Bipolar 1/ODD 16 year old - new member

Hi just want to introduce myself. I found this board the other day. It sounds like I would fit in here. My daughter was 14 when all the crap hit the fan. She started drinking, drugs, running away, has put us through hell in about 14 months. She is currently detained in juvenile detention for chasing me with a blow torch made of aerosol hairspray and torch lighter. She was arrested Nov 12 and we are hoping for court ordered Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Our insurance only pays 60 days a year and we have exhausted them for this year and she needs more than 60 days. So we are hoping for court ordered Residential Treatment Center (RTC) of about 6 months at least.

In the past year she has run away at least 5 times, each time she has no destination but ends up in the ghetto and worst areas and prostitutes, does meth, gets tattoos, etc. She even jumped off the roof in one of the instances about 13 feet and shattered both heels and was non weight bearing for 3 months in this past 14 months. She has been in out of state Residential Treatment Center (RTC) (San Marcos) and 2 visits to behavioral centers this past year.

Diagnosed bipolar 1, which I think is super accurate and ODD maybe. She was always difficult but never out of hand until about age 14. It hit us very fast and hard and made our heads spin. She is so up and down, but is currently on Lithium which is helping. She's tried Abilify and Risperdal. Abilify made her pace the house 12 hours a day, Risperdal made her lactate. She likes Lithium and it seems to help, but probably not enough.

Anyway, she probably won't be home for Christmas, last Christmas she was in a wheelchair so I knew she was safe. It sucks. But I am seeing where she is finally taking some responsibility for her actions. I hope it sticks. My biggest fear is when she is 18, I am hoping there is time while we still have some control to get her well. She is smart and I know she is capable of living a normal life with medications, therapy, etc. But she has to want it. If she continues on the destructive path I fear she will die or end up in prison.

No questions, but I appreciate being able to share my thoughts and story with everyone. It's nice to know I'm not alone. It's hard to understand mental illness. But in our case there are 2 other cases of bipolar on husbands side. So we feel it's genetic.
I also want to add that the court order psychologist said we may need to turn her over to the state to get what she needs. I hope that doesn't have to happen. It goes against everything I believe in. It sucks that mental health care for kids is so limited and parent would have to do that. I think if things would be done right in the first place we'd have more room in the jails. It seems like it costs the government money any way you slice it, so why not give parents more help without all the hurdles?


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It seems like it costs the government money any way you slice it, so why not give parents more help without all the hurdles?
If you ever find the answer to that one, would you please let the rest of us know?
Where I live (not the US), we don't even have the option of turning them over to the state. Our kids get whatever we can pay for, when it comes to mental health. (or at least services that actually work)

Bi-polar is a difficult diagnosis. You don't need the ODD diagnosis... that just tells you there's a behavior problem and that you are not insane for thinking so.

And... age 14 is a common point for teen girls to go off the rails if it's going to happen. Hormones + mental health issues = very bad mix!


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My daughter started pot at twelve, then moved on to almost everything.
If your daughter is doing things like meth, she is most probably acting crazy because of the drugs and not bipolar. We thoght our daughter had bipolar as well when she did drugs. She has been clean a long time and obviously does not have bipolar or any mental health disorder. Her drug abuse was the problem. You will not truly know what else is going on or if she has bipolar until she has been clean and sober of all drugs for at least a year. My daughter did it and she didn't even get treatment...she wouldn't. She did it herself. If my daughter did it, so can yours.

Get help coping for yourself and your husband. Go to Al-Anon. It kept us sane and gave us good ideas about what to do when it felt like we couldn't hold it together.

Keep the Faith :)
Thanks for the warm welcomes.

I realize the drugs affect her behavior. But they are secondary to the bipolar 1, she is pretty severe with her moods, from rage all the way down and her mania seems to hit for weeks once it's triggered but will cycle up and down in the matter of minutes, she gets very agitated and irritated and then will be the sweetest person on the earth.. It's like she's 2 different people and everyone that has talked to her from experts to her PO say that. The mania is affected by drugs for sure, but she has only done hard drugs for maybe 20 days out of the past 14 months (when she was on the streets on one of her runaway stints), meth particularly. Otherwise she was locked up either at home or in a hospital or treatment center most of last year. It all did start with pot and cigarettes, which brought her into a severely manic state, she is even sensitive to coffee and chocolate, any stimulant can set her off. When I say manic I say she is God and we are ants, she is superman and we are mortals. It's pretty severe and obvious to all the experts that have seen her and evaluated her. She isn't thinking strait at all when she is like that. Thus the fire torch to get me out of her way and once a shank on my neck (shank was made of paperclips), she had in her pocket because she was planning on running away.

Court went good, we got the deferral we were looking for. Next is a staff meeting to decide what to do with her. But in the meantime, she is reading the bible (psalms and proverbs) and is accepting her fate, realizing that she's been mad at God for giving her bipolar and that she can do good things rather than bad no matter what. So hopefully that sticks... I am hoping she's at the bottom of the barrel and is now getting some humility. I will go to see her on Saturday, hopefully the visit goes well, the past several have been good, but not great. Lithium has been on board for about 3 weeks and she seems to be a lot calmer. One visit she threw a chair against the wall and ended it and ended up restrained by guards and 24 hour cell confinement that was before lithium was started.


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I believe you, GUP. All I can hope is that she consents to treatment and that the medication calms her mania.

I'm glad you found us, but sorry that you had to.


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Welcome to the site. I'm glad you found your way here. Many of us found our way here in moments of desperation while searching the net -- to know you are not alone is powerful.

Again a warm welcome, you have found a caring community of warrior parents!