child with bi polar and anxiety disorder

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jena, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. Jena

    Jena New Member

    hi to all,

    I'm new here. my almost 9 year old was diagnosed with bi polar disorder and anxiety disorder after a year of different medication's and different diagnosis. here we are now. she is on abilify the cycles have calmed somewhat, yet her anxiety and paranoia level has increased terribly. she's in regular ed class and is now failing as well. never has before. it's been hard, very hard i'malmost never at my job, of which i am so lucky to have. she's so uncomfortable my daugther. we are in a new school just started in september and it's not working out. i have a fourteen year old also of which has been highly ignored at least by her standards for a very long time now and is failing school. overall my anxiety level has increaesd traumatically due to all of this. i'm not on anything, but occassionally go out with some friends to relive the pressure. my little one doesn't eat in school she feels too self conscious to eat, doenst' talk to other kids she feels too uncomfortable too even when they speak to her she spends most of her day sad according to teacher, is withdrawn.

    anyway anyone else going through this? i wait everyday to get phone call from nurse or pyschologist that she is having an anxiety attack i try to bring her down from here at work it's a nightmare and i'm not happy. just want her regular and i can't seem to get there.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Jennifer, while she could very well have bipolar, most bipolars are not withdrawn. Instead, even if they have anxiety, they tend to be both withdrawn at certain times and suddenly very outgoing, blurty, friendly etc. I have bipolar, had it as a kid. Her lack of wanting to talk to other kids makes me wonder if she was misdiagnosed and if she's actually on the high functioning autism spectrum. Bipolar kids tend to be VERY social, sometimes inappropriately so, but I woudln't say most bipolar kids or adults are "withdrawn" at least not all the time. Depression can cause they, but you can also have agitated depression. Does she rage a lot?
    How was her early development? Does she make good eye contact with strangers? I would personally, if it were my kid and knowing what I know now, take her for a neuropsychologist evaulation rather than to a regular psychologist or even Psychiatrist. They do intensive testing. She may have a mood disorder too, but I'd want autistic spesctrum disorder ruled out because she seems to have a lot of symptoms of that and bipolar/autism spectrum are so often mistaken for one another. My son was one who was first diagnosed with bipolar, but he didn't seem bipolar to me, and it was a wrong diagnosis. One hundred medications later (that didn't do much except sedate him), he's doing great with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) interventions. Welcome to the board! Others will come along. Oh, yeah. Anxiety is a BIG issue with autistic spectrum and it tends to be social stuff. Anxiety happens with bipolar too. You really need a good evaluation to figure it all out.
  3. Jena

    Jena New Member


    wow ok. she seems more withdrawn lately, now that is since taking abilify and paranoia has increased. she used to be very hyper at times (not with strangers ever) and awake for days (only few hours sleep each night) then crash the 3rd and 4th night with alot of emotional issues crying about everything under sun. we have tried medicating strictly for anxiety it threw her into manic episode she was up for two days. i tried no medications and special diet that didn't work. i tried just about everything, i brought her for that type of testing you suggested she came back with no neurological issues and was clear. it's not add, she also has some germ and sensory issues and that has calmed alot as of late. taking showers is still a rough one for her and walking on carpeting after shower. her early development she's broken two limbs due to jumping out of crib and loosing balance due to a nearby bug on a slide. she hates bugs. she was always a hard rough sleeper, very hyper almost all the time. yet the sleeping thing has been an issue for years and extreme anxiety, very extreme.

    what is this that you had mentioned? she has moments where she is happy and ilove that unfortunatley i'm at work when they happen which is after her day at school which she absolutely hates. we had two mos. with no medication's that was great then suddenly she dipped down again. she's very emotional very clingy very needy child.

    sorry a mouthful i'm still at work.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. Thanks for the extra information.
    A neuropsychologist evaluates differently (WAY) than a regular Neurologist. I still think it's possible. Sensory issues are another big sign. It's often hard to nail our kids right. And kids can have more than one thing going on too, but I'd want another opinion. Although people with bipolar can have sensory issues, again it is more an issue with autistic spectrum disorder. My son is very even-tempered now that he's gotten the right kind of help. That doesn't mean your daughter has what my son has or that she will be fine if she gets help, but I'd want to check out autistic spectrum disorder with the symptoms that she has.
    Is she affectionate? Does she like to cuddle? Does she know how to socialize? Did she have any late talking or late development? Sounds like there could well be more than one thing going on. And anxiety is part and parcel of both bipolar and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). If you are bipolar, you have anxiety. If you are Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), you have anxiety. So I'd take that diagnosis. out of the equation for now and see what else may be going on. At the very least, a second opinion can't hurt. NeuroPsychs evaluated my son for twelve hours. It's way different than your normal going to one appointment. and hearing a diagnosis and pulling out the medication pad--without any testing. I found it WAY thorough and it really helped figure out my very complicated son. Your daughter sounds complicated too...
    others will jump in.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Good advice, MM. Just wanted to lend my support.
  6. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Jennifer, your daughter could very well have a mood disorder (bipolar is a subset of mood disorder) given that she has had episodes of decreased need for sleep and anxiety medications threw her into mania. Both have happened with my son, and he has a diagnosis of mood disorder (plus a very healthy dose of anxiety). But I still agree with a neuropsychological evaluation to make sure you know what you're dealing with so you can put the appropriate interventions into place.

    What kind of doctor diagnosed your daughter? What kind of doctor is prescribing her medications? Have you thought about trying to obtain an IEP so the school will be mandated to help her?

    Welcome aboard. I'm glad you found us.
  7. Jena

    Jena New Member


    Thank you for taking the time to respond and you are correct it is sometimes very difficult to figure out our very own children. When I think of my daughter years passed, behaviors before all these different doctor's got involved, medications, etc.I remember a kid who is uncomfortable in different and new settings as well as one in which is even uncomfortable around grandparents. No she is not an affectionate chid, except for her dad and myself she is not affectionate with anyone else. A friends daugther hugged her once and she just froze. Her grandmother has always said she seems "disconnected" somewhat from people, even family that she has known for years. She is hte type of kid if i bring her to a party where she knows everyone it takes her about 5 hours to get comfortable somewhat. By the time she is comfortable we are leaving. Sensory issues seem to be shirts, different materials do not work at all that has been always, also different materials on her feet she does not like "hence" the shower thing, sand on her feet after being on beach, etc. even dirt. She had alot more germ issues years ago they seem to have subsided alot. She was displyaing alot of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) issues. She def. obsesses about stuff now, and as I said the anxiety is a huge huge issue. She was never the kid playing next to anyone it was always beside someone. I wonder if the sleep patterns, or lack thereof was simply due to her having sleep issues and by the fourth and fifth night she simply was exhausted. Although she is very creative when she does not have sleep. It is all so confusing I looked up the autism symptoms and alot of that fits her. I've gotten 3 different opinions from 3 diff. pediatric pyschiatrists. The last one was figuring it was bi polar because when is suggested simply medicating for the anxiety which i believe was lexapro she flew into a manic state for 2 or 3 dys. then he believed it to be bi polar. This doctor nailed it right away and put her on abilify. Yet id' think that after almost 6 weeks there would be an improvement. Her sleep patterns have stabilized somewhat yet her paranoia level as I said has increased and the anxiety is increasing by the day. I tried a pyschologist at one point and no medication's and we hooked her up to biofeed back machines to try and alleviate the anxiety, or at least make her aware she was causing t, that did not work. As I said I have tried or at least feel as though i have tried alot of diff. approaches to help her. I have a mtg. with her new doctor this week of which i am going to bring up the autism idea to him and see what he says.

    anymore ideas id be happy to hear and thank you so much for taking the time to respond. :smile:
  8. Jena

    Jena New Member

    hi and one more thing

    she is not social. she is withdrawn even with family initially until she gets comfortable. she likes to cuddle only with me or her dad. she is not affectionate to anyone else her friends, the few she has or her sister, or other family members. she did not have any developmental delays at all speech or otherwise. she developed pretty much along schedule was very verbal very every on. still is very verbal. yet now she's shutting down on me, is refusing to eat in school because she feels too self conscious, is having anxiety attacks through course of day, is crying in morning before school and experiencing extreme anxiety. other kids are talking to her and she's shutting down on them.
  9. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Hi Jennifer- I would research... don't set your mind on any one thing... every thing is subjective!!! Everyone here has their opinions.
    I have been told my child is everything... sure. When you really look at all of the disorders the symptoms do overlap.

    You need to watch the symptoms and how they manifest over time in combination not just one or two... but many. For a long period of time...

    K has quite a few Autism spectrum symptoms but she is off the charts with BiPolar (BP) symptoms hence the overlap... and they do overlap... when you do read. Also a lot of her Autism Spectrum Symptoms are also her Sensory symptoms also... so what do you do with that??? They are her Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) diagnosis...

    So she is not considered Autistic... by the experts... And yes she is withdrawn... as am I... I am BiPolar (BP) also. I was diagnosis'd Cyclothymic but they think it is BiPolar (BP)-I, now.
    K has lots of anxiety and shuts down also... especially after school... we have to have a lengthy period before school just to make it to school... and after school lots of time to relax, unwind... before anything serious. Snacks, park, steamer, fun computer time, a little tv... something they like to help them relax.

    So it is all subjective... their is no exact science.... I would suggest reading ALOT... and asking a lot of questions about your family and anything else you can think of.

    I have a heavy history of BiPolar (BP) in my family.

    Good luck and welcome.
  10. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hey fellow ny'er! Definately go the neuropsychologist route. They'll evaluate her every way from Sunday!

    We've had a lot of input over the years from schools, psychologists, therapists, gp's, parents and family and now that we've gotten the neuro, they ALL owe me a lot of money! (You know: I bet it's ..., you know, I'd put money on ..., etc.).

    Love her, tolerate her and know that we're here for you!

  11. Jena

    Jena New Member

    thank you so much to all of you. This i'd have to say has been the absolute worst experience we've ever had. thought my divorce was hard that was easy. knowing she's hurting and there's nothing i can do for her kills me and rips my heart out. i've managed to get her to sitter past few mornings to make it to my office and go and write to you guys :smile: lol....yet she has anxiety attacks there and i have to calm her down on the phone while i'm on the train. this morning was crazy too because her anxiety was so bad last night that she wet her bed which she hasn't done in while and the shower thing is always rough for her. the water on her face, the fear of soap in her eyes, then ofcourse afterwards standing in the tub waiting to get out. she hates the way the tub feels under her feet, then climbing out i have to put a special towel on floor she doen'st want to stand on tile floor or rug we have. then she runs to get to her bed because she hates walking on carpet after shower and stands on her bed to dry off and get dressed. then comes the anxiety diarrhea and crying and stuff so i sit with her and do breathing exercises to get her to sitters. it's truly insane. the school she's in doenst' offer any great inclusion they have a Special Education teacher come into room for hour a day that would freak her out totally. so right now it's me the teacher and school pyschologist and weekly group for anxiety kids. it's just weird because after school i can see the regular her for the most part there's always something off yet she's so much more relaxed with no pressure.
  12. Jena

    Jena New Member

    also i will look into that neuro diagnosis that everyone is suggesting. i have mtg. with dr. tmrw. he's convinced it's bi polar. i'm not especially now after 6 weeks on medications' and anxiety growing, etc. so maybe the pattern i saw of 3 dys up and by the way very creative when she's up and then crashing 4th and 5th day is her just being exhausted by the 4th adn 5th day. one thing i know is true is anxiety issues bad, sensory issues, germ issues, used to collect certain garbage (said it was for projects, yet i never saw any), clingy, needy, sleep issues, used to be very hyper at times yet with all the medication's past almost 2 years don't see that much now at all. very emotional and moody, has hit our dog in past, verbally abused sister, doens't make friends well, socially inept to be honest, always seems uncomfortable. she does make friendships takes a long time for her to get into a comfort mode with people.

    ok sorry i know i run on and on. i'm hiding this site on my easy child at work.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hon, take her to a neuropsychologist.
    She seems like she has a cross section of disorders--she could be bipolar AND Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or just Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) because, as others have said, the symptoms overlap. Her sensory issues and withdrawn demeaner and anxiety can be assessed by a neuropsychologist evaluation. THey spend a lot more time with the kids than other professionals and often nail what others can't because they don't take the time. My oldest son (30) has SEVERE social phobia and I've often wondered if he has Aspergers. He also has panic attacks and mood problems. They tend to sometimes all fit together like some sort of puzzle. There are very few kids who have only one disorder. The kind of anxiety you are describing (and that my grown son has) could be a lot of things. I hope you get a fresh opinion.
    Good luck.
  14. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I feel so bad for her... Whatever her diagnosis is, Yes I would find a good recommended Nuero-psychiatric.

    Ours was wonderful... he had K figured out and great suggestions. He gave us hope.

    Our 3rd psychiatrist... who we saw yesterday... was just talking with us about anxieties, he was saying that we really need to try to keep getting K out of the house despite her wanting to stay in. Keep her trying new things... I know easier said than done.
    He explained that with a lot of these kids (high intelligence) they don't even realize they are using the anxiety as a default and they start to use it all of the time and soon they can not tell the difference any more and are soon anxious all of time in situations where they were not anxious before... it becomes kind of a snowball effect and so much harder to stop as they get older...
    As a Mom and watching my child I want to protect her and hate to see the fear and terror in her eyes... but he said I need to help her... it is SO hard...

    Just and idea... my new project!!! I thought I would share.

    Hang in there. When I was looking for a Nuero-psychiatric in the beginning a lot of people had never heard or acted like they don't exist... keep looking, they do!!! Ours was through an Nuero-Education Company... They Represent parents in court and conduct nuero-psychiatric evaluations... and therapies... and on going consults for families. WHich is crazy considering there is hardly any psychiatrist's in the area!!!

    Hang in there!!!
  15. Jena

    Jena New Member


    thanks for all the responses their so appreciated. it's been crazy and hard. and oh so confusing to say the least. i thought by now on the abilify she would be doing better. the only thing that seems to have improved somewhat is her sleep patterns have regulated somewhat. she still has nights where her anxiety wins out and she can't fall asleep. the things i see and what i know is she has extreme anxiety as i had mentioned, she also has sensory issues, germ issues, she obsessesover things, she is uncomfortable around most people. she makes friendships yet it takes her a long time to make them. she isn't affectionate towards family at all. freezes up when someone hugs her besides her dad and i. she is extremely needy and emotional, doens't make eye contact with strangers or initiate conversations with kids in school that is very scarey for her. she was in the same school for two yeras and every morning the other kids on line would be talking and id have to stand next to my daughter who spoke to no one until the teacher came and the class went up into bldg.

    i'm going to go to a neuro pysch as everyone suggested. i'm also going to take her to be tested for high functioning autism.

    any other ideas. does this sound like a bi polar kid to you? she did have her moments of being depressed at times crying alot before bed taht's when it all comes out. she's hurt a dog of ours in past and has verbally abused my older one at times without being provoked.
  16. Jena

    Jena New Member

    It is so hard to try new things, when all they want to be is be with you and feel safe. I wish you luck as well. It is so hard when it comes to our kids. We love them so much and hurt when they do.

    you hang in there also.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    We can't tell you, but in my layperson's, non-medical opinion she sounds more Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) than bipolar and I have bipolar. But take her to a neuropsychologist and see.
    medications are not the main treatment if it's high functioning autism/Aspergers.
  18. Jena

    Jena New Member

    thanks, if it hadn't been for coming in here i would never ever of thought that at all. i really do appreciate it.

    i have a mtg. with her new dr. in the a.m. and her pyschologist at school and her teacher tmrw. everyone keeps looking at me for answer's that i dont' have. her anxiety is so so bad. she averages two episodes a day that i know of.

    see i thought bi polar because of sleep patterns and high creativity during supposed manic episodes. yet she is never ever outgoing ever.

    this dr. is going to want to up the medications' tmrw. the abilify i know it and i'm guessing until i figure out what's going on i'm going to say no. i'm afraid to increase it until i know what i'm dealing with. all my friends and family at this point are looking at me like i'm nuts. we've gone through anxiety disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), treating her just for anxiety, then sensory issues, then mood disorder and then landed on anxiety disorder and bi polar.

    my support is close to none. due to fact that when there's no stress she functions pretty well, i can still see things yet i'm her mom adn know her well. so when she spends a carefree eat what you want go to sleep when you want weekend at dad's house he says what's up there's nothing wrong with her she's just got anxiety.

    support i'm learning, places to go and talk to other people is key. i've run a year and a half with none but myself and a close friend. i pretty much used him up. :smile:
  19. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    With all due respect, I think it's misleading to say that all bipolar kids are outgoing. My son has a BiPolar (BP)-like mood disorder with severe anxiety, and he's not that outgoing at all. And yes, he's had two neuropsychologist evaluations that do not even mention Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
  20. Calista

    Calista New Member

    Not only are all Bi-polar kids outgoing but, not all Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids are introverts. My Aspie is very outgoing and wants very much to belong but, he has no clue how to make it happen. Not even after years of therapy. He wants to be in control of every play situation and is so detailed in his direction of play that by
    the time he is done with his explaination the other kids have gone away. Also, my Aspie is on medications because without them is wreck with anxiety and impulsivity.

    Every kid is different and every medication acts different for every kid. It's a giant :censored2: shoot. But I've learned to stick with it because after 8 years we've almost got it right.