Finally have a Diagnosis

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Mandy, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    I received difficult child's evaluation in the mail yesterday and I meet with his psychiatric. next Thurs. to discuss it. It explains that because of his age the diagnosis she is currently making is Mood Disorder-not otherwise specified with ODD. She also put him at high risk for developing the bipolar disorder and ADHD and wants him re-evaluated at age 7. She is leaving it up to his pedi and me to discuss putting him on a mood stabalizer because of his age. They also listed resources for so is this saying he is bipolar without formally diagnosing it yet?? I wanted to get your input to see if anyone has received this diagnosis before and what it meant for their child. Thank you for any info you can give!!

    Forgot to mention his IQ came out at 107 with only being below average in social skills so no Aspbergers was mentioned.
  2. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Hello and welcome.

    My daughter went through the same thing. They would not formally diagnosis her BiPolar (BP) because she was too young. We got the same diagnosis, Mood Disorder not otherwise specified. I can't say for sure what dxs your child will end up with, I am not a doctor. I wouldn't want to give you the wrong information but I will say that my daughter started out the same way. She is now diagnosis BiPolar (BP), Borderline (BPD), CD, ADHD and Depression. I also believe that they called her "Early onset Bipolar' at some point. Can't remember what age though.

    Sounds like you have found a good doctor who wants to be very thorough. You are on the right path. That makes all the difference, finding the right "proffessionals" will make this journey a little bit easier.

    Keep us posted. :)
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hmm. A good sized IQ with-low social skills does, indeed sound like Asperger's. But they didn't mention it. Good thing you're going to re-evaluate in a few yrs.
    I completely understand about not jumping through the gate about mood stabilizers at that age. The only thing I would suggest is something to help him sleep at night. Sleep is imperative for both bipolar and Asperger's, as is routine, routine, routine.

    What do you think about the results? I would be picking that psychiatric's brains, Big Time, next Thurs!
  4. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    After reading Terrys post I just wanted to add that my daughter's IQ has always been around 80 and she has had trouble with school her entire life. Her school behavior did not deteriorate until middle school. She has been labeled Learning Disability (LD) since the 2nd grade. She did fine in Elementary School though.
  5. My son is also called Mood Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified because, as his psychiatric puts it, there isn't really a name for him yet. The psychiatric also thought he was too young (5 at the time) to have an ODD diagnosis. They still won't call him ODD and he's 8 now.

    To me, drugs are a roulette game -- maybe it will work; maybe it won't. I tried other methods for a good year before we started trying drugs with my son since I wasn't too thrilled with playing a roulette game with a 5-year-old's brain chemistry. A developmental specialist told me in a very nice way that even if he wasn't on the right drugs at first, they wouldn't harm him any more than the all the stress hormones running through his body the way he was back then. So we started trying drugs and I wished we'd started earlier. It took several tries, but he is now on Lamictal and doing rather well. Risperdal was a nightmare and that's so many docs' first choice. But you don't know -- so many children do well with it.

    Some people feel that too many children are being labeled bipolar -- that it's a "trendy" diagnosis. Before that, they say that too many children were called ADHD -- and before that, ADD. I don't really know the truth of it. However, it could be that your doctor gave you the info for bipolar because there are useful tips for dealing with your child's behavior or she wanted you to watch for certain behaviors. I read everything and try things that look good, whether it's related to my son's diagnosis or not.

    The Explosive Child by Ross Greene has worked very well for us -- I give a copy to his teacher at the beginning of each school year so they can work with him better.

    Good luck!
  6. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    I am definitly picking her brain and already have his follow up scheduled with his pedi the following thursday to see what her opinion of the evaluation is. I am definitly thinking of trying him on a mood stabalizer since we have already went the route of gluten-free diet and are using 1.5mg of melatonin for sleep. He is slightly improved but still seems all over the place with his mood. Some nights the diet & melatonin work like a charm and some nights he's stays awake right through the melatonin. I don't want to increase his dosage yet in case his body starts to adapt and I need to later.

    I definitly agree he has a mood disorder, but I did some research and there are cases of Apsergers comorbid with BiPolar (BP) so I am not sure yet??

    Thanks for responding so quickly:D
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Some people feel that too many children are being labeled bipolar -- that it's a "trendy" diagnosis.

    Yes, this is true.
    But ... I see in your profile, Mandy, that your are BiPolar (BP), and there is a strong case for genetics. All you can do is keep your eyes open. You're doing all the right things. :)
  8. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    Terry~ There is a strong connection to genetics in BiPolar (BP) and I read the biploar child which gives you stats on parent(s) with the disorder, siblings, etc. Thanks for mentioning it!!;)
  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Our psychiatrist also will only "officially" give the Mood Disorder-not otherwise specified to our difficult child 2 until he gets on the other side of puberty. That's not to say that in private he won't concede that my difficult child 2 has all the markings of Early Onset Bi-Polar (EOBP). He explained to me that you cannot know for sure how things will play out until they are older and whether or not a BiPolar (BP) diagnosis will stick. He also said that the earlier you treat the symptoms with medication, the better chance you have of preventing the disorder from becoming a full-blown case. So perhaps instead of developing BiPolar (BP) I, they only develop BiPolar (BP) II, or instead of BPII, it is reduced to Cyclothymia, etc.

    What matters most is that you are being proactive in getting your child the supports needed, whether that's through medication, therapy, school services, or a combination of those things! You're doing a great job :D
  10. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    Thank you GCVMOM!!!:redface: Our psychiatrist also explained to me at the last visit because his brain is still growing until age 6 she won't put a BiPolar (BP) diagnosis on him until a later age, but because I have BiPolar (BP) their are red flags to watch for. This could be why she gave him the Mood Disorder not otherwise specified...

    Oh, and I also read abt. early intervention for BiPolar (BP) because they believe your brain can train itself in a way to go through the cycling so if you can stop the cycling early you have a better shot. I have definitly noticed him getting worse every year so I am hoping we can get treatment early!
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Another way of looking at it, which is the way the pediatrician explained it to me and it helped me feel a lot more comfortable:

    1) Kids have mood cycling that doesn't fit the criteria for official diagnosis because that criteria is based on the way BiPolar (BP) presents itself in adults

    2) When my son was very young (infant-4yo), he had asthmatic wheezing and a bunch of kids were being diagnosis'd with asthma at that point in time. My son stopped having wheezing at 4yo- so, was he mis-diagnosis'd because they say if you have asthma, you have it all your life; was it the "trendy" diagnosis at the time?; or was it that the official basis of the diagnosis being a lifelong problem wrong?- The pediatrician said that doctors are able to identify symptoms in kids earlier and better as time goes on and they try to treat the symptoms; the symptoms are really there and just as they are able to see wheezing in more young kids now, they are able to identify extreme mood cycling in young kids now. They really don't know yet if all these kids will grow up to meet diagnosis criteria for bipolar and some of these kids might not end up with lifelong problems of mood cycling. But, appropriate treatment and early interventions will maximize their chances for any possible "outgrowing of it", and will only help them if it does turn out to be "true", lifelong bipolar. As you mentioned- early interventions help "train" the brain, possibly prevent worsening. She said just like with asthma, if we refuse to treat the early signs we are now able to see, the damage done by not having early treatment could be what causes a lifelong problem in some cases.

    Just like with my son't wheezing, treating it when it was there and learning triggers, preventative measures, and taking a pro-active approach has prevented him from having a lifelong asthmatic problem. So, he no longer has that official diagnosis, but we treat it more like it's in remission and my son has grown up learning certain steps to maintain that himself, at least as much as possible.

    That helped me conclude what the psychiatrists had been trying to explain themselves- my son has mood cycling now, we are going to treat it as bipolar now. Hopefully, someday he won't need all this medication and other ongoing mental health treatment and meet the criteria for the diagnosis. So, I don't view it as a trendy diagnosis anymore and I'm much more comfortable with treating the symptoms of mood cycling.
  12. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    klmno~ You explained that very well!!:D I also believe that it is a good thing dr's are being able to treat "mood disorders" now at a young age. My mom told me the other day she feels bad because they didn't know all this stuff and I was just labeled a "brat" and "bad child". That was devasating to my self esteem to overhear adults talking about me that way:( If I would have been treated as a child I feel like I wouldnt have struggled for so many years to get my diagnosis and to get treatment!
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    JMO and experience. It sounds like it could be Aspergers, regardless of what the professional told you. My son has an IQ of nearly the same as yours and he is on the spectrum. However, he got the bipolar diagnosis first. It was not the right diagnosis, however he spent three years on heavy duty medications that didn't help him. He got cognitively dulled and went from 75 pounds to 150 at age 11. I didn't think he had bipolar--he didn't fit. Hub and I finally took him for a ten hour neuropsychologist evaluation and got the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis, which he has. We weaned him off all medications and he started doing better in school because he could think, and he still didn't act like he had a mood disorder. He is doing great now, although he obviously still has some Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) symptoms. Interventions helped him the most. Professionals can be wrong. They were for him. I wish I hadn't rushed to agree to put him on such high powered medications--in his case he went from Zyprexa to Risperdal to Depakote/Seroquel then Lithibod/Seroquel at way high doses. He started to pee every night on the LIthibod (this stopped after we weaned him off). He gained weight at an alarming rate. And his social issues were not being addressed (now they are and he's really improved). It's 100% up to you what to do, and I support any decision you make. Just wanted to pass along what happened to us. Bipolar and Aspergers are often mistaken for each other because Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids are so strange!!! But IQ has nothing to do with Aspergers. You can have an IQ of 180 and have Aspergers. Or it can be 90 and you can have Aspergers. The main symptoms are inability to transition, very narrow, intense interests, high anxiety, sensory issues, lack of good eye contact with strangers and cluelessness about social skills/social norms. Many people with bipolar are very personable when they are stable. I have a mood disorder and it's way different than what my son deals with. Take care...and do your own research and homework. Let me give you links to both bipolar and Aspergers disorders. Parents like us have to be way proactive and informed. Unfortunately not all mental health care professionals are that sharp, so we have to be. ODD symptoms are common in all disorders, including both bipolar and Aspergers. Aspies are very rigid so they often rage when you try to do something one way and they want it done another way. Bipolar kids are unhappy and explosive. A rage is a rage is a rage--lol. They all look equally as awful. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids, however, can and often do get much better where as bipolar kids tend to get worse. Here are the links:

    Here is a link comparing bipolar to Aspegers syndrome. It's really good. (this is a wonderful linke for childhood bipolar) (good Aspie site)
  14. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    Thanks Midwest Mom for those links!!:D I am still going to bring up the Asperger's diagnosis with his psychiatrist at the visit next thurs. so she can better explain why she thinks he isn't. Like I said I am not totally convinced yet;) Unfortunatly in everything I have researched he has so many characteristics of both disorders it is too hard for me as a non-professional to decide where I think he fits:confused:
  15. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    Midwest~ Also I had a question since I saw you have a BiPolar (BP) diagnosis too! Do you think they jumped to diagnosis your difficult child with BiPolar (BP) because of your diagnosis? They asked me history of autism and BiPolar (BP) in my family and we do have the BiPolar (BP) history but no autism that I know of. Did you have any autism before in your family history? Sorry for all the questions;)
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Take my word on this: Professionals have the same problem that we do. I like NeuroPsychs because they do the most intensive testing, but they can also be wrong.
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    If I had a nickel for every dr who has asked if my son's birth dad or birth mom was on drugs, or if they have a history of bipolar, I'd be a rich lady!
    They don't have a clue. They just go about their lives and can't figure out why this person is smoking pot, that person is an alcoholic, both parents are divorced ... no one can see any patterns, no one thinks to ask questions. If I thought they could help me I would ask. Sigh.

    Mandy, not to rain on your parade, but he could be both, and it could take yrs to figure out. Like I said, you are doing all the right things. But it's hard not to think "Aha! THIS diagnosis is going to do the trick!" and think it's settled, only to find that he starts exhibiting new behviors a yr later so you feel like you're starting over.
    I have to say, that the last time my son "changed" so to speak, it wasn't as traumatic. We simply upped one of his medications and waiting to see what would happen, knowing it was a waiting game.
    Our Aspie lite diagnosis has really helped. It has mostly changed our behaviors toward him, and we are careful to use phrases and words that make sense to him. He is so literal. I also tend to harp a bit (a wonderful habit I learned from my mother) so I have learned to back off and let natural consequences take over. The other thing is to make sure he gets enough sleep, and that we don't spring things on him, even a trip to the grocery store. It helps to calmly say, "We're going to the grocery store on the way home from school. Would you like to help me pick out dinner?" so it sounds like he's got a choice.

    One thing that has helped me is to watch my son just prior to a meltdown. I could see him getting agitated, escalating, and didn't know what to do. I thought it was out of the blue, but in fact, there were clear triggers. Transitions are the biggest trigger. Drawing him into a protracted discussion immediately after school is another. He needs to decompress. Taking his medications was a trigger for yrs, until he learned to swallow pills. We were like marrionettes around him, doing anything to get him to swallow those pills. Juice? Pink or red? Candy? Soup? In your bed? In front of the TV? We begged, ordered, cajoled, joked, yelled.
    Major, major stress.
    It's so peaceful now. We've got a routine.

    One step at a time.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Mandy, my son is adopted and his birthmother is a drug addict so their thinking was "If she was a drug addict she was probably bipolar."
    Aspergers is more common in families with bipolar, also showing some commonalities, many genetic, to the two disorders. But, to be honest, my son doesn't act bipolar in any way. I'm puzzled that he ever got the diagnosis...oh, well.
  19. ML

    ML Guest

    BiPolar (BP) was the fist diagnosis I thought manster had. I joined the BiPolar (BP) chats and frankly felt I had found the diagnosis because all these other moms understood exactly what I felt. Except manster wasn't as extreme and I just figured he had a lesser case. Finally one of the moms I chatted with told me that how I described his issues was more in line with her nephew who was AS. That's when I started doing further research. As many have said these diagnosis all blend together. AS makes the most sense as an umbrella diagnosis for all the other things manster has: social anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), sensory stuff, executive functioning deficits. He also does show addiction tendancies (sugar) and it wouldn't shock me if he were to pick up a BiPolar (BP) label after pueberty as well.

    For manster, routine has helped the most. I think you are doing a great job advocating for your son and I'm glad you found us.

    Hugs, ML
  20. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    Thank you so much for all of your replies... again;) I am trying to gather as much info as I can so I can be prepared to talk with his psychiatrist thursday. We have decided to do whatever it takes for me to be home with the kids fulltime starting in May so that I can work on making sure everything is scheduled and consistent for difficult child. I think if I am the one observing him all the time then I will also start to see what his major triggers are for meltdowns and to make sure his Gluten Free diet is followed EXACTLY!! That will take a huge stresser off of us having to run to the sitters when a meltdown happens or worrying all day when our phones ring:D Thanks again!!!