Diagnoisis and lableling

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Yael, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. Yael

    Yael New Member

    Hi everyone, I'm new here. I live in Israel (so if anyone is from here I'd like to hear from you).
    My question to you all is in your experience were your children "difficult" more or less from birth?
    My son was a very easy baby and not that demanding – in fact he physically developed very early and started walking early too. He should no signs of depression up until the third grade. In the first and second grades he was a top student, extremely popular and had normal temper levels like all kids. Also we don't have any bipolar history in our family.
    Things started to go bad in the summer before first grade. I won't go into the whole story but in short he is now in fourth grade and we have had a year of hell including running away from home, running away from school, threatening his and our lives with knives, desctruction of our home (broken doors, windows, sisters' things etc.), suspended from school for violence and bad language (to teachers!) at school. He was first diagnoised as depressed and was put on Prozac and then Risperdal (which made him put on weight and didn't really solve the problem) After a year we changed all the thearpists (new psychartrist and new psychologist) plus we have started a program whereby he his accompanied all day at school with a young guy (judo teacher!) - otherwise the school can't cope with him.
    I have read the bipolar kid sites and ODD but the psychartrist refuses to "label" - she says what does it matter what he has, the treatment is the same (i.e. weekly psychologist and trial and error with different medications) At the moment he has just started Straterra but I understand we have to wait to see if it has an effect.
    My difficulty is the sudden change from a wonderful charistmatic, popular and mostly obeidient child to my child with all the symtoms of ODD and possibly bipolar. Can anyone relate?
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Yael!

    we do have some other members from Israel and I hope they see your post and respond!

    Wow! That really is a quick turn around with your son. For me, my difficult child was different from my easy child from birth. He was more needy and needed a much closer "eye" than she did when around other children (which I noticed at about 18 months when we started going to library time). He was much more active, independent, and impulsive as a toddler. He was also much more active in utero! None of these things led me to believe there was an issue - I thought it was just a difference in personality and person.

    I don't have experience in BiPolar (BP), but I'm sure our membership will be along soon with support and advise.

    Glad to have you here.

  3. Stella

    Stella New Member

    Welcome Yael! wow, there really is people here from all over the world - from Ireland to Israel Lol I'm sure you've tried to talk to your son to see if anything significant happened to him to produce such sudden behavioural differences (any abuse, bullying, changes in family dynamicsm even changes in diet etc). It's hard to understand why his behaviour changed so suddenly. As for the Pyschiatrist saying that "it really doesn't matter what it is he has as the treatment is the same, I wholeheartedly disagree. I think you need to know exactly what it is as how can you proceed to UNDERSTAND it and treat it as best you can unless you know exactly what it is. Also I think it's really difficult to explain to other family members and friends what is wrong with your child when you don't even have a name for it yourself.

    Hope you get some answers soon.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and welcome! Do you have NeuroPsychs there? If so, they are great diagnosticians. Other than that I'm not sure what to tell you. Most of our kids were like this from Day One. Did anything happen at home?
  5. Yael

    Yael New Member

    It is really difficult for me to understand why and we have tried to see if something triggered his behavior and we haven't get come up with anything. It was although gradual...started with not doing school work, then not wanting to go to football, then not particpating in class, violently refusing to go to school, once we got him back he then started being the class clown, and then there were violent incidences at school as well at home. Nearly everyday of the past few months has been like living in a soap opera - or some melodramatic film - and I never know what's coming next!
    Stella - thanks for understanding about having to have a diagnoisis - they only problem is I think a lot of the professionals don't know themselves. I notice that you also haven't got a proper diagnosis. After reading all sorts of websites I think my difficult child (first time I used that expression!) has OCC CD (sometimes) BiPolar (BP) and maybe ADHD (although ritalin and concerta made things worse). But then I think that he wasn't like this until aged 8 so maybe it's just a phase? I'm also a bit sceptic about the medications. It's all trial and error and what suits one is bad for the other. Plus the fact is that I understand that after taking one medication for a while it can stop having the postive effect!

    Thanks for reading this and "listening" - it helps to know that there are others who understand you....
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    When there is a sudden, abrupt change like this, have you thought about possibly recreational drugs?
    If not, sadly latent mental illness can and often does kick up during puberty. To me, he sounds a lot like bipolar disorder. CD is like ODD--not too useful and he's just too young. Here they don't diagnose it usually until after 18 and it is usually due to untreated long term mental illness. Good luck.
  7. Yael

    Yael New Member

    I know there are neurologists for children but maybe I'll check neuropsychologist. We did an EEG test and it was normal. We tried to find out a trigger but nothing really unusual happened. I am (still!) happily married and there were no illnesses or anything like that in the family. I went away for work for a week and that was the breaking point (when he started to refuse to go to school and my husband couldn't handle it on his own) but then again I had been away before and it hadn't affected him. He is now seeing a psychologist who might be able to get to the bottom of it and we have a parents meeting with her next week so maybe she will tell us what she found out. Previously he was described as being a boy of 9 with the emotional developemental age of 3 and intellegince of a 11 or 12 year old. So it was thought that he just has an emotional developmental problem. but reading about the symptoms of the other disorders I really don't know.
  8. Stella

    Stella New Member

    Yes, I too am trying to get a diagnosis and my difficult child's team are also very reluctant to "label" and continue to tell me that she is "complex". Like you I think the Profs don't know themselves!! I do know another Pyschiatrist that a friend of mine went to and he gave a diagnosis within 40 minutes but he didnt' even see the child! She said it was "very checklisty" and he just asked questions and ticked off boxes. I don't really agree with this approach either- however the one good thing that came from her having a formal diagnosis was that she was able to get a Special Needs Assistant for him in school. Also it does make things a little easier to explain to others. I find that not having a diagnosis makes it hard for my difficult child'S family (granparents in particular) to believe that there is anything REALLY wrong with her and that she is just being "bold" and "difficult" and that is a relection of my parenting.

    MidwestMom I notice you mention neuropsychologist's a lot - is this different that going to a 'normal' Psychiatrist or Neurologist? How exactly to the come up with a diagnosis?
  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and Welcome!

    My daughter was "different" right from birth...but because she was my first child, I didn't realize just how different until she went to pre-school and I could see how she acted in comparison to other kids.

    This is a wonderful group for help and support. I'm glad that you found us, but I am sorry that you needed to.

  10. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Welcome. I know this isn't something any parent would like to consider, but is it possible he suffered some sort of abuse from an adult or another child? It's the abruptness that is a red flag to me.
  11. Yael

    Yael New Member

    Yes - we did think of this but with all the talks he had with thearpists plus art and music thearpy nothing like that came out. He was and still is friendly with a boy who's father died and this was about the same time that our difficult child started showing signs of depression. But I ask myself - other children are friendly with this boy and they weren't effected like this. Maybe however this was partly a trigger?
  12. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome! I'm glad you found us.

    What happened when he was put on Prozac? Did things get better, worse or stay about the same?
  13. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Welcome, Yael. My difficult child 2 was like yours. Very easy going, pleasant natured baby. Physically active and hit milestones early. At 3.5yrs he started showing the hyperactivity his older brother (who has ADHD) did at the same age. Plus some sensory issues. We treated for ADHD from age 5 to 7, but then he became more aggressive and impulsive. That's when things started to really change. By age 10 things were very different and he was really looking more like a mood disordered kid -- response to medications changed as well. Now it's looking much less like ADHD and much more like mild bipolar (cyclothymic if I had to label it). He responds to medications more like someone with this diagnosis, too, which I believe tells you a lot about what's going on.
  14. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    The treatment for depression is not the same as for bipolar. Depression medications given to a bipolar child can cause huge problems. http://www.bipolarchild.com/articles.html

    Our kids "label" themselves because of their behaviors. I don't know why doctors around the world would rather a child be labeled as a brat vs ill.

    Welcome to the site!
  15. Yael

    Yael New Member

    Hi Sheila, Gcvmom and Smallworld.
    It's annoying being in a different timezone I can't answer immediately.. anyway as you all know there are a lot more annoying things in life!!!!
    At the beginning of our saga, difficult child when aged 8 had suicidal thoughts and the prozac stopped this. He certainly was better to start with on the prozac. Then when he started to behave badly the Dr. added risperdal (which made him fat) but we kept with the prozac as well. Since then we changed doctors who took him off the prozac! He now has started straterra - I'm willing to give it a try and I realise that it's a long struggle to find the right medications for each kid - everyone is so different.
    It's helpful but also concerning to hear that there are kids that "develop" disorders over the years. One of the problems is friends- he was once so popular and now only the other difficult child's want to play with him. The same goes for parents. we were really friendly with a group of parents and we would go on family day trips etc. Now we are not asked (he doesn't get on with their kids anymore).
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am still worried about the suddenness of the change. Is it even remotely possible that something happened that week you were away? Or around that time?

    It is possible for mental illness to have an onset at any age. ADHD usually does not have sudden onset unless it is actually a symptom of something else. In that case the ADHD medications often do not work well.

    I am very sorry this happened. It IS hard to understand as a parent. I think you have to try to remember that children don't just decide one day to act this way. It is an illness and they cannot help it. Keeping that in mind, not as an excuse but as a reason, can make it easier to deal with our kids appropriately.

    I really think further testing is in order. I also think labels are VERY helpful and this doctor is very strange. Treatment for bipolar won't help autism, and treatment for sensory issues won't help depression. Treatment for ADHD or depression can really HURT bipolar, etc.... If you don't know what is going on then how can you effectively treat it?

    Here in the US certain labels open certain doors. Autism and Autistic spectrum disorders are hot topics now and there are quite a few interventions that are open solely for kids with these problems. While they might help other children, with-o the right label these treatments and classes are not available. Also, with-o the label our insurance system won't pay for treatment and doctor visits. So here labels ARE important. In fact, we have one member who has a son who needs early interventions for what looks a LOT like Aspergers or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). The person with the final say, the developmental pediatrician on their team saw the child on a "good" day and so he won't assign the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or Asperger's label and the child is unable to have a number of non-medicine interventions that might help him greatly.

    So here, we really NEED the right labels. But we also run into docs with the philosophy your doctor has.

    Sending lots of support!

  17. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    The abruptness of the change in behavior also sends a red flag up for me. I wouldn't rule out a potential abusive cause for awhile. Boys tend to be more hesitant than girls to admit to such things, even bullying and such. Might come up later down the road as he gets more comfortable with his doctor and therapist.

    Also it is possible that symptoms might have been mild enough difficult child was able to hide them or contain them, but with age this became harder for him to do. Sometimes the onset of puberty can have a similar effect.

    Many psychiatrists don't want to "label" kids as it is hard to pinpoint certain dxes before the teen years. Which is why many kids go thru a variety of dxes before getting one that sticks. Many docs feel it's best to leave it open than labeling with a wrong diagnosis.

    Not having a concrete diagnosis can certainly be frustrating.

    I'm glad you found us. Welcome to the board. :)