Cause Of BiPolar (BP)/Other Mood Disorders In Children

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Wonderful Family, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. I've seen a lot in the general press about general mental health problems associated with premature infants and those that have some type of birth trauma - common conditions seems to be ADHD and some show increased rates of autism. I have a question.

    1. For parents of kids with definitive BiPolar (BP) (actually meets DSM IV criteria) - were your kids born premature or quite ill at birth? Did you have family history? Have you been able to identify successful treatment for your child medically and seen stability for more than a month or two?

    2. For families with a diagnosis of Mood Disorder/not otherwise specified or BiPolar (BP)/not otherwise specified (Not Otherwise Specified) - were your children born premature or quite ill at birth. Was there any family history of BiPolar (BP)? Have you been able to identify successful treatment for your child medically and seen stability for more than a month or two?

    I've never been able to find any sound statistics and clinical researchers I've spoken with tell me that they have not looked at this subject in great detail. It's something that just keeps nagging at me the last couple of years.

    Just about everyone I know with a child with a significant mood disorder or BiPolar (BP) falls into one of two buckets:

    1. BiPolar (BP) that meets full DSM IV criteria - and has family history of BiPolar (BP) and/or birth trauma; disorder may be present from a very young age or develop as the child gets a little older.

    2. BiPolar (BP)/not otherwise specified or Mood Disorder/not otherwise specified - this last bucket seems to be the hardest to find successful treatment. Children frequently have some type of birth trauma, and frequently there is no significant mental health disorders in the family, disorder present from a very young age. I sometimes wonder if this group is not harder to treat?

    No answers - which is why I keep looking.

  2. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    In my case, difficult child Major was born testing positive for crack cocaine, his health was and has been excellent. He has mental health issues in his birth family, bm diagnosed depression,anxiety, borderline and anti social personality. An older sibling has been diagnosed BiPolar (BP) and that is what I personally feel is the true issue with the bm as well.
  3. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    My son falls into the second category - at least according to his last assessment. Every doctor seems to think something a little different. He had no birth trauma but had painful hernias in his groin the first three months of his life before he had surgery. We do have significant mental health disorders in our family tree - schizophrenia and bipolar on my mom's side (for several generations except mine and so far, the kids' generation), alcoholism (undiagnosed bipolar or depression maybe) on my dad's side, and very severe ADHD on my husband's side.

    We've had a hard time with treatment, but the hardest part has really been a consistent diagnosis, and finding the right medication combo. medications have helped during school but at home has been a different story.
  4. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    interesting thread! My difficult child 1 was diagnosed with Mood Disorder not otherwise specified and she was born with a 3rd kidney. She was hospitalized 3 times within the 1st few months of birth before they figured out why she was sick and then she had kidney surgery when she was 6 months old. I often wonder if she experienced all this as "abuse"--after all, she wouldn't know why people were hurting her and why she felt so much pain. There is no mental illness in the family that I am aware of.
  5. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    My younger daughter was diagnosis'ed mood disorder-not otherwise specified last fall. There is no significant mental illness on either side of the family although her great grandfather was probably an alcoholic.

    She didn't have any birth problems.

    She is now diagnosis'ed with Lyme disease and treatment for that has eliminated her rages and a lot of her anxiety so far. We figured out her Lyme disease from her constant headaches but her mental problems came first. From this, I would guess unrecognized Lyme disease is the cause of some hard to treat mental illness.
  6. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I have Bipolar Disorder, My Mom did, My Father is un-diagnosis'd something... My Brother as well.
    My Uncle had Mental Illness
    My Mom's side of the family has/had lots of Mental Illness. My Father's has a lot of un-diagnosis'd. My family also has a huge history of Alcohol and drug abuse. Heroin, meth, coke etc.

    My Husbands side has depression and alcoholism. Anxiety as well... A lot un-diagnosis'd.

    My daughter K myself and my husband just finished up a genetic testing study with Demitri Papolos... The author of "The Bipolar Child" His results will/should be available in about 3 years. I am looking forward to reading these.
    Our K falls into the first into a classic Bipolar Child, with Ultra-Rapid-Cycling. She does not officially have the diagnosis due to the "Lame" DSM-IV criteria... which I think needs to be revised.
    It is all based on insurance coverage... it does nothing to actually help the patient.
    But regardless of the diagnosis it is in my opinion helping the child and treating the symptoms... Good luck with your search.

    One note Both of my girls had perfect labor and deliveries. But both have issues...
  7. Christy

    Christy New Member

    My son is adopted but from what I know, he was premature. His bio-mom was diagnosis'd as mildly mentally retarded but a mood disorder is strongly suspected. She has never been treated and is pretty dysfunctional, unable to work, children removed for neglect, etc...
  8. jal

    jal Member

    fairlyoddparent I never even thought of Lyme although I know about it, had it and know that in neuroligical form it can certainly mess with the brain.

    My difficult child (BiPolar (BP)-not otherwise specified) was born by induction and c-section 1 week after his due date. He never dropped, hence the c-section. Some mild stress during labor, but constantly monitored and once stress showed up it was off to the OR. So born on time and healthy.

    There is bipolar on husband's side (his mom and aunt), none on mine. Both sides have alcoholism.

    We have been seeking help since difficult child was 2.5 - currently his reg of medications (see signature) has been the best to keep him stable. His psychiatrist is great and we are currently looking for a new therapist.

    difficult child has made it through his 1st yr of Kindergarten with-o getting sent home or any major major infractions (does have IEP and para assistance) and has been in his daycare for 8 months with-o getting sent home. MAJOR IMPROVEMENT. This from a difficult child that went through 4 daycares, constantly sent home and ultimately cost me my job of 9.5 yrs.
  9. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    This is a problem in my opinion. It's my understanding that the DSM IV is more relative to adults. Bipolar can look very different in children.

    "The Bipolar Child" by Papolos may answer some of your questions.
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Although Miss KT doesn't have a specific BiPolar (BP)/Borderline (BPD) diagnosis, I have long suspected there was more going on than just ADHD. And I have wondered if difficulties at birth either caused or enhanced those disorders. She was nearly two weeks late, and when they started to induce labor, her heart rate went down. Add that to her useless father and his ADHD and whatever else, and I think that's why we're dealing with what we're dealing with.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My difficult child was delivered late- after the due date had passed by a week and inducing labor didn't go so well, we opted for a C-section. I was given oxygen for a brief period while the operating room was being prepped. He was borderline underweight but no complications. (I did no drugs so we didn't have to worry about him being born with anything in his system like that) He was a total joy as a baby and never gave me cause for concern until he was 19-24 mos old. Then, it was just that he was so curious, I found it difficult to think one step ahead of him. He really didn't exhibit signs of a mood disorder until a few mos before he turned 11 yo. Since depression and anxiety run in my family and no one had been diagnosis'd with BiPolar (BP) in my family and there was clear reason to see triggers for depression, that is what everyone thought it was and that the subsequent period of being "disruptive, breaking the law, hyperactive, etc" was resulting from either ODD or not having the depression treated adequately. We think a little differently now.

    Myself, I have wondered if the steroids and other medications he needed from 3mos til 4 yo for asthmatic wheezing contributed to things. Also, I am starting to discuss with the doctors. how much antihistamine use for allergies the past few years might be triggering cycling. My son primarily is symptommatic around late winter to late spring, and seems to have a period of milder cycling in the fall (Oct-Nov).

    My sons symptoms are probably very close to meeting full diagnosis criteria for BP1, however, there are times when he cycles during the course of a day, too. That didn't appear obvious (so it might not have been there) until after a year on prozac and then doubling the prozac dosage.

    I'm not sure how similar my son's experience is to others' here on the board. I can say that I have become convinced that all tdocs and psychiatrists who claim to have experience with this, don't have as much experience as I expect and don't approach things the way I expect after reading several books and doing countless hours of research on treatment approaches for adolescents with BiPolar (BP). I am in the process of trying to line up more specialized doctors to get on board, but my son is currently incarcerated- mostly due to a 1 1/2 hr crime spree he committed 2-3 weeks after that prozac increase- so if he isn't released, we won't be able to pursue that.

    Good thread!!

    Oh- I guess I should add that I don't think "outside" things actually cause BiPolar (BP)- I do think that there is a genetic predisposition involved. But, I think there must be things that are "triggerring" the cycling to begin with, rather than "letting" the BiPolar (BP) lie dormant, so to speak. Just my opinion- I'm still learning a lot about it!!
  12. I agree good thread! I agree with you klmno, I think there must be things "triggering" the cycling to begin. With my difficult child, I had a high-risk pregnancy, I was gestational diabetic with high doses of insulin. I had preterm labor with multiple medications to stop contractions. When difficult child was born, his oxygen level was low so the first 9 hours of his life he spent on oxygen. When difficult child was little he was a difficult child prone to tantrums and doing is own thing. It wasn't until after his father's sudden death that I started to notice extreme problems. I suspect that the emotional upheaval of his father's death "triggered" his cycling to begin.

  13. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My difficult child was diagnosed with a mood disorder not otherwise specified. Her birthfamily history includes indications that the birthmother also had an undiagnosed mood disorder, including substance abuse, treatment center for alcohol, group home as an adolescent, dysfunctional family. In difficult child's case I am quite certain her mood disorder was inherited. Our family history does not include any of the same behaviors and our biological daughter does not have a mood disorder.

    difficult child was not premature and did not have any trauma or illness at birth.

  14. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My difficult child was born between 3 months early. His birth mom used crack which induced the early labor. He has so many things going on that I can't honestly say that we have had two months of stability in the past several years.
  15. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    As Sheila indicated, very few children meet the DSM-IV criteria for Bipolar Disorder.

    My son has a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder-not otherwise specified. My middle daughter has a diagnosis of Mood Disorder-not otherwise specified. Neither experienced birth trauma, but in both cases, SSRI antidepressants triggered their first episode of mania. My youngest daughter has a diagnosis of anxiety, and I had a high-risk pregnancy with her (blood factor incompatibility). Our family tree includes lots of anxiety and depression (including a suicide attempt), but no known Bipolar Disorder.

    My son has been stable on medications since January when he completed 6 weeks in a day treatment program. However, we are still tweaking medications to improve his wakefulness (Seroquel makes him sleepy). My middle daughter had been stable for 1.5 years, but we recently had to increase her Lamictal dose when puberty started. She is stable again.
  16. change

    change New Member

    Hi all...excellent discussion. We went to the monthly neuropsyche appointment today for medications. She changes all3. I'm nervous but also relieved because my daughter will be BACK on Lamictal...the one that semd to have wroked best for her EVER. Her birth mother is Bi-Polar & Schizophrenic. Her birth-mother's mother (grandmother) has something as well (I'm not sure what). Her birth father had "slight alcoholism". Her 2 older bio-brothers (full) have depression and severe conduct disorder. The one that is my son was officially diagnosed with BP1 at some point but his diagnosis keeps changing ever since he's been out of my home. My daughter has been treated for mood disorder and early on-set symptoms since she was 5 but she has never been officially labeled or diagnosis'd as bi-polar although I always thought she met the criteria far more than my son. She is officially diagnosed as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)-severe and ADHD-inattentive. She is switching from Concerta, Effexor, and Tompomax to Adderall, Pristiq, and Lamictal. (Yikes.) I hope there's no fall-out. At least not too much. She can't afford it as she is in a summer-intensive for 6 weeks that just began. At least she doesn't have any academic homework.
  17. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    My wee difficult child is currently diagnosis'ed with BiPolar (BP)/not otherwise specified. Actually, both difficult child's are. I am not 100% certain that I agree with the diagnosis, but they hold water for me. difficult child 1 admits the mood stabilizers help him, so...

    That said, difficult child 1 is, at best, and alcohol baby. If everyone were honest, there was probably pot in there, too. I suspect nothing harder. No trauma at birth, but from about 16 months to 3.5 years, was borderline neglected/abused.

    difficult child 2 was subjected to a lot of antibiotics while I was pregnant, as well as Benadryl. Otherwise, not alcohol or drugs. No birth trauma, and possibly a disordered attachment from bio dad's lack of presence when caring for difficult child when he was tiny.

    Interesting thread.
  18. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I was talking to a guy my age who has worked in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and long term placement facilities up here in the great north west. He was looking to get his degree in child psychiatric and was asking about working for a guy here in town in the interim. Well we were gabbing and I was dishing on the town and I gave him my honest opinion! LOL
    But I told him I have Bipolar Disorder. He told me that his Mom was diagnosis'd as having BiPolar (BP) as well, but he went on and told me that she received the diagnosis in her late 40's and has been suffering a lot of trauma. Divorce and many other things.
    I found this interesting and thought of this thread. I do think for a lot, the Bipolar gene may be present, some trauma or event is just "needed" to trigger the Mental Illness to rise to the surface, so to speak. Or even a medication as we have obviously seen. Even though there are still doctor's that do not believe this is possible.
    One of ours, "Stims can NOT trigger mania!!!" WHAT!!! That was the one who did not believe BiPolar (BP) existed in young kids.
  19. My uneducated comment back to the docs from the time our difficult child was 3 was that the stimulants helped him focus, but he just gets angrier. Our explanation to other parents/friends - severe ADHD.

    For the record, my son falls into the birth trauma category; he was adopted; BM did not have any defined BiPolar (BP). However, several things stick out in my head that are just like my difficult child.

    One of the reasons I posted this thread is because I read an interesting article a few days ago about genetic traits to mental illness, and trauma of some sort actually being the catalyst. New drug research is looking at how to take the "trauma out of the DNA". Neat concept.
  20. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    WF I recently read Identical Strangers, a true story of adult twins that were seperated at birth and adopted by different families. That book, more than anything else I ever read or was told, confirmed for me the genetic factor in all this. There is a great deal of information in the book and references to twin studies, which as you know is one of the best ways to confirm genetic links. Another book that is referred to in that book is Nature's Thumbprint. The genetic link to mental illness is remarkable and explained so many things for me, especially after contacting the birthmother two years ago and being told that what we were experiencing with our difficult child's behavior was almost identical to her own.