New here, and having a very bad week.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ItSnowed, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. ItSnowed

    ItSnowed New Member

    So to make a really long story the age of 3 my son was diagnosed with ADHD. They tried to get me to medicate him then, but I just assumed little boys should run around and play, climb on things, take things apart, etc..... I refused medication at the time. We had gone to see a psychiatrist at the time because I had seen several behaviors (scratching at his face when frustrated until open wounds occurred, destructiveness such as cutting everything up in the middle of the night with scissors {including cutting his sister's hair off}).

    He is now 15. We have gone through life believing the ADHD diagnosis because at times he does bounce off the walls, can't sit still, etc. He pretty much has spent most of his life demonstrating his frustrations and angers towards himself or just destroying something. I cannot tell you how many video game controllers I have replaced in his lifetime (which is funny because I had the same controllers to my original Atari until I sold it a few years ago). It took me until he was in 7th grade to even get him qualified for Special Education at school. The counselor that evaluated him informed me that he was very very intelligent but had missed out on some basic building blocks in his education, but had also developed coping skills for the missing parts.

    Granted, living with me has not always been easy. I have issues with staying put in one area for any length of time because I like to be on-the-go so much. I also have a daughter who is 4 years older than my son. She has always managed to adapt and I feel will be successful in life. My son, on the other hand, has not done well with all my changes. Unfortunately, I have been married a few different times. It seems that my children and my former spouses did not always seem to see eye to eye, and I always felt the need to defend my children with ultimately led to the demise of quite a few relationships and 3 marriages. I have now, once again, remarried and my current husband is FANTASTIC! He is so supportive of me and loves my children.

    In the last year, my son has developed quite nicely. I was so happy because he was finely developing some social skills and seemed to be interested in some of the things a normal 14/15 year old would be interested in. He will be 16 next month. However, he has no interest in getting his driver's license (and I'm grateful because I don't feel he is mature enough to have one). But I find that strange. He also has suffered from truancy issues for MANY years. I just figured most of his truancy was because he just wanted to be with me. I also had come to the conclusion that the reason he was always calling home from school sick was to be with me. Oh...and the reason he constantly was getting into trouble at school was so they would send him home to be with me.

    But all of a sudden in the last 2 months his behavior has changed! Instead of internally handling his frustrations, anger, and disappointments he is taking it out on others. It started when he shoved his Biology teacher at school. This teacher was, and I say was because he is no longer, my son's biggest advocate. Then he dunked my 2 year old grandson in the bathtub and stated he did it because he was angry. (I'm grateful that he didn't hold him under the water.) Then he made suicidal threats at school and kicked our next door neighbor in the testicles at school all on the same day! He is attending a behavior modification school because after pushing his teacher, the "normal" school does not want him there. Two days ago he started back to school after spring break and had to serve a day in ISS right off the bat because of kicking our neighbor (he also attends the same school). The morning started off well, and then I got the call. They were suspending him because he threatened another student with a pair of scissors. I was devastated.

    I came to the conclusion that all this new behavior was not good. So I immediately picked him up from school and took him directly to the mental health facility in our town. They decided to admit him. While there and waiting to be transferred to the adolescent facility, he actually punched holes in the wall of the room they were holding him in. Now, not only am I in shock over his behavior, but I am also completely embarrassed because I did not raise him to be this way.

    So I get the call yesterday from the psychiatric nurse practitioner that took his case. She said he doesn't have ADHD at all. (I discovered this years ago.....) He now has a new diagnosis though and it isn't promising. He was diagnosed with Conduct Disorder. I was now completely devastated and at the lowest point of my life. I am raising a possible future serial killer.

    I am having some inner battles now. One, I feel so damn guilty for raising a child this way. Everyone, of course, keeps telling me it is not my fault. But I did bring him into this world, and this world has not been easy for either of us. At home, all of our children are living there except my daughter. So we have a 26 yr old, 25 yr old and his girlfriend and her 3 children, a 23 yr old and her boyfriend and their 2 children. By the time you throw in my husband, me and my son we have a total of 13 people living in the house currently. And yes, some days it's a zoo. But we have streamlined everything that the ship runs pretty smoothly on most days. You get what you get for having 5 grandchildren under the age of 5 though and it can be a little nerve racking.

    My son's rage at home seems to all stem from the 23 yr old and her family. So now I'm forced to having make a decision on forcing her out of the house or having a keep a constant eye on my son to keep him from harming her children.

    Oh and now my son wants to burn down the school he is attending because they have all lied about his behavior at school....just thought I'd throw that out there.

    I am trying to look at today as a new day. I'm hoping that my mom, daughter, and myself can get an appointment at the facility today to discuss possibilities with him.

    I just don't know where I went wrong :(
  2. ItSnowed

    ItSnowed New Member

    Oh, and I did fail to mention that he can be the most loving child at times. He has the capability to show concern, just not remorse. And everybody loves him.
  3. soapbox

    soapbox Member

    Where did YOU go wrong? Probably not.
    Your difficult child is of an age where... it wasn't possible to get answers back when he needed them, and the years of garbage that he's had to put up with at school may be driving him into total insanity. There comes a point where they just can't handle it any more.

    There are things they can test for now, that they couldn't or didn't 10 years ago.
    1) Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation for sensory and motor skills. 50% of kids with ADHD also have motor skills problems, which can really complicate school both in-class and socially... sensory problems also compound this.
    2) Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluation for hidden APDs such as auditory figure ground. Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) problems look exactly like ADHD - and/or can co-exist. When you said he's got gaps in his basic education... red flag for APDs. He's catching some stuff, not other stuff... This one alone is a massive problem at school, if he indeed has this.
    3) depression in the male population often manifests as anger... if he's been fighting an impossible uphill battle at school for years and it just keeps getting worse... at some point they either turn on themselves or on others. But it isn't anger, it's depression. And the depression is "situational"... caused by the other stuff.

    difficult child went downhill for about 10 years running.
    We get answers to 1) and 2) and... he's going uphill 10x faster than his fastest downhill drop!
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I agree with the need for mroe testing. I also think that there is something major that caused the sudden change. Maybe he was assaulted sexually and won't talk about it. this is more common than you know and MANY MH professionals just don't think about it or they figure if the kid didn't say anything then it isn't a problem, esp if the kid is older. Being verbal does NOT mean you will report something like this. it just doesn't. I am not saying he WAS assaulted, just that it could have happened. He also could be on drugs.

    drugs are actually more probable because they are so easy to get. He is at an age where kids are very curious and they OFTEN try them. They are super easy to get in most high schools and even jr highs. Kids here also think it is funny to put them into each other's drinks, esp at school, and then to watch what trouble they get into. If he hasn't been tested for all the drugs possible, esp things like dxm (dextromethorphan, the ingredient in cough syrup labelled "DM" or "cough suppressant"), spice (synthetic marijuana), bath salts (new and super dangerous stimulant), etc.... Some of them are not in standard drug panels, but if you can get them tested for, do it.

    A sudden change like this, esp in a teen or young adult, is a HUGE HUGE HUGE warning sign for drug use. yes, he has problems but CD isn't a sudden onset problem. It just isn't. And a kid who was previously doing okay doesn't suddenly develop CD. They CAN suddenly become a drug user/addict. Many drugs are instantly addictive more a large % of people. I know a girl who tried cocaine at a party because her boyfriend pushed her head down into a table with some on it. She was NOT a drug user and was terrifed of them because she had health problems and was on medications for them. She broke up wiht him AND she went to get help because she craved it wehn seh came down from the high. It was scary to see, esp as five years later she had not used but still went to almost daily meetings because she still craved it. The newer drugs are being purposely designed to be addictive, so that could be the reason. sudden fits of anger are a sign of drug use.

    Don't just accept the CD diagnosis. What testing did they do? If he does NOT have a drug problem, then get him to a neurospych. DO NOT believe difficult child when he says he has never, will never use drugs, etc.... Given his new social behavior, drugs just seem super highly probable as the cause of the behavior. And just because the nurse practitioner say he has CD doesn't make it true (or not true). If she did not do testing to rule out other diagnosis's then it probably is not terribly reliable. He needs intensive, complete evaluation and neuropsychs are the ones to best to that. You also need the Occupational Therapist (OT) and Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluations to help with those issues, but the neuropsychologist can be FAR more accurate about a CD diagnosis.

    The link in my signature will take you to the thread about Parent Reports. This is a super powerful tool, a document that YOU create that has ALL the details and info about your difficult child. It is amazingly helpful and I urge you to read the thread and create the report. it really is THAT helpful!

    Could you also create a signature of your own? It helps us keep all the details straight. Just don't use ANY identifiers, etc... because this IS a public forum and anyone can read what you post.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I totally missed that his rage is directed at the one sister, her boyfriend and kids. What has happened between them? Did one of them catch him doing something? Hurt him in some way? WHY is he so angry wtih her? Is this a stepsister or a biological sister? Have they ever gotten along?

    What Your Explosive Child is Trying to Tell You by Dr. Doug Riley is a great resourcee and can help you figure out WHY he is so angry at her. This does not seem to be a long term rage at her, so I wonder why he became so violently angry? this type of rage does NOT just appear regardless of what difficult child, the daughter, her boyfriend or anyone else tells you. SOMTHING happened, even if he just misinterpreted something or misunderstood something.

    NOTHNG will change for him until the source of the rage is figured out. It could still be drugs, but it is likely more complex than that.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Absolutely... ditto.
    When behavior is a problem, you can't solve it until you figure out where the behavior is coming from.... you have to get to the "real" problem before you can fix the obvious problem.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok...first of all big hugs. PLease, beating yourself up will not help. I *do* think it would help to not bring so many people into his life. My own opinion is, it's probably better if son has a place to live that is less chaotic. But that's not my main message.

    I would challenge t hat psychiatrist and give your kid a neuropsychologist evaluation. in my opinion he will end up, not with ADHD or CD, but on the autism spectrum somewhere. There are various degrees and in my opinion he fits there somewhere. He had so many symptoms, but it is one of the most overlooked diagnoses there are, in spite of autism being found much more often. The usual misdiagnosis is ADHD. Another unpleasant possibility is that he probably has more going on than ADHD and he has suddenly started messing with recreational drugs to make him feel more normal. Either way, I think a neuropsychologist evaluation will REALLY help both of you, as long as he is willing to do it.

    I did not read all the other responses, as I just came home from work, but if I am repetitious, I apologize. We all care about one another here and I hope you keep us updated on what you decide to do and on how your son is doing.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    OH my....I agree with all the others, take a deep breath and realize these people are only seeing him at his worst. They just do a diagnosis that fits for his hospital stay. I will give you an example of how crazy this can be. My son has a clear and obvious brain injury. He has also had an autism diagnosis since the age of 2! Many re-evaluations in many settings and it is always the same. Symptoms of these two things overlap with many psychiatric diagnoses (impulsivity, mood shifts, aggression, etc...) and when he recently had a medication reaction that sent him into the hospital he came out with "mood disorder not otherwise specified" and anxiety etc. His private psychiatrist, neurologist, pediatrician all dont see this under normal conditions.

    The only evaluations that can really give you a better chance of an accurate overall diagnosis (except for certain mental health diagnosis) are those that take place when NOT in crisis and that look at symptoms and behaviors over a long time. A Neuropsychology evaluation would be a huge help to you I agree...... CD only describes the behavior they are seeing. He has such a long history of red flags for neurological issues that to dismiss this based on what they are seeing does not seem like sound practice, but it will get insurance to pay for the hospital stay (smile).

    So, for now, take a breath and realize that your son has shown that he is wired differently from the time he was very young. You have done the best you can do with what you have been given.

    Now you have us for cheerleaders and rest assured, diagnosis come and go..... it is heart breaking to hear things that are ugly but there is always more to it than ODD and CD in my opinion....something is going on with your guy. Likely (as with mine) testosterone is making things much more easily triggered. (Boy have I fantasized about some creative ways to help with THAT situation, LOL....sorry gotta laugh sometimes, I cry way too much lately)

    So again, you did not go wrong anywhere, they are letting you down to leave it at around NOW for a neuropsychologist and in my humble opinion not one connected with where you are so that they are not influenced by co workers.
  9. ItSnowed

    ItSnowed New Member

    Thank you all so much! Here is what I did find out this afternoon.

    I already knew there was no history of drugs (luckily both of my children have been drug free). I had tested him a few weeks ago when the behavior showed, because I needed something to blame it on. They tested him upon entry and it was negative then as well.

    But I talked to a social worker today and told her I wanted a second opinion because whereas I agree that he demonstrates quite a few qualities of CD, I really didn't feel that was the issue.

    So she pulled his chart and his primary diagnosis is bi-polar which is something I think I can live with. He does have secondary diagnoses of CD and ADHD.

    They started him on Seroquil last night. So we'll see how that works. And they are currently not treating his ADHD which is fine by me because I can handle

    I stopped by his school today (the behavior modification one) and spoke with his case manager there before going to see him and talking to the social worker. She told me that she truly did not feel that he had CD because he does show remorse when he has done wrong (maybe not right away, but it does occur at some point). She felt that he was bi-polar and suggested that I get a second opinion of the diagnosis I was given yesterday.

    I am feeling much better now and have a more positive attitude. I was scared because they had told me there was no hope.

    I'll have to see if there is a neuropsychologist in this area, as it is still a small town and I have not known there to be one here.
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Oh that is good. and glad he is in there while starting the medication. Then if there are ugly side effects they will see it and can deal with it there. Keep us updated, glad you are feeling better today. (for a neuropsychologist, since it is just an evaluation it is worth it if you need to travel for it, honest....)
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok...glad you feel better, but I would not trust a "case manager" to make a good diagnosis.

    I also live in a small town and had to travel for a neuropsychologist evaluation (an hour). I would have traveled a lot farther, if necessary. You DON'T hear about them, but they exist in university hospitals and children's hospitals and they are worth traveling for. Our psychiatrist got my son wrong and he did not improve on medications. Many kids need a lot more than just medication alone. The neuropsychologist got him right and he is at least 80% better.

    Good luck!
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, ItSnowed.
    I am so sorry it has been such a long road, with-no interventions along the way. Better late than never. :)
    Let us know how the medications work. And keep an open mind; he could have more than one diagnosis. For example, he could have bipolar AND mild autism. Or, a secondary mood order that is a result of sensory issues.
    Fingers crossed!