Is this mania starting?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Wonderful Family, Oct 31, 2008.

  1. difficult child has had a couple of really good weeks and beginning last weekend; an awesome one - at home. He actually started acting "normal" for a change.

    Over the last couple of weekends, he has been suggesting family outings. Then last weekend, he started posing for pictures like he did when he was very little at the pumpkin patch; while telling easy child he needs his medications adjusted immediately and he would tell psychiatrist when we go back (we go on Monday). To top it all off, he's been loving, hugging me, and I actually caught him reading a book in bed last night - (first time for everything, I guess).

    When he gets upset, he gets over it quickly, responds normally. Although his thinking is still black and white/polarized. One of the few areas right now I can still tell difficult child is a difficult child.

    All sounds perfectly normal and wonderful, laughing and telling jokes; except he's not acting normal; and I've noticed a big increase in his energy level. He has been extremely hyper the last 3 days; and last night while watching a funny move, he was laughing hysterically - very loud and almost too much laughing? I hate to say it, but it sounded almost false.

    He's mentioned to me 3 or 4 times this week how happy he is right now. He also made a point of telling me how he came home early from a friend's house; and actually was persistent about getting what he wanted for dinner one night rather than having a fit. At one point last night, I thought I would find him skipping down the hall for a period of time and singing at the same time! Then he settled down a bit - more "normal" and became irritated briefly when I wouldn't let him drag an unhappy dog to his bed.

    I dropped a short email to school just to see how things were going; and received back the old "I was going to tell you". Seems that difficult child has been refusing to do work; then starting to do it (which is good). Teacher seems to think this is because of some of the older kids he is in class with are doing this. Nothing major - just another thing that might be an indicator?

    And, I've heard a couple of irrational comments to me about family members and why he "hates" them. All while he is happy :)

    However, this is pretty close to the same scenario last year; although he is infinitely happier and better behaved - this time.

    The only two real red flags I've seen are the couple of irrational comments that came out of the blue and work refusal at school. But all these can easily be explained away. Another possible one is dragging both dogs to bed with him; he tends to do this whenever he gets anxious; but again, it's a normal thing.

    difficult child was kind-of (behavior was much worse overall) like this last year just before he was hospitalized. husband thinks the world is just going his way . . . any thoughts, what to look for or anticipate? If it is some type of mania happening, how do we know and what do we do before it's too far gone? Or is this how the kids are typically once they are really, truly stabilized? I know how great I feel the first few days after a really bad cold or flu.

    I don't want to over-react, but I also don't want to be blindsided this time.

    It's only in the last 4 to 6 months that we've been able to see him cycling over a period of weeks; and we are at the point in the cycle where he tends to be in a good spot. Before, he just lived in a constant state of rage and anger - 24/7.

    Yes - I'll bring it up with psychiatrist on Monday; but I'm concerned if it is something, it may be hard to see? Perhaps a better way to explain it, I feel like there is a (nice) alien living in my house; I keep looking back to make sure this is really my kid.

    by the way - easy child does need an adjustment in ADHD medications - he is literally bouncing off the walls and the roof tops these days!
    Lasted edited by : Oct 31, 2008
  2. lizzie09

    lizzie09 lizzie

    Hello Wonderful Family

    You may be right with your suspicions. My son has Prader Willi Syndrome and I think I am programmed to recognise changes as well.
    Our changes have happened on a once yearly basis.
    I do see changes over a period of time but its hard to know if they are indications of worse to come or just good spells....all odd anyway.
    Recently my son seemed a bit high...he doesnt have a dignosis of BiPolar (BP) but can have cycling moods when he starts. No other medication prescribed.
    I had Xanax here from last year and doctor said give him one or two over a day or so.he setttled down again very quickly and I dont know if it was the Xanax or just good luck this time/

    I understand you can be completely up the walls at a time like this

    Good luck I am so sorry you are worried as I can be like this too and its very difficult
  3. Jena

    Jena New Member


    I try to enjoy the happy moments when I can with my difficult child, the one's in which she is responding to me well, she is enjoying herself and is content with her life.

    "normal" I don't like to use that word, because I no longer know what that means. I don't know if anyone is "normal" :) Yet I do see your point with what you were saying.

    I have learned to log my difficult child's behaviors on a daily basis. This way I can track it and in time I begin to see a pattern of behaviors that are more easily recognizable. The day to day run of it, each day overlapping the other at times can make us confused..... :(

    To give you an example of what hypomania looks like in my home with my difficult child when we have been there............ she

    is very focused on projects, for long periods of time and works feverishly to finish them.
    cannot sleep at night is up sometimes till 4 a.m. or pull's all nighters'.
    is irritable and jumpy and aggressive. is ready to "throw down" at any given point regardless of how well I try to handle whatever situation. It can be over finding a sock mind you.
    She is slightly violent she will stomp her feet at any "no's" given, or hit a wall or slam her door, or be rough with an animal in our home, she has pushed me as well a few times.

    Mind you if you read up on some of these things children can also experience mixed states whereas the hyper activity can clash with levels and bouts of sadness.

    You have on your signature that he was diagnosis with Adhd which can often bring about sudden bursts of just that hyper actiivty in a huge way. My boyfriend's son has it.

    Did you ever read the explosive child, everyone here recommended it and I read it and boy did it explain alot. Also halloween is upon us. My difficult child always kicks up prior to any type of holidays, or huge events. It's as if they have no filtering process our little difficult child's.

    Good luck, i hope your halloween is a good one for both you and difficult child. Start loggin behaviors it helped me so much to be able to look back to each day and week and mos to grasp what i was truly seeing.

  4. Thanks for the responses; I do log his behaviors because it does get confusing; what's real; what's not. That's what made me do a double-take last night. I also have a list of flags that I look at from time to time that he always does before he really starts exploding - this helped me figure out the triggers a little to understand the situatons where things seem to come from out of nowhere.

    I agree 100% about the hypomania; I'm not seeing the normal irritability and aggression that we typically see - just "happy, light-hearted, and joyful."

    You could be right on target with the ADHD; if everything else has stabilized; that would show itself more strongly - wouldn't it? I'm "very" familar with ADHD; easy child has it as well. The primary concern with the energy level is how it's been building this week plus the feedback from school. ADHD is typically seen all the time; unfortuantely, we can't treat difficult child's ADHD.

    We do use various pieces from the Explosive Child and have since he was tiny. We just started seeing a new therapist formally this week; supposed to teach him how to learn to regulate some of his emotions and give him tools for management over time, versus just coping skills to "stop" the outbursts. We'll see how it goes-but difficult child liked him and came out of the office cracking jokes.

    Perhaps I'm just scared because I'm NOT having to use all the techniques and things that we have learned over the year as much right now; feels strange.

    difficult child is very excited about Halloween as well as his upcoming birthday; but we tend to dread these things because when he gets excited, he typically gets very anxious and cranky. We hate Christmas in some ways around here. We're not seeing that . . .

    Regardless, I'll enjoy the good stuff while we can. And who knows, maybe it's "real" this time. But . . . I'm sure we've all been burned before thinking we found some "kind" of answer, and then bam, we're back full circle again. I swear this was how he was at 6 months.

    Sorry for the description of normal; but it was the only thing I could think of at the time. I agree that we have different descriptions around here for what's the norm.
  5. Jena

    Jena New Member


    I don't blame you for being apprehensive during a calm period, and being hypervigilant in regards to their behaviors, because your waiting for the "turn" or change to begin as I used to be.

    It's taken sometime yet Im grasping the concept of learning to appreciate the good moments without being apprehensive about what's coming next. Logging the behaviors is so helpful.

    Don't worry about that its' just the word "normal" makes me cringe. My daughter has said that why can't I just be "normal"? ugh! I said normal, what does that mean honey everyone has things they need to deal with. :)

    Hoping you get through halloween and his birthday with no major meltdowns
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't know that I can add much to the suggestion to log everything over a period of time and keep psychiatrist well-informed. After a while, I was able to categorize my list of observations, they became so apparent. My son appears adhd and even tests borderline adhd when he is hypomanic. The big concern is that hypomania can easily turn into mania if not reeled in.

    Good luck! Keep us posted!
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I am reading this with interest because I am wondering if my difficult child is going through the same thing. I have no advice, except that it's great you are keeping a wary eye out for possible mania, ahead of time.
  8. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Here is how Dr. Ellen Leibenluft at NIMH defines mania:

    A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated,
    expansive, or irritable mood, lasting at least 1 week (or any
    duration if hospitalization is necessary).

    During the period of mood disturbance, three or more of
    the following symptoms have persisted (four if the mood is
    only irritable) and have been present to a significant
    (1) inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
    (2) decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3
    hours of sleep)
    (3) more talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
    (4) flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are
    (5) distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to
    unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli)
    (6) increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work
    or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation
    (7) excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have
    a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging
    in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or
    foolish business investments)

    The mood disturbance is sufficiently severe to cause
    marked impairment in occupational functioning or in usual
    social activities or relationships with others, or to
    necessitate hospitalization to prevent harm to self or
    others, or there are psychotic features.

    The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological
    effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication,
    or other treatment) or a general medical condition (e.g.,

    You should also be aware that both of your difficult child's medications can cause the mood to elevate. Lamictal is a wonderful medication for bipolar depression, but does very little for mania. Geodon can cause an odd kind of overarousal (seen more at lower doses than higher doses), according to The Bipolar Child book by Dimitri and Janice Papolos.