Just labeled Conduct Disorder

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mtnmom62, May 31, 2007.

  1. mtnmom62

    mtnmom62 New Member

    I have a 15 year old son. He just started a special school two months ago for Emo. Disturbed kids. He had been diagnosis with bipolar when he was 8 years old because he was having severe rage episodes. Around the time he was 5 years old I had a very serious psychiatric breakdown. I was really sick for three years (now I am fully functional). Two years into my illnes my DEX left us and no longer has any contact with my sons (I have three out- He has contact with the one who lives near him in Illinois).

    My son has always been very difficult to manage, yet he is often very loving and is wonderful with little kids (they just flock to him). He has a neice and two nephews who think the world revolves around him. He is however often argumentative and my older son tells me that he lies to me all the time. About two months ago he broke into the local little store at 3:00 in the morning. He told me that he woke up in the morning and the thought just came to him and he did it. But he also told me later that he was angry with the ppl who worked there. He stole $350 worth of cigerettes, chewing tobacco, lighters and two pocket knives. He was planning on selling the cigerettes and lighters. I had no idea that he had done it and to my surprise an officer came to my house the next day to take him into custody. Now ofcourse he is in trouble with the law. He has had periods of suicidal ideation since he was about 8 years old and actually attempted several times (via trying to jump out of a second story window, jumping out of cars, running in front of cars, etc.) After he committed the robbery, he was at school and got into trouble because after he cussed at a teacher, he was sent to the principals office when they told him that he would be suspended (this was at his other school) he tried to walk off campus. The campus cop stopped him and had to hold him down until the regular police arrived to arrest him. He was saying things like (Stomp the pig, I want to kill myself, I want to die). At the time he had a badly broken hand (he slammed it into a wall) and took off his cast and was slamming it into the pavement, also banging his head into the pavement. Arrested again and put into the hall for four and a half days. While there had two major rage episodes. THese rages seem to hit really suddenly sometimes with minimal provocation, they usually last anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. He then often falls into a deep sleep afterward. HE can be just fine one minute and raging the next. He went of a year and a half (until the store incident two months ago) doing great!!! Anyway his therapist at school who I just think is wonderful told me yesterday that she thinks that difficult child does not have bipolar but rather has conduct disorder. NOw I am scared to death. I have heard that CD kids don't often recover. One thing that she did say however is that he can be very nurturing and has an amazing ability to connect with ppl in a positive way. He truly shows that he can love and accept love. He has many positive connections with ppl and has the ability to attach to ppl. But I do see sometimes that when he screws up he (at times) doesn't seem to show a lot of remorse. He has never hurt an animal or been what I would call cruel to a person. He fights with his brother but I think that is pretty normal. Anyway I am confused and I'm worried. I also feel very guilty thinking that my illness could have brought this on. It was awful for my kids during those three years. My difficult child also really misses his dad...he was always dad's little buddy.

    I would love some feedback.

  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Hi, welcome to the board.

    Your son does have some complex issues. One thing to know is that it is possible to have bipolar and CD together. They arent mutually exclusive. I am probably going to be the lone voice saying that CD could be possible in your son but with what you have said about the illegal activities it would strike me as something that could be diagnosed. You would have to take him to a good therapist or psychiatrist for a true diagnosis.

    The reason Im saying all this is in my signature. My son was labeled as bipolar for most of his life but no treatment truly worked. Recently he was retested and we got the antisocial personality disorder which requires a evidence of conduct disorder prior to the age of 15. The signs were all there but we chalked them up to bipolar.

    Dont know that I would have done anything much different except maybe have pushed harder for behavioral mod interventions instead of medication interventions. I dunno. Cant go back.
  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    When you say that his rages seem to come out of nowhere and that he often falls asleep after, it makes me wonder about seizure activity. There are others on the board with more experience in that area.

    Janet is not the lone voice in saying that CD is possible, as I agree that it is possible. I think it's important to get a full evaluation, including a neurological evaluation.

    I'm sorry things are so rough for you right now.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome! I'm glad you found us.

    I agree with Heather on the need for a full neurological evaluation to consider seizure disorder.

    Is your difficult child on any medications right now?
  5. mtnmom62

    mtnmom62 New Member

    Once when he was hospitalized (psychiatric hospital) the doctor did and EEG and told me that there was definitely seizure activity on the EEG but when I took him to a neurologist (after putting him on an anticonvulsive) he redid the EEG and said that there was no seizure activity. So I was really confused about that and didn't pursue it after the Neuro said that there wasn't. But one thing I wondered about is how could he have determined if he was having seizures if he did the EEG while he was on antiseizure medications??? I have always wondered that.

    I am feeling very depressed and hopeless about the "conduct disorder" comment from his therapist. I know that he has done some really screwed up, over the top stuff. But he has this side to him that is very outgoing and kind. For example, when we lived over at the apartments (before we moved into our mobile home) there were many old ppl and disabled ppl there. They would often pay the kids to take out their garbage. Bill would often go to them to help them take out their garbage or unload their groceries and not take any money for it. I have a sister that is severely developmentally disabled. difficult child is so kind to her, talks to her with genuine compassion and kindness. Usually, when he isn't raging or in a snit, he is very sweet to me and his brother. For the most part I truly enjoy spending time with difficult child. He is fun, fun-loving, out going, friendly. But he is either in one mood or another. There isn't any gray area with him. He is either in a wonderful space or he is cussing, disrespectful and sullen.

    I feel that if he is CD I might as well throw in the towel. I have heard that most CD kids become criminals and have antisocial personality. I know I don't have the option of giving up (atleast until he is 18) but that is how I feel. Before when he had a diagnosis of bipolar at least there was an outside influence to his negative behavior. If the CD diagnosis is true then it is probably all my fault for going off the deep end when he was 5!!! I feel guilty and feel hopeless.

    But on the flip side my oldest son was a big time difficult child!!! He did some stuff that was worse than his little brother. He had been hospitalized several times, been in juvy more times than I can remember and was suspended from school many times. He DID have more respect for his teachers and the police than Bill does though, but he did more than his share of messed up stuff. But now he is working as a mental health worker and is going to school studying admin of justice (he wants to be a cop).

    I just don't know what to do with the feelings that I have right now.
  6. Steely

    Steely Active Member


    Your son's issues sound challenging, at best - but there are many of us on this board who have gone through exactly what you are going through. There is a similar thread to yours right now where many of our members are discussing conduct disorder. It is called "what if the doctor is right" by branbran, and I think it is down at the bottom of the main page. Many of our members have voiced their opinions on if conduct disorder can be a stand alone diagnosis, or if it is always in conjuntion with another mental illness. Our opinions vary, but it would be worth your reading.

    My son has been through SO many similar things to yours, and yet the one thing that stood out about your post - that also stands out about my son - is that deep inside they are sweet, loving, kind kids. You have to hold onto that one core fact - and never let that truth disappear from your radar screen. He is a good kid, who has a myriad of problems - but he is not a delinquent, hopeless child.

    Have you had a full psychological evaluation done, and has he tried any medications?

    You have found a great place here, and many others will be along to share their advice.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Even if he is CD, it doesnt mean it is your fault. I flat refuse to take the blame for my son being antisocial. Nope...its not my fault.

    I have two other perfectly sane, law abiding young adult children who had the benefit of the same set of parents who in no way would do the things my youngest son does. How can I in one breath feel pride for my older two and yet feel guilt for my younger one? I didnt cage the younger one or deliberately pick on him. I didnt set out to abuse him and try to make him into a criminal. Nope...this is on him. He had all the benefits of years of therapy and help that we could provide. He simply chooses to be the way he is. Whether it was preset by genetics or birth...whatever.

    I do believe that child that is exhibiting signs of conduct disorder needs to be diagnosed and treated for that conduct disorder in a way that is separate and unique to that disorder. I think a really multi level approach is needed that attacks the very basis of what is involved or nothing will change. There are articles that talk about this. I only wish I had known.
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Many of us have great difficulty dealing with the designated
    disorder or label given our difficult children. Most of the basis for that is
    fear of the unknown. We don't know "how bad it can get" but,
    conversely, we don't know "how good things can be" either.

    You are not alone. You have found a supportive group that you
    count on. Welcome. DDD
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    You are absolutely right in saying that if a neurologist redid an EEG while the child is on an anticonvulsnat, he can't be certain there is no seizure activity. I would absolutely push for a neurological reevaluation. From your description, it sounds as if your son could be having seizures. There is a condition called Temporal Lobe Epilepsy whose symptoms mimic bipolar disorder. That may be what's going on here.

    Is your difficult child on any medications currently?
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'd like to jump in and tell you that bipolar, out of control, looks a lot like Conduct Disorder. Non-stabilized bipolars often commit crimes--especially when feeling gradiose/angry. I used to do the craziest stuff in a hypo-manic state. The banging head on ground and slamming fists and sudden rages sounds bipolar-ish to me, even if he has seizure activity. However, mood stabilizers help both seizures AND bipolar. I'm not sold on Conduct Disorder unless the child has been tried on serious bipolar medications for a long period of time. Another possibility at his age is the confusion of possible substance abuse. Even pot and drinking can cause mentally unstable kids and adults to get worse, and they are more likely to abuse than other kids. I would get him in the care of a good Psychiatrist and maybe do a neuropsychologist evaluation, but, if somebody told me Conduct Disorder, I probably would dismiss it and work on the stuff that can be helped more, and not really worry about that label. It's kind of like ODD--it's a symptom of another issue (or so I've been told), and it rarely stands alone. Has he ever been on mood stabilizers WITHOUT stimulants and/or antidepressants? I'd focus in on medication management at this point if he is so out of control that he is breaking the law. And I'd definitely see the best Adolescent Psychiatrist reachable. I have bipolar, and always did, and this kid screams "bipolar" to me, with his suicidal ideation from early on to his out-of-control moodswings and sudden rages now. It's also on the family tree. While seizures can sometimes cause rages, so can bipolar, and seizures don't make anyone steal. I'd look into everything.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    One last thing: I adopted a kid who actually does have Conduct Disorder/Antisocial Personality Disorder/Attachment Disorder. Compare your son to him (although all are different, THIS is my understanding of CD). He has choked two dogs to death and we found him trying to choke a cat. He sexually abuses much younger children. He stole a knife from Walmart and it to our younger kids. He set fires. He peed and pooped in our closets (we thought it was a dog that we had, although it would still be there even when we kept the dog in the kennel). He not only has no remorse, he doesn't have a clue why he does what he does. He is charming on the outside. He is gone from our lives now as he is too dangerous to live in a family, but HE had Conduct Disorder and probably other stuff too, but he never raged or had moodswings.
  12. mtnmom62

    mtnmom62 New Member

    UPDATE- I just talked to the therapist who told me that my difficult child had CD. Well after talking to her I realized that she didn't actually say that he had CD what she said is that he has some conduct disorder traits. She told me that he very definitely shows remorse for things that he has done wrong and that he has an amazing ability to attach to ppl But he does challenge authority and has no problem cussing at an adult that sort of thing. I would agree with her there.

    She told me that they just worked on his treatment plan (he recently started going to a school for ED kids). She said that my family is eligible for WRAFT (Wrap around family therapy). She asked me if I would be interested. I told her yes. If it had been a few years ago when I was paranoid of CPS etc. I would have said unequivicably NO! But my position on this has changed. I no longer fear that they are going to think that I am doing an awful job of parenting and that all the want to do is take my kids away. Heck if they think that they can do a better I'll just tell them to have at it. (JK).

    Well it was a relief to talk to her today. My difficult child shows his worst colors at school but even then he has become very well liked(in general) at his new school.

    I have also been thinking about getting him an other neuro consult. YOu know I just thought about something today. Actually I was having lunch with an old neighbor of mine and she brought something up that I have downplayed for the past several years. We lived in a house that was so full of toxic mold that the couple who bought it after it got repoed got extremely ill. The woman ended up getting cancer and they almost lost their second born son. He was just a tiny infant when they moved into the house. They ended up burning the house down with all their belongings because the health dept advised them not to even go inside it again. You can look it up if you google Porath and Toxic Mold. It happened in FOresthill CA. We lived in that house before they did and my kids were constantly sick there, I (who was very emotionally sound at the time) ended up having a complete psychiatric breakdown and we even had to put our beloved dog to sleep because she got this mystery illness in which she developed huge sores all over her body. It was like her skin was rotting off. Anyway I am going to see if there is a blood test that we can get that will show whether or not we have been exposed to large amounts of toxic mold. I think that there is a bt but it is very expensive but it may be something that the county will pay for. I live in a very generous county.

    Well just thought I'd let you know that I talked to his therapist today. I am so relieved. She did say howwever that she questions his diagnosis of bipolar. But I have never had anyone question it before so I am inclined to believe that he does have it or something that mimics it.
  13. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I think you're on the right path - have the things checked that can be objectively tested for, via EEG, blood tests, etc (those environmental toxins can do some funky things) and go from there.

    It sounds like you have a good therapist. I think it's ok to question things, as long as she doesn't completely discount the BiPolar (BP) diagnosis out of hand. It sounds like she's keeping her eyes open.

  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    For what its worth, mold toxicity can cause major problems in people for years up to and including death. I would definitely check into that. Also lead levels.

    Do any of you have breathing problems?