discussion about symptoms

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by crazymama30, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Just wanted to start a discussions, as we have a lot of newcomers. in my humble opinion, many of the symptoms for different disorders overlap. husband and difficult child are both very persistent when they want something, especially difficult child. He will ask for it over and over. From what I have read, this could be a BiPolar (BP) or aspie trait. Both husband and difficult child get over stimulated easily. husband just hides from crowds now, or if the house is too noisy he stays in the bedroom. difficult child just gets wound up. Again, a symptom of many disorders. I do know that both difficult child and husband were helped by mood stablizers, and in husband case an ap and an additional mood stabilizer and anti anxiety medications. difficult child gets a stimulant.

    How many out there see overlapping symptoms? Which ones do you notice most?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, I *have* bipolar and my son is an Aspie or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified (not sure which). I didn't have the incredible persistence my son has. I also didn't have obsessive, narrow interests. I actually have a lot of interests. It's more an Aspie trait to just have one or two focused interests, and they tend to be techie related (computers, videogames, certain television shows, fixing things). When I am hypermanic I am the friendliest person on the face of the earth and talk too much. My Aspie son never gets overly friendly. He does tend to talk too much when he gets on one of his obsessive interests, but he monologues more than talks back and forth. And while I was never at a loss for words, his answers are often "I don't know" or "I don't care" or "I don't want to talk about it now." I am NOT a literal thinker. I don't believe that is a bipolar trait at all. Also, although I went through a period of time where I didn't like to go to open spaces or crowded places, it was related to my phobia of passing out. My son didn't like to go because of overstimulation.
    You really have to be careful. There are some overlapping symptoms, however they are very different disorders and the behaviors are triggered by very different things. If you try to treat Aspegers like bipolar the person will likely not improve, as the major problem with Aspies is not moodswings but cluelessness about social skills, life skills, and a different way of thinking. There are no delusions. There is no mania. There can be mild depression. The Aspies improve with time if they are given the proper school and community interventions. medications are very secondary to Aspergers. It is not a cure. Bipolar gets worse with time (trust me on this) especially if it isn't properly medicated. medications are MANDATORY for controlling bipolar, and mood stabilizers do the best job. One thing I have recently learned from my doctors is that people with mood disorders tend to have memory problems. This is not the case with Aspies. Once they learn something they are like an elephant. They NEVER EVER forget.
    So I thought I'd discuss the differences rather than the same traits because there really are A LOT of differences. It is the fault of the doctors that they misdiagnose so often.
    That's why I prefer NeuroPsychs. They do a better job discriminating between the two disorders--and other disorders as well. Other differences: Bipolar kids, in particular, tend to focus on blood, guts and gore and talk about possibly cutting people up, even though they don't mean it. This is RARE for an Aspie. Bipolar kids can be good liars. Nobody lies worse than an Aspie. Bipolar kids are at greater risk than Aspies to abuse drugs. Aspies like to follow rules and have structure and often demands it. Bipolars often are chaotic and can't order their lives at all and actually tend to thrive on excitement and chaos (I know I did. It's kind of a manicky thing). Aspies like sameness. They hate drama, noise, anger (even if they get so frustrated that THEY get angry--they really don't want to trigger a family war). Hypermanic bipolars get relief sometimes by causing drama. All the chaos makes you feel better. It's hard to explain...lol. Bipolars are more likely to cut.
    Hope this helped. Of course, all kids are different, as are all adults. I am pointing out what I know of the differences between the two disorders, but I'm sure others will come along with their own points of view.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think that almost every symptom can be attributed to more than one disorder. I know that Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), sensory integration disorder, seems to be a part of almost every disease. Or at least the sensory issues are - I dont' know if they actually diagnosis the disorder every time. But I think MOST of our kids could be helped with brushing therapy. After learning how to do it properly and getting the OK from the occupational therapist I used brushing therapy with all 3 of my kids. It helped them all. thank you was the youngest, and his brain I guess adapted easiest, so it was more obvious in him. Jess has the fewest symptoms, and no real diagnosis other than epilepsy, but it really helped her also. It decreased her migraines and made her MUCH easier to live with during her period. For Wiz it certainly helped him tolerate the family and he was less aggressive when he would allow the brushing.

    ADHD is the diagnosis I think an overwhelming number of us start with. The various types and symptoms of ADHD seem to be part of so many disorders that I have a very hard time seeing it as a stand alone diagnosis. I know it is considered to be. And I have NO medical training other than what I have learned as a patient and parent. But it seems that so very very many of our kids have ADHD sx. With Aspergers Syndrome, ADHD really IS a symptom. It was described to me this way: ADHD is part of the Aspergers, but if it isn't written as a separate diagnosis then there are not as many services available to the child. The insurance companies tend to squawk over various treatments if ADHD isn't "formally" a diagnosis, but it isn't a "primary" diagnosis for my Aspie.

    Since I don't care WHAT they call it as long as he gets the help, I didn't fuss or fight it.

    People with Aspergers perseverate or obsess on things. Often they have one big topic of overwhelming interest and NO interest in many other things. Depending on the degree of it, the Aspie may or may not have a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It also depends on how well they HIDE it, because some of them do learn to hide it. And even with the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) letters tacked on, the patient may or may not get treatment for the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - it may just be swept up into the other accomodations and medications.

    But Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tendencies can also be bipolar. Same for ADHD, and so many other things..

    My Aspie is NOT schizophrenic or bipolar. But he DID have hallucinations for a while. (VERY FRIGHTENING to me, esp as he was fixated on violence at the time).

    Much of the time the diagnosis depends on the degree of the symptom, what the doctor sees most in the patient, what the doctor really HEARS the parents say, what he actually pays attention to, and what drug rep has been through or what paper he is writing.

    Diagnosing mental illness is not like diagnosing strep throat - they can't just take a swab, make you gag, and grow some funky cells to see what kills them. Mental illness is more like the blind men who see the elephant for the first time - the different parts that they touch define what they consider the elephant to be, and the different parts the doctor sees/pays attention to define what diagnosis is given.

    This is why it can take YEARS to get a correct diagnosis. It is why we encourage parents to push for very intensive testing whether it be from a neuropsychologist or a multidisciplinary team or a developmental pediatrician or whomever will work with you to tease out the right answer.

    Oddly enough, the very first time we saw a psychiatrist (with the md - we had seen 5 or 6 psychologists by this time) she told me she thought the diagnosis would end up being Aspergers, but she wanted to wait and do some testing and she wanted me to THINK about trying stimulants for the ADHD part.

    Ten years later lots of other docs have suggested lots of things, and many have been ruled out as conclusively as I guess you can rule them out. Not bipolar - no mania. Certainly depression, but mood stabilizers do nothing and with-o an antidepressant he tries to kill himself. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), OH YEAH, but it is treated by the same medication that handles the depression. ADHD, most certainly - and a non-stimulant medication is helpful with that.

    And he doesn't sleep. So he gets a mild dose of an older anti-depressant at bedtime and it works like a charm.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    On a possible point of similarity - Aspies can get VERY depressed. difficult child 1 has been suicidal. it used to be thought that people on the autism spectrum had no emotions. That now is known to be so far wrong. Not only do they have emotions, they often feel things very, very strongly. They just don't always express those emotions in ways we recognise.

    I was watching difficult child 3 last week at the Rolf Harris concert - difficult child 3 was laughing along, almost hysterical laughter, but there was something seemingly contrived about his laughter, like this was how he was expected to behave if he wanted to show that he was enjoying the humour.

    I know difficult child 3 wasn't faking his enjoyment; but it LOOKED faked because it is the only way he knows to show his enjoyment at that level.

    I see similar things in his drama classmates. One young man (18) comes up to me each time to say hello. He puts his hand out to shake mine and then carefully schools his face into a smile, which doesn't reach his eyes. I know he is glad to see me; he is trying to show me this. But he has to work at it. To someone who doesn't know him it's creepy. easy child 2/difficult child 2 knows him and finds him creepy. She was worried he had a crush on her, because although she's 22 she only looks about 16 or younger. This young man apparently idolises our family, his mother tells me. And I think he is practicing his social skills on us all.

    Maybe there's another difference for us - Aspies try to seem normal because they feel as if they are an alien species. Whereas often BiPolar (BP) kids either already 'get it' but don't feel they have to struggle so hard to behave like everyone else.

    What do you think?

  5. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    wow, this is great info. Mwm, thank you. Much of what you wrote is very helpful to me. My husband has horrible memory, in fact I have to print out my schedule for the next 2 weeks for him so he knows where I am. Makes him feel more secure. When I said husband and difficult child obsess, it is different than only being interested in one topic. I guess it would be more like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), or just being a pita. husband has to have the towels folded a certain way. No one else will fold laundry, because he is what my sister calls The laundry nazi.

    I think that disorders, like people, can manifest a little differently in each person. My son and husband, who have improved drastically with mood stablizers and different medications, create chaos. As for thriving in it, they may for a while but they crash soon and hard. It is not pretty.

    I think ADHD is where many of us start, we started there. It just did not end there.

    Susie, I agree. I don't care what they call it as long as my child improves. And he has, by leaps and bounds. He has gone all year without being suspended and has a friend. Someone his own age who wants to spend time with him.

    I hope I am not offending anyone by starting this thread, but I really am just curious, and am always trying to figure out how to help my husband and difficult child. Not to mention poor easy child, who will probably end up in therapy just so she can cope.
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Okay, well my husband would call ME the same thing! :rofl: But honestly, I only fold them MY way because it's the only way I can get them to all FIT in the linen closet! And I have a particular way to fold shirts so that the front doesn't have a crease down the middle. Does that make me a laundry nazi? or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? But hey... guess what! I don't fold my underwear! So what does that make me? :rofl: Lazy?

    Okay, these kinds of threads really get me thinking...

    husband has a mood disorder, of that I'm sure. If I had to pick one, I'd say cyclothymic. He likely has ADHD to a certain degree. And he tends towards the depressive end of things.

    He can be very gregarious. He can be explosively angry. He is easily distracted. He starts projects only to leave them unfinished for months and months and months. He can be a whirlwind of activity and get multiple projects done in one weekend. He is very disorganized at home, but surprisingly organized and detailed at work. Yet he can organize and tidy a room that's in chaos where I can only look at it and be overwhelmed, not knowing where to start. He has been obsessive and compulsive and impulsive about a lot of things. He has gone on crazy stupid spending/gambling sprees. He has been obsessive/compulsive about sex. He has been violent and actually assaulted people (college). He has been argumentative, confrontational and close to physically violent with strangers. He can be generous to a fault. He sometimes appears to be socially delayed. He usually misses nonverbal cues. He has a very poor memory (even before brain surgery). He is very, very smart about some things. And very, very clueless about a lot of other things.

    difficult child 1 has a lot of Aspie traits (I'm thinking of getting a neuropsychologist for him before highschool starts next Fall), but is definitely ADHD with a lot of anxiety.

    difficult child 2 was suggested to be Aspie by the school, but the neuropsychologist said highly doubtful and psychiatrist has never mentioned it. I can't say that he's BiPolar (BP), but he's definitely been hypomanic, and mildly depressed. So perhaps he's more like husband and at the cyclothymic end of the spectrum. And the part that used to be ADHD is now the smallest bit that we see.

    The funny thing about the mental illness elephant like Susiestar describes, is that not only do you have a bunch of blind men describing the different parts, but you've got different elephants they're looking at on any given day. So one might be tall, one might have a longer trunk, one might have less hair, etc. There are SO many variations and subtleties. There's no one-size-fits-all solution because there's no one-size-fits-all disorder. Each person's illness is uniquely their own.
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I've had a *really* hard time letting go of my laundry folding issues. The kids don't fold at all like I do. I have to take a deep breath and bite my tongue and just be thankful they're doing it. And, yes, the towels should be folded a certain way so that you unfold it once and it's still folded to hang over the towel rack when you need - with the corners evenly matched up, of course. I have not, however, turned over sock matching to the kids. That would throw me completely over the edge. :rofl:

    difficult child will NOT let go of anything. I think the word I've seen used here is perseverate, but I'm not exactly sure what that means. She just goes on and on and on. Days, weeks, months later it will still be going. She has to have complete quiet - I mean complete quiet - when working or she can't work. She can't tune out the other noise. She had trouble in school because a classmate would tap his pencil and she couldn't do her work. She doesn't do transition well - from one task to another. She often starts a task very frustrated and ends up calming down by about the middle way through. She wants me to fix things that can't possibly be fixed: her foot itching, the heat in her room, a tv program that has been cancelled. She gets an idea in her head about something and you cannot change it. She doesn't get sarcasm most of the time, but is better than she used to be. I have to be overly expressive when using sarcasm so that she would get it.

    I'll think of more tomorrow when my sleep medications have worn off.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    One important thing: Aspergers is NOT NOT NOT mental illness, which is why so many psychiatrists miss it. It is a neurological difference. Some Aspies have co-morbid problems (be careful--they tried to say my son had bipolar AND Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, but that turned out to be wrong). The most significant difference with my son and me is that he's happier than me and far less moody. But mood disorders are common with Aspies. My son DOES get a little depressed at times (he said so, but ALSO said it isn't often and it goes away fast). Bipolars are controlled by their crazy moodswings. Aspies/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified are controlled by their singleminded interest and social cluelessness. I need medication. My Aspie/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified son does better off of all medications and plain out doesn't like medication (he was on medications when he had his wrong diagnosis of bipolar). Interestingly, in families where bipolar is common, there is more autism.
    I like the 6-10 hour neuropsychologist evaluation precisely because NeuroPsychs know about both bipolar and Aspergers and ADHD and learning disabilities and do intensive testing to try to find out exactly what is going on. A one hour evaluation is often just not intensive enough to diagnose our kids, whatever is wrong.
    The type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) behavior in autism/Aspergers is like an inability to let go, a wish for constant sameness, and perseverance (to put it mildly). Our neuropsychologist doesn't treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) behaviors in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids because it's all part and parcel of the spectrum. I don't know if he is the rule or the exception. ADHD behavior is also part and parcel of the spectrum and is usually the first diagnosis one gets, unless it's ADHD/ODD (our first diagnosis). The kids are NOT being defiant though. They are freaking out because they are frustrated or, in many cases, are experiencing anxiety over transitional changes or sometimes even how we changed the furnture in the house--they don't like change. My son can handle all of these things better as he gets over, at least outwardly. Also, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids often "stimulant." That can be making loud smacking noises, flapping their arms, masturbating in inappropriate places (as they, especially at a young age, are socially clueless), making strange high pitched noises--my son still does the latter, although only in his room. The kids HAVE to stimulant. It's an outlet. They also may rock or bounce (my son broke his bed from bouncing on it). Aspies/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified kids often have flat expressions and voices. But then again when excited they can become quite animated, especially when talking about their obsessive interest, which can range from dinosaurs to weather to videogames (my son has the latter one, and it's far more extreme than you regular child videogame enthusiast). He can literally name everything about Mario from Mario Brothers and Sonic (his two obsessions). He knows the dates each game came out. He knows every single power of every single character. He knows how old each character is. He can talk about Mario and Sonic (the games) and make the games sound like rocket science with his "Little Professor" way of speaking. We have to force him to do his sports and in summer he goes to all day summer school or he would do nothing except play videogames and watch his special shows on television. NOTHING...lol! He does not know how to amuse himself when he doesn't have his props. He doesn't have an imagination. So he usually walks around picking things up and examining them, but doesn't join in the interaction of kids his age unless he is specifically asked to join in, and even then sometimes he would rather not. He is very different from me, the scatter-brained, all-over-the-place bipolar person. The symptoms overlap, but I think the kids are very different. JMO again. I'll shut up now...lol. Have a good day :)
  9. compassion

    compassion Member

    My difficult child,15 defintly has bipolar smptoms: grandiose,delusitons, manic at times (irratible, high enrgy on little sleep, cannnot be at home, socilizes constantly, loud music, and gets into attracting sexua attention) She loves vampires and horror movies. This side loves chaos, excitement, and lies. Mood stabilizers help a lot. So does the antipyschotic. Had a lot of rages before medications.
    There is a side and at this point I htinkit is more her basic personlity than Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). She is basicly shy, a very concrete and sequential thinker. She is great with techie stuff: digital cameras,computers, video games, and loves tv. She is very literal and very perservering. She has trouble with change and transitins. She likes and needs to know exactly when and what will happen. She is often cluselss as to social skills, life skills, and different ways of thinking. She does best with structure broken doen in small increments. She is a dependable voulnteer for the HUmane Society. She is a dendandable team member of her sports team. She prefers one freind.
    I really try to reinforce the basic personality stuff while recognizing the bipolar stuff.
    Art, exercise, creativity are healthy oulets for the bipolar. Sleep, esting well and medications help.
    Her t-doctor , me, p-doctor AA helping with basic soical skills, life skills, and differnt ways of thinking. She needs support to do things other than escaping in movies, computer, music, shopping.
  10. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    ok guys, you really have to see the laundry nazi in action to appreciate him. He bellows out, Who folded the towels? Like anyone is going to admit it?? Then we have to listen to him. Then there is the recycling. He picks things out of the garbage that need to be recycled. It is nutty. Little things.

    I think more than anything I am tired of the incessant negativity and *itching. Just gets old. I think a lot of that is due to how husband was raised, without a good word for anything or anyone.
  11. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    What a useful thread! I am learning so much from all of you.

    Susiestar your descriptions were soooo helpful. I only have one thing to say about the laundry... there is only one way to fold towels and it isn't into a square. I like mine folded the way the hotels do it. They look nicer. :D

    I have depression and anxiety. Treating one without the other leaves me in a mess (I've learned the hard way). The diagnosis began with anxiety when I went back to school and set expectations way too high for myself. This resulted in panic attacks and feeling like I was having a heart attack. Things that trigger my panic attacks/anxiety are when the kids are fighting, there is too much noise, there is too much on my "to do" list, and when I over commit myself. Medication definately helps me to calm down so I can do what I need to do.

    The depression has been much more difficult. It is only in the last few years that depression was discovered for me. Until then, I just thought I was "different". I finished school and my world fell apart. I thrive on the keeping busy and staying in high gear despite my anxiety issues. Kind of a contradiction huh? For over a year I was on medication that helped me and then stopped working. I spent the next year on a medication that made me worse. Finally I sought the assistance of a psychiatrist who was able to get my medicine corrected within a very short time period. Now I am on the right combination of medication and most days function just fine.

    All the recent discoveries with my son have really kicked my anxiety and depression into high gear. I get depressed and begin to think..."what kind of parent can't control their child" "if I had been a better mom....." I'm sure you know the drill. I try to stay focused on my son and avoid the negative self talk. Medication alone isn't good enough for this. After two years of counseling, I don't know that I will ever go without it and I think this triggers a lot of fears in getting my son diagnosis.

    I see my son with a little of everything everyone is discussing here. yes, he does this, no he doesn't do that.... This thread is very helpful. Yesterday I got a note from school that said he had hit someone. Prior to that (he has a period by period brakedown on his behavior) he had trouble reading a test and got angry when the teacher didn't help him. Hmmm???? I'm learning aren't I?
  12. Nancy423

    Nancy423 do I have to be the mom?

    thank you for everyone who contributed to this thread. We're still in the process of sorting difficult child out. By researching different diagnosis's I've seen how much of an overlap the Sx's can have. I'm confused myself! From what i've heard from all the psychiatrists, and other prof's that I'm not alone in the confusion. I always hear that she has a little bit of everything LOL