Clear as mud.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by wakeupcall, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Is it adolescence when the symptoms of Bipolar become more clear? I DO believe I'm witnessing difficult child actually cycling!!!! For instance, today we took him to the Bass Pro Shop...a huge hunting, fishing, camping, etc. store. {I was a trooper and kept a smile on my face the whole time (yuk)} He started out fine and he and husband were picking out new lures, then we went upstairs to the hunting (double yuk) stuff and the next thing I knew he was pouting and saying, "Is all I'm going to get is a stupid hat, and a shirt?" He cried, wouldn't even order any lunch, sat there with his arms crossed. He'd been wanting to go to this store for weeks! Then as we were walking out, he started skipping (?) and saying, "Thank you , thank you , thank you. That was LOTS of fun!!"??????????

    I wonder if this is the kind of thing I would notice if he was cycling? He had the same type of behavior yesterday...even husband noticed.

    Not that I would want my difficult child to be bipolar, but on the other hand, it would be such a relief to have some of his behaviors in a place where I could understand them better.

    Any thoughts or experience??
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Hi, Pamela! I can't answer if that was truly cycling- I'd start logging it though and report to psychiatrist what you are seeing. What I wanted to mention is that apparently psychiatrists view the bipolar diagnosis differently because of dsm criteria and it being a little controversial- one very qualified psychiatrist that evaluation'ed my son believes that he is cycling- has manic states, stable states, has primary problem with depressed states, but is not "truly bipolar" and it didn't appear that she thought this due to rapid cycling that wouldn't meet dsm criteria. Others will have more experience with this than me and can offer more informed opinions, but I'm trying to accept that cycling with these moods or "states" doesn't necessarily mean bipolar- however, it might mean a mood stabilizer is going to be in the picture for a while. And, if he needs a mood stabilizer, it might be listed as bipolar not otherwise specified for insurance to cover cost of medications.

    Good Luck!

    I should add: it is about as clear as mud to me, too, but I feel much better now that I believe it is being treated appropriately- no matter what they want to call it!
  3. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    One diagnosis is "mood disorder" and and another is "Intermittant Explosive Disorder"; he's on Lithium. He had blood drawn yesterday, so maybe his level isn't what it should be anymore. I guess I'm just surprised at seeing this more clearly for the first time. I've always resisted the bipolar diagnosis anyway because I didn't feel he had the extremes.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Oh- to answer your first question, adolescence/puberty appears to have thrown several difficult child's for a loop! You are doing the right thing by keeping your eyes open and staying on top of it. It sounds like what you already have in place may help it from getting as bad as it could have. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If he's on Lithium, the psychiatrist thinks it's some sort of swinging mood disorder. That's what Lithium is used for. I don't believe it's used for anything else.
    I can't help you for sure because my moodswings, by thirteen were lasting for a year. I'd be depressed for a solid year and snap out of it in a micro-second. Then I'd hit "Hypomania" and feel good for a year. I think I hit a lot of "mixed states" where your son may be. That's a yukky feeling and a confusing combination of mania and depression that causes extreme irritability and can also cause high anxiety, explosions, rages, etc. (all the fun stuff). I could function better in a mixed state than in a depressed state, but I can't say the same for those around me. With depression I was more quiet and prone to crying, but in mixed states I'd explode a lot. The LIthium should be helping. If it's not, maybe you want to have psychiatrist check the levels.
    The bipolar swung into high gear for me right after I got my period the first time, so I know that in my case hormones kicked it up. With boys, hormonal changes aren't as obvious...I don't know if this helped, but thought I'd toss it in the ring. I'm sorry you're having a tough time.
  6. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Both of you....thanks. There are no signs of any kind of mental issues in my family nor husband's, so we have had to learn everything from scratch almost from the first week of our difficult child's life upon adoption. There are all kinds of undx'd mental problems in his bio family. It helps me to hear from those who know SO much more than I because you live or have lived with it. I value the info you share.

    This week we'll know what his levels are again. I think the Lithium works very well for the most part. No medication is perfect, but as soon as he was old enough to start taking the Lithium, he's better. Today was just an eye-opener for me and I wasn't expecting it!
  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Hi Pam, my son has a diagnosis of Mood Disorder-not otherwise specified. He recently spent 6 weeks in a day treatment program at a local psychiatric hospital. The psychiatrists there were able to observe J 6.5 hours a day. For two years, all we saw was depression once his manic reaction to Zoloft was stopped with Depakote. At the day treatment program, the psychiatrists observed mania in several forms, behaviors we saw but didn't interpret as mania because we're not professionals. And even our outside psychiatrist didn't diagnosis mania because he only saw J for one hour weekly. My point in relaying all this info to you is that it takes skilled professionals a lot of time to figure out exactly what's going on.

    Once the day treatment psychiatrists determined that J was experiencing mood swings with both depression and mania, they decided to treat him with the BiPolar (BP) algorithim of two mood stabilizers and one atypical antipsychotic. And you know what, the medications are working. For the first time in two years, J is less depressed and less oppositional. I can't say we're out of the woods, but we've certainly made a lot of progress in the last 6 weeks.

    FWIW, the psychiatrists will not give J the BiPolar (BP) diagnosis because BiPolar (BP) is a lifelong illness and they say they do not know what J will look like as an adult. But for now, the medications used to treat BiPolar (BP) are working, and for that I am grateful.

    I hope you get some answers soon.
  8. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    SW, if you don't mind saying, what behaviors did the docs see as mania that you and husband did not? I am trying, and probably will always be, to understand the symptoms of mania. Depression, to me, is more cut and dried.
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    The psychiatrist saw mania in three instances: J was staying up all night and then not appearing tired at all the next day (decreased need for sleep); J was expressing disdain for authority figures (grandiosity); and J was smirking when oppositional (emotion inappropriate to the situation). husband and I weren't sure about the last instance, but J's emotions do seem more appropriate since his medications have been corrected. As I said earlier, I'm just glad the medications seem to be working.
  10. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    If doctors call "smirking when oppositional" part of being manic, then manic, he is. I have also been told that irritability is often depression. If that is true, then depressed, he is. Boy, these conditions can be soooooo complicated.

    Our little boy couldn't possibly be more loved by us, but he's not a very pleasant child to say the least. He's always been hard to live with.....maybe that will never change.
  11. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    My psychiatrist won't rule out BiPolar (BP) but she won't label him yet either. With my difficult child I get two different kinds of irritable. The first is depression and the irritable is understandable in that he is miserable and looking to blame someone, anyone. The second is much worse to me, I consider it mania or hypomania, he is argumentive, breaks rules, steals from us, wakes in the night, perservates(sp)/obsesses, and isn't as reachable as far as caring what we think of him or wanting affection. He can rage in both. I think I can see things getting clearer as this progresses as well.