Do ADD, ODD and other kids' diagnoses eventually change to schizophreniia?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Linsey, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. Linsey

    Linsey New Member

    My son, 12 yrs old, has a history of diagnoses - ADD, ODD, adjustment disorder. I recently read a post on one of the forums. It was from a young man, a schizophrenic, and his line of thinking just stroke me, that is how my son sees things. He is defiant, sometimes violent, preoccupied with mistical things, believes in things that would not make sences to anybody. A lot of other issues similar to what kids of the parents on this board are experiencing. I got on and read some more, cried some more. Do you think that our childhood diagnoses are just the beginning of schizophrenia or bipolar? Is there a hope that our kids would somehow grow out of it?
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Mine started with just an ADHD and ODD diagnosis. When you say yours is obsessed with mystical things, can you be more specific? Do you mean the kind of things typically associated with schizophrenia like hearing voices, or as an intellectual pursuit, or the way ASDers have their obsessions?
  3. Linsey

    Linsey New Member

    Sometimes he is affraid that we will poison him and wants us to try his food before he eats it, believes that the presidents are evil people that exploit everybody else, believes in ghosts, secret societies, world conspiracy.
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    Who diagnosed your son? GENERALLY schizophrenia is not diagnosed in kids, in my opinion, because it is VERY RARELY seen in kids. Schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder GENERALLY present themselves between the ages of 18 and 29. Often the onset of the diagnosis comes 'out of the blue', In other words NO previous serious mental health issues.

    Is your son on any medication? If so, how long? Were these behaviors/symptoms present BEFORE medication was started? Many psychiatric medications can cause side effects or bad reactions that mimic symptoms of schizophrenia.

    I'm not a Dr, I do not diagnosis - no one on this site does or can. But it certainly sounds like you already know what you are dealing with. If it's not an effect of the medication, I urge you to urge your psychiatrist to come up with a more appropriate and comprehensive treatment plan.

    Edit this, if it IS an effect of the medication, I urge you to urge the psychiatrist to change the medication.
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    It depends on the kid. For my Kanga, her diagnosis just kept getting more severe and now the psychiatrists are just waiting until she is 18 to officially add "Borderline Personality Disorder" to her list.

    But for my other three, their diagnosis all became less severe as they got older. They are all closer to easy child than difficult child now, although the boys still have their moments ;)
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    ODD is a very "odd" diagnosis, in that often its used for "we don't know what else to label it". So, ODD can "become" something else... not because the diagnosis really changes, but because some things are not diagnosis'd young, and other things take some "history" to figure out.

    ADD/ADHD would not be that way... that is, IF the diagnosis is correct in the first place. But ADD/ADHD are frequently misdiagnosed - either diagnosis given when it isn't, or not given when it should be.

    Anxiety issues, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and some other diagnosis's may play out the same way.

    So, I'd have to say that sometimes, these can be "place-holder" diagnosis's... especially for serious issues like schitz.

    But in your case... I'd be pushing some of the less serious issues first.
    This whole food thing... could be Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - obsessive compulsive disorder, or something else on the anxiety disorder spectrum. There may be other possible diagnosis's as well. ADD and/or ODD definitely do not account for that behavior.
    You might try broadening your range of research...

    Drug reactions and/or interactions are also a possible explanation, worth exploring.

    For most things, kids do not "just" grow out of it, but many things, with the right diagnosis and the right help, can learn how to be productive, acceptable members of society.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    ADD & ADHD are generally just that. Other disorders in the early stages can look like ADD or ADHD, but they are already something else. in our family, the initial diagnosis was ADD/ADHD and then Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in various forms was diagnosed, except for easy child 2/difficult child 2. whose diagnosis of ADD still stands alone. We think she's Aspie.

    In our family, nobody as a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar, but we have plenty of kids (my kids plus nephews and nieces) who have been diagnosed ADHD. A couple also have Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) diagnoses.

    If you are concerned that your child is heading for a bipolar diagnosis or schizophrenia diagnosis, then dig deeper. And yes, in such cases the initial diagnosis can be ADD or ADHD - perhaps not a correct diagnosis, with hindsight. But schizophrenia does not develop from ADD or ADHD. It is a different condition.

  8. Linsey

    Linsey New Member

    He is not on any medication, we tried to refrain from them them as long as we can. He was a great baby and toddler, funny, creative, a joy to have. The problems started as soon as he started kindergarten. He could not follow directions, left handed, had very bad fine motor skills, was not interested in learning at all. By the third grade he had IEP, then we put him in a very small private school, which seemed to work well for him. He has always been very impulsive, never read any directions or instructions for the tests, which was attributed to ADD. But in the recent year or two I noticed gradual change of personality. He does not seem to enjoy any regular activities, became very needy and desperate in the every day things. He cannot do anything fast when others ask him to hurry up, has no sence of time. Has issues with authority figures and any requests from others. When he is asks to do smth, he stops and slows down even if it is not in his interest. He became attracted to weapons and religion, talks seriously about revolutions and world takeover, cannot speak about anything else for the most part. He lost contact with his friends who are not interested in his ideas, tries to make toy weapons. He got into fights with his sisters and friends. It seems as he is going into a different world of his fantasies and perceptions.
  9. Linsey

    Linsey New Member

    Last week I tried to cautiously ask him if he thinks in different voices. He said, yes everybody can imagine that, he also said that he can create cartoons in his mind. The next day he said he was just kidding. I was not sure what to make of it.
  10. seriously

    seriously New Member

    I think you need to take him to a child psychiatrist for evaluation very soon. If you have health insurance with mental health coverage, I would call them tonight or tomorrow and tell them this information and ask for their help getting an appointment as soon as it can be arranged.

    I wouldn't dream of diagnosing him by forum post but those are typical signs of serious mental illness.

    Generally speaking, with serious mental illness like bipolar or schizophrenia the sooner it is treated the better things will turn out in the long run.

    If you don't have the resources to get a psychiatric assessment you may also want to see if there is an EDIPPP or EDAPT research study anywhere near you. This is a research program that is trying to identify kids at risk of psychosis and then provide intervention including medication and family support to help prevent the onset or development of more severe symptoms.

    Here's a link to more information about this research program and locations

    I would make sure your son's school is aware of these symptoms and, if he is not already in an ED classroom that he have an updated psycho-educational and social-emotional development assessment.

    If you have any weapons in your home, please, please lock them up or get them out of the house altogether. Same with any relatives or homes he spends time in on a regular basis.

  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Just my opinion, and I'm "just a parent", but...
    I split your post into 3 parts (above), to make it easier to respond...

    1. If you need medications and are not getting them, it can be as bad as having the wrong medications. I'm not pro- or anti-medications. But I believe - from experience - that they have their place. Need the right diagnosis first, and a good psychiatrist to work with... but don't close your mind to the possibility.

    2. Could not follow directions, very bad fine motor skills... Have these ever been seriously followed up on? There's a whole range of diagnosis's that could account for these... from Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)-related, to ADHD/executive functions issues, to developmental dyspraxia (or Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD))... to auditory processing problems... to who knows what else. Some of these do NOT show up until they hit school. And then school destroys the kid, because no one sees the basic underlying issues as important. Grade 3 is a common time to start going off the rails - they start to move from "learning to read" to "reading to learn" - and so on with every basic skill (math, writing, etc.). They never did get the basic skills - so, can't do the next level of work. Often, they are bright kids - and they can't figure out why they are so "stupid". He needs as complete and thorough an evaluation as you can get for him, and as fast as possible. This will require more than one specialist... neurypsych or psychiatrist, Occupational Therapist (OT), Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), and whatever else. Trying to cope in life with these kinds of problems and not having the support you need, is enough to drive any person over the edge.

    3. Sometimes, these can be symptoms of male depression - and its usually missed - usually considered a behavior issue or other kinds of issues, but not depression. Aggression, withdrawal, anger, change of personality, detachment... serious red flags here. Given what I've noted in the points above, I'd make THIS the primary driver in seeking help - not because it is the source of the problem (its likely secondary), but because medical resources can (not that they always do) see the urgency in dealing with a mental health issue, when they might minimize some other issues (including dyspraxia, LDs, auditory issues...). Sometimes their fantasy world is an escape from the powerlessness and hopelessness of their lives... so they try to live in an alternate world where they are strong and powerful. Earlier on the thread, you mentioned him being a runaway. Another mental health flag. Do you have access to a therapist or psychiatrist? Please start going down that road.

    Note: There is a difference between "mental health" and "mental illness"... two totally different subjects. It will take a therapist or psychiatrist to figure out which it is. If the issue is "mental illness", then its things like BiPolar (BP) or Schitz - something definitely out of kilter in the wiring. That doesn't make these cases hopeless, but its more like chronic illness - say, cystic fibrosis. If the issue is "mental health", then its usually something that isn't going right at the moment - things like depression, or anxiety (but this can be either one) - in which case, its more like an acute illness - say, a serious infection... if not treated, it could be deadly, but with appropriate timely treatment the prognosis is excellent, often with no lasting effects.

    You have a tough road ahead of you - but it can be done.
    It is not too late.
    You should have about 2 years... before he hits highschool.
    But YOU have to take control - be the driver. Find resources. Research. Network. Push buttons, knock on doors (or knock down, as the need arises). Pull chains.

    For starters... begin creating a parent report. You're going to need it... (its documented under site resources).
    Then, search within your self for your own biases, and confront them. We can't change the rest of the world until we begin with ourselves.

    You've come to the right place. None of us is expert in anything... but there's I-don't-know-how-many-lifetimes of experience hanging around.
    You'll be pushed, prodded, and confronted - but also listened to, included, and when necessary, hugged.

    Take a deep breath.
    Go look in the mirror and repeat after me: "Yes I can".
    Then go for it.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's tricky to ask questions on this. In her book "Life Behind Glass", Australian social worker Wendy Lawson describes how she was put in a locked psychiatric ward for a considerable number of years when, at the age of about 19, a psychiatrist asked her, "Do you hear voices?" and she replied, "Of course I do! Doesn't everyone?"

    It turned out that she was Asperger's and also very literal-minded. Of course you HEAR voices; you don't SEE them or touch them. On the basis of that the psychiatrist had described her as having a psychotic break and suffering from schizophrenia. A serious mis-diagnosis in this case, all because the shrink was thinking one way and the patient in an entirely different way.

  13. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    That also sounded to me like a very literal answer, as Aspies would do. Kiddo's obsessions change, but it's almost always something her peers have no interest in and she has no interest in what they like. This causes conflict and makes her feel isolated, even hated. She reacts with depression and aggression.

    So many individual symptoms can be attributed to many different things, can mimic other diagnosis's as well. You need a good psychiatrist willing to take the hours needed to tease out everything and sort into order. Can you get a referral to a neuropsychologist for full testing?
  14. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I got the 'Aspie' feel from that answer too. My daughter with Schitzophrenia would not have answered it that way.

    If ADHD is the correct diagnosis and he is not on the appropriate medications for it, he may simply becoming more and more frustrated as the tasks in life get harder and he can't make his brain work well enough to do what he knows he is capable of doing.
  15. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    He sounds soooo Aspie to me. As parents, we don't always notice "differences" until they enter school because until then, there really aren't any learning requirements and many things are chalked up to their age. The limited interests and socialization difficulties and rigidity and ADD-like symptoms and impulsivity are all part of Asperger's. He sounds a lot like my difficult child only mine's "interest" is fishing. As for the hearing voices and cartoons in his head, SUCH an Aspie response.

    Take it for what it's worth. This is just from my experience and interpretation of what you've shared. I would get to a child psychiatrist or a neuropsychiatrist. It is time to narrow down ACCURATELY what you're dealing with so you can deal with it/treat it properly.
  16. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome. Glad you found us. Like many others I strongly encourage you to find the very best child psychiatrist available near your area. I would also encourage you to find the very best neuro/psychiatric evaluator (usually six hours plus of non invasive and non traumatic testing often done by a team that shares the testing time). It is very important to find out exactly what issues he has and to avoid trying to self-diagnosis. Only the true experts can ascertain what his issues are and how best to help him function at his very best. The early you begin the process the better the chances that he will have a truly successful life. Take the plunge and feel free to post frequently for support. Hugs. DDD
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Linsey.
    I have to admit, I'm glad that others weighed in here b4 I did, because I immediately thought of my son. He is Aspie and has gone through a lot of stages, similar to your son. But, like many other things, we tend to label what we are familiar with, so I didn't think my response was more than knee-jerk.
    Now that your paragraphs and responses have been parsed, I'm chiming in to say, yes, get a better diagnosis, try some medications, get immediate intervention.
    I, too, spent a few days in tears, fearing that my son was schizophrenic. But you can't diagnosis in a bubble, from one or two incidents. It takes yrs for some dxes, expescially difficult dxes like schizophrenia.
    I would also emphasize continuing to help him cope with-demands from other people by creating workable systems, such as breaking tasks into smaller pieces, and learning to verbalize when he is stressed out. I am thinking that he is retreating into a fantasy world in part, because it's easier than fulfillilng other people's demands, Know what I mean??

    Many hugs.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome. in my opinion this is a very individual thing. My gfgbro has had many of those thoughts, esp about people in power like presidents, popes, etc... just trying to mess with you for $$. For decades he refused to ever speak to a therapist or psychiatrist because they are just out to get you and report what you say to the military defense complex - because ALL mental health professionals report details of every patient to the "military defense complex".

    Most do not develop schizophrenia - that tends to run in families as a genetic disorder. Many of our kids hsow symptoms that could be interpreted that way and it is hard to tell. The problem is that the symptoms for these disorders all overlap each other in children.

    Whatever is going on, many hugs and welcome.
  19. BeachPeace

    BeachPeace Guest

    I just wanted to chime in with the others about Asperger's syndrome and offer my experience. My daughter has AS and the last few years (ages 8-11) I have really watched her pull away from us into her own world at times.
    I would not dream of offering a diagnosis to you, but like the other parents here we can offer insight as to our experiences.
    It may be worth looking into.
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    A few weeks ago I posted a link to an Aussie radio interview with Tony Attwood, on Asperger's. It was brilliant, and dispelled a lot of the misconceptions (such as Aspies having no empathy - that is rubbish). It is available as a podcast, we have it downloaded as mp3 is anyone wants a copy and can't find it online.

    The interview was on 2BL and the interviewer was Richard Fidler. It goes for about 45 minutes. I listened to it again today, and I do think it would be very useful to listen to, because it directly answers a lot of the questions raised in this thread.