Can you help me figure this out?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by judytor, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. judytor

    judytor New Member

    Hi again :) We have been trying to figure out (based on some info we have on ds4's bio mom), if she was possibly bipolar.
    She had been treated for "depression" (her words). She was also addicted to alcohol and cocaine. We can't seem to figure out which came first...her mental health challenges or her addictions.
    The medications she said she was on were Neurontin, Trazadone and Effexor.

    She may not have been diagnosed properly either as she was hit and miss with her treatment. She was also being treated at a county hospital (state aid for the medications).

    Anyway....I have some more minor info...but was wondering if this sounds like it "could" be bipolar she was dealing with? Thanks!
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    First off, it's important to note that we're not doctors. We can only give insight based on our own experiences.

    That being said... it's not uncommon for people with mood disorders to self-medicate with alcohol or illicit drugs. Also, many people with bipolar seek help only when they are at the depressive end of the spectrum because they may feel so good when at the high end.

    Does this mean that biomom has bipolar? Not necessarily. But it does sound like a mood disorder either way in that she was diagnosed with depression.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    From having a daughter who took drugs once, I can tell you that even if she has bipolar, you won't be able to treat it unless she is off all of her recreational drugs, including alcohol. It is common to self-medicate, however prescription medications for bipolar don't do any good if there is also pot, alcohol, cocaine, etc. also being taken. in my opinion the first thing to do is to look into a dual diagnosis treatment center and get her some help. My daughter is 24 now and no longer a drug abuser. She has her moody moments, but doesn't like any drugs now, even prescription ones so she uses natural stuff. She actually doesn't seem that moody since she quit drugs. It is hard to know what our kids are really like when they are using. That really changes them!
    Also, I think maybe the mods can move the post?
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Depression and anxiety run in my family, but no one in my family has been diagnosed with bipolar (except my son). Now, I'm not sure what might be diagnosed (if anything) in my son's father side of the family. But, there are some people who are starting to think that mood disorders work on a spectrum, so bipolar could ultimately show up in a family that has only had indications of depression or other mood disorders before. And of course, there is always that matter of degree- some people will have more severe cases than others. Also, there is a theory that bipolar can skip generations. On the other side of the coin, it might be over-diagnosed by some these days, too.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2008
  5. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    MWM- I think the post can stay here because we're discussing a four year old's bio-mom. :winks: You bring up an excellent point about recreational drugs interfering with medication, though. :)
  6. judytor

    judytor New Member

    Thanks everyone! Because our ds is so complicated, we are just trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. We have been told over and over that we may never know for sure how much is mental health related and how much is organic brain damage from his mother's cocaine and alcohol addictions.
    He also has autism so it really makes it hard to figure out what comes from which diagnosis.
    I have never had contact with ds's bio family. They have never been in the picture.
    There are times when I am tempted to call (I have a phone number) his bio grandma and see if I can get some more info but I don't think we want to open that door quite yet.
    I also heard that it is possible to get bio parent's medical records if it would b helpful for the child....but I need to speak with an attorney to find out if that is in fact true.
    Anywho....thanks again :)
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, ok. Duh :) Thanks TiredMom
  8. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    I am bipolar and have also been on many different types of medication. Unfortunatly a lot of those medications also just treat plain old depression which is totally different from bipolar disorder. Some of the signs I did have as a baby where severe colic then as a child woke often at night, had problems with sensory issues such as my socks had to be I still remember that!

    Cole hasnt had these signs but because of the history they are not ruling it out completly yet.

    I also go to church with a lady with an adoptive daughter and because they didnt know her family history it took until she was about 10 for them to formally diagnosis her as being bipolar.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am not sure if it is possible to ever know if birthmom's diagnosis was bipolar or if it came before or after her exposure to drugs and alcohol. As for your difficult child, it may not really matter.

    I would problem tell docs that she had a mood disorder, but that they need to focus on your child and what he is doing. It can be VERY helpful if you can afford to set up videocameras to monitor behaviors. That way you can SHOW the docs the different things your child does, as well as be sure you are keeping him safe.
  10. judytor

    judytor New Member

    Thank you :) My husband and I talked about "digging" further into the mom's past but we decided even if we find out she was bipolar, there is just no way to know how much that is contributing to ds's behavior and how much is from other factors.
    Thankfully we have a great psychiatrist who really takes time to understand what's going on. It's just getting the school district and other supports to see that ds needs more intervention than just behavior mod.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    Call the State Dept of Education and ask about Parent Advocates. Also do research on Wrightslaw ( These will help you get the school to do what they need to do. Parent Advocates are provided for free, and they usually know their way around the school districts and the laws. They also provide a witness to whatever goes on in the IEP and other meetings.

    Go over to the Special Education 101 part of this board and post the info, the moderators over there are truly expert at knowing how to get things done. And they can explain the various processes and steps to get the school to provide what your child needs.

    I am sorry the school is so difficult.