - and if he does have bipolar, then this could be a big problem!

So I would suggest talking to your Dr and insisting that he do a total wash of medications and starting over - steering clear of anti depressants or stimulants.
Good luck - you will make it, and your son will get better - you are just in the valley right now but soon you will see the light.

Sara PA

New Member
The behaviors you discribe can be psychiatric adverse reactions to the antidepressant Zoloft. Funny you should mention bipolar because antidepressants can cause a form of bipolar disorder. Further, long term daily use of stimulants can cause depression. No dose of Ablity will control the behaviors caused by an adverse reaction to another medication.


New Member
Hi there,

Just adding my welcome, too.

Do you have an actual diagnosis of Bipolar for your difficult child, or is that something you and the psychiatrist are working on?

I can only tell you from my experience with my Bipolar son, NONE, and I mean NONE, of the stimulants for ADHD ever worked for him, and only made him worse.

I know nothing about the Zoloft.

I can tell you the Abilify has been great for calming Dylan down, but hasn't done much else.

The only thing that really took care of the aggression/rages/out of control behaviors was a mood stabilizer (Lithium).

I hope you're able to find the wonderful support here I have.



Going Green
You've gotten some good advice on the medications......more than I would be able to contribute so I won't comment on that.

But......I wasn't aware that schools still paddle?????

Hope the medications can get straightened out soon and he stabilizes more. Hang in there.


Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful

I gotta agree with Sara. You might want to see if the zoloft is causing some of his problems. Or it could just be the Abilify just isn't the mood stabilizer for him and something else needs to be tried.

A new evaluation may be in order for difficult child. Has he ever been evaled by a neuropsychologist? Who gave difficult child his dxes? With the mood swings has he ever been assessed for bipolar disorder?

As for the paddling in school.... I didn't know schools could get away with that anymore. Do you have an IEP in place for him at school? If not, you want to get that process started ASAP.


It's tough when our little one's are out of control.


New Member
We have been going through much of what you describe. Maybe another evaluation is due? If you don't have an IEP in place, it would be a great thing to do. I didn't think schools were allowed to hit kids anymore!!! That is something I would report to the district. Maybe a medication change would help. If it is thought that he has bipolar, maybe a mood stabilizer would work better than just an anti psychotic.

Are there support groups or services you can get where you live? I found a great class through NAMI. Maybe you could look at the NAMI in your area for suggestions about support and help.

Hang in there and take care of yourself too!


New Member
difficult child has an IEP in place. The paddling has only occured at the two most horrible outburts, however, the Asst. Principal and I have concluded that if it's a chemical imbalance, than this kind of "corporal punishment" has no place in the agenda (seeing as some of this we know is controlable/noncontrolable behaviour). I do not necessary agree with- the punishment, but we are trying to figure out the best punishment for this while at the same time not condoning his actions yet punishing him for ones he's not in control of. Whew....this is hard.

As far as medications, we have made recent changes so we are still working on this. difficult child HAS NOT been diagnosed with- Bi polar, it's just been a long standing thought and it is the only thing that seems to make sense. I didn't know about the adverse reaction with- Zoloft(will check with- psychiatric)only when Concerta was increased did I see a connection and tried to correct it. That being said, I have created another problem it seems. I will speak to psychiatric about the Bipolar questions, this raises alot of concerns for me as it seems that the "connections" are very ramdom and when I try to right one thing, another goes wrong. I will check on a Neuropsychologist too, so many little time. Keep the comments coming please...I am thankful for the advice and feel not so alone. I have questioned my sanity, thought of giving up partial custody (boy that would be a mistake with- ex considering his past) and all but wanted to run away I shall take the advice and keep moving in any direction but backwards!


FWIW, my son had a prolonged intense manic reaction to Zoloft. He was angry, aggressive, depressed and barely resembled the child we knew and loved. Even when we pulled him off it (after only 3 weeks), it took months for him to recover. He is doing much better now on mood stabilizers.


Well-Known Member
If he was like this before the Zoloft and Concerta combo, a very bad one, in my opinion, he likely has a mood disorder, possibly bipolar. I'd want him re-evaluated before he turns 18. Those medications won't do squat for him, and are probably making him worse, if he has any hint of bipolar. The family tree is "iffy." The father has red flags for bipolar. I'd see an Adolescent psyciatrist, like, yesterday. Uncontrollable rage and outbursts are typical with bipolar (I have it), unless they started after the medication combination. Then I'd be suspicious of the medications. It sounds way beyond ADHD. Do you think he may be dabbling in recreational drugs or heavy drinking? That can make psychiatric disorders worse and mess with the medications, but I really am not liking a stimulant AND an antidepressant. The Abilify can't hold the stimulating power of those medications. I took Zoloft once and ended up in the hospital. It's potent, but not in a good way for everybody. Why is a psycologist medicating him and not a Psychiatrist (the MD?) I wouldn't like that either. Hugs and take care!

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I'm sorry things are such a struggle right now. You have received some good suggestions. I know you are a single mom-do you get any respite at all? You need to be sure to take cared of yourself too even if it's finding time to take a hot bath after he is asleep. Hugs to you.


New Member
OOPS...difficult child is being seen by a pediatrician far as recreational activity, that is a nonissue. I guess I am confused..wouldn't this MD know that these drug combos are't good together? Unless he hasn't made the Bipolar connection (or whatever it may be). difficult child has been seeing MD for about a year so he has alot of missing pieces.

To answer wiped outs question..I do get a little help.. LOL (every other Thur-Sun. and every other Thur. with- the ex. nothing more from him). However, the ex has had his own issues of mood swings and anger management, and flatly denies any problem. It took him years to agree and acknowledge difficult child's problems. It's made worse, of course, when he has visitation and when they talk on the phone , they are like a wrestling match. My mother has tried to visit every few week but he has pushed her to her limits so I am running out of people that can be abused (insert laugh as I am tired of crying). I feel like I am just being a crybaby, but I am really stressed. No time to have a pity party cause theres work to be done!


Well-Known Member
Unfortunately, if Psychiatrist has misdiagnosed it (and it happens a lot) then he wouldn't know. I learned the hard way--I got the wrong medications (I'm bipolar II) and my son was also misdiagnosed and put on a slew of wrong medications. We want to think the doctors know, but not all doctors are equally skilled. If it were me, I'd get another opinion. Of course, it's totally your call. That's just what I'd do. I've learned not to put all my faith in doctors. Some aren't as good as others, especially in something as subjective as a mental health disorder. When my kid didn't improve, I started to doubt the diagnosis and went for other opinions and we FINALLY got it right. In your case, you don't have a lot of time. I really help things work out!


Gennard, some psychiatrists -- and I can't speak about yours -- are clueless about adverse reactions to antidepressants. My daughter (difficult child 2) was on Paxil for anxiety/depression and began to experience strange disinhibited and aggressive episodes. We kept reporting these weird episodes to the psychiatrist and he kept upping the dose. When my daughter became practically psychotic, we knew we needed to switch her to a more knowledgeable psychiatrist. The new psychiatrist immediately weaned my daughter from Paxil because she knew it was causing the strange reaction. Like my son, my daughter is now doing better on a mood stabilizer.


Well-Known Member
So sorry to hear that.
I agree that his medications need to be changed and worked out.

"But......I wasn't aware that schools still paddle?????"

I agree. What kind of school is that? This caught my attention particularly since I just finished reading Greene's book, The Explosive Child. Paddling won't work in these instances, especially since your tagline reads that he's got sensory integration issues.

Aren't they looking for triggers? What triggered these outbursts? What happened immediately after he was paddled? Did he freak out more? Cry? Calm down?

Wish I could offer more.


New Member
I will call psychiatrist and have difficult child weaned from Zoloft. He has always had outburts present, and this psychiatric is fairly new at seeing him. He has been going off diagnosis from reports from other psychs and DR and so forth. He is well know in my city though and thought highly off. One problem, there are not alot of him around here and what is left is not covered by my EX's insurance. I have tried calling clinics and outpatient facilities as well..there just isn't much help where I live. difficult child from god usually gets started after a simple "No" or if he has to wait to do something he really wanted to do. He then spirals out of control reaching a point of no return before coming back down. After this he is usually calm and collected and feels "sorry" for his bahaviour. The Asst. Principal and I have agreed the paddling isn't effective, we were just trying to find something that would catch his attention, remind him of his beahviour, however if it's more of a medications problem it clearly is not in his control. I have along day ahead of me. Waiting on another phone call from school and he's ben moved to a new after school program hoping the enviroment is more suitable and flexible than the last. I have missed so much work though and on a single income (take family leave for migraines too) this is really making the stress factor high. So, wish me luck today everyone, another round is coming and I am trying to keep my feet firmy planted and ready.


New Member
Is your child being seen by a child psychiatrist with the MD? This makes such a difference. All of the medications he is on could cause raging if he is bipolar. Zoloft kept my difficult child awake, all fo the stims also and he had a bad reaction to the Abilify so he wasn't on it long enough to tell what it would do. I would also recommend The Bipolar Child 3rd edition by Demitri and Janice Papolos. They have done extensive research on early onset bipolar disorder.Arm yourself with information. It;s the only way you can advocate for your son. As for the paddling , I believe it's illegal in PA, but on top of that, if your son is BiPolar (BP), it will only escalate him. At least that is what happens with our son. Plus aren't you trying to teach him to NOT be violent?


Well-Known Member
You have received a ton of good info so I wont repeat it. I do want to speak to the spanking issue.

She lives in the south. I do too.

Down here they still paddle in the schools. May not be the most popular idea but its done. All the schools my kids have gone to had a wooden paddle in the principals office. God forbid I hit my kid with a stick but the schools could. I dont agree with this idea at all. I always told them that I gave birth to them and I should be the only one allowed to spank them because I at least loved them. That didnt stop them.

I think two of mine...maybe all three got paddled at least once. Cory was many times.