Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by hannah, May 22, 2008.

  1. hannah

    hannah New Member

    Have a 15 year old daughter. Diagnosed years ago with ODD, ADHD and depression. Currently on no medications (tried ADHD medications years ago but couldn't take them). Now some docs say she is bipolar while others do not. She has a lot of anger and years of therapy have not pinpointed the cause of the anger. She can control it while at school but lets loose once home. Self esteem is very low and very few friends (can't keep friends). Recently overdosed on OTC medication ( 5 pills) and put in rehab for several days on suicide watch. No history of abuse or substance abuse. I guess my question is how is one positive of a bipolar diagnosis if there is disagreement on the diagnosis. I saw a neurologist on Good Morning America this week who is actually running brain scans etc on people with autism, ADHD etc with wonderful results and giving proper treatment for specific diagnosis (many have been misdiagnosed). Unfortunately he is in CA and I am on the East coast. I want treatment for my child, but not treatment for the wrong thing (that could be devastating). Does anyone know of a neurologist that does this kind of testing in the North East US? Any help and suggestions would be appreciated.
  2. I am sorry you are going through all of this. The scans you are talking about are pretty newly being used by some psychiatrists. There is quite a bit of the psychiatric community who do not believe in their use. My difficult child's psychiatrist is one who does - he is the only one in our area. He uses them when things go against what should be the norm. My difficult child had a scan done in March and it showed bipolar and signs of ADD. These tests confirmed what I had been suspecting for awhile. Sorry I can't help you with a doctor since I live in Las Vegas, but I wish you luck. You might contact your local psychiatric hospital and ask them if any of their docs do these. Just a thought.

  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Hannah, welcome. I'm glad you found us.

    The scans you mention are controversial. Many in the psychiatric field believe more research needs to be done before they can be used to give definitive diagnoses.

    Unfortunately, there are no medical tests to pinpoint whether your daughter has bipolar or not. Your best chance at a an accurate diagnosis is to find a well-respected and competent child/adolescent psychiatrist who has experience with treating mood disorders. You should also consider having your daughter undergo neuropsychological testing to explore the whole range of childhood disorders because the symptoms can overlap and make the diagnostic picture muddy. Neuropsychologists can be found at children's and university teaching hospitals.

    What kind of doctor is currently treating her?
    What medications did she have bad reactions to and what were the reactions?
    Any mental health issues or substance abuse in the family tree?
    Any speech or developmental delays?
    Any sensory issues?

    Again, welcome.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. As one with bipolar, I can tell you no scans exist that prove you have ADHD, autism or anything else. They are not only extremely controversial--but few believe in them. If there were truly a way to diagnose those disorders by a simple test, everyone would use them and save themselves and the patients a lot of time. There is no way to know for sure what your child is facing...often disorders overlap. in my opinion the best evaluators are NeuroPsychs--they spend hours testing and don't promise hocus-pocus answers--there are none. Suicidal ideation is a red flag for bipolar disorder--I wouldn't rule it out. Autism is a completely different disorder, a neurological one. Sometimes the behavior is similar, but the cause is completely different and only 50% of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) childreln and adults are on medication. If you are seeing your child with suicidal thinking, well, I was told many times that ADHD alone doesn't cause that--you're likely wading more into mood disorder territory.
    You can take the SPECT test if you want to, of course, but it isn't a very well-respected device and I don't know if it's covered by insurance--it's costly. My own opinion is that it's a quick way for a doctor to make money with absolutely no proof that it has any validity. Of course, I'm a mom (and somebody who has suffered neurological symptoms and mood disorders all my life). I'm not a doctor, but the many I've seen really think it's nonsense...good luck.
  5. hannah

    hannah New Member

    Thanks Smallwonder. There is no mental illness or substance abuse in the family on either side, but her grandfather has tics and there is early onset parkinsons disease in the family, also, I have autoimmune thyroid disease (which I hear they are studying for links to mood disorders). All of these things have specific connections with brain chemistry so I believe this is a possible link to her problems. She had no speech problems. We had her tested by a psychiatrist about 5 years ago (2-3 days of various testing, mostly computer based ADHD tests, some IQ tests, other tests that I don't recall right now and then of course the pages of questions that the parents answer about behavior etc.). No real neurological testing by a neurologist. That's why I am interested in these brain scans etc...seems like they can pinpoint the areas of the brain that are not "normal" so to speak, and from there can make a more accurate diagnosis. I am not a big fan of subjective testing where the answers to questions are the basis of a diagnosis. I believe using both would give a clearer picture of what is going on and how to best treat without so much guess work.
    She was on Straterra for the ADHD but it gave her very bad stomach problems. Is on No medications at this time. I hate seeing her stuggle and only want the best chance for her to be able to function without so many difficulties in life. If she could get her anger issue under control that would help immensly! I know that most docs do not want teens to take antidepressants because they often create more suicidial thoughts/actions in teens so the depression (they say is mild is still there).

    Thanks for all of your input. It is good to have another avenue to seek advice and support (especially from those who are going through many of the same problems).
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I have been intersted in these scans for years ever since they were suggested to me when we were first trying to find out what was wrogn with our daughter. I'm not sure why they are considered controversial unless it is because insurance companies will only cover them in certain circumstances. There is enough evidence that these scans do provide valuable information as to over or underactive areas of the brain. If you feel this information is useful then I would check into having it done although you will most probably have to pay for it out of pocket.

    Here is a post by a member about the SPECT scan and the information it provided:

    The Cleveland Clinic is performing these scans along with other facilities I'm sure.

  7. Loving Abbey 2

    Loving Abbey 2 Not really a Newbie

    Hi Hannah,

    I haven't made up my mind yet on the brain scans. I'm not sure where you live but Mass is pretty central in the North East. So here are the hospitals with psychiatrists I have heard good things about: Fransicans Hospital-does a good multidisciplinary evaluation, and Mass General-has a good team of docs for complicated issues. Boston's Children's hospital is supposed to have the best pedi docs, but I don't know anyone personally who went there for mental health.

    FYI, given your discription of her, I would not recommend an anti-depressant. The way you are describing MAY be bipolar and if there is any chance of bipolar, you should not use anti-depressants until the mood is stablized. Anti-depressants can increase the risk of mania and high risk behaviors associated with it.