New to all this

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by jpete, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. jpete

    jpete New Member

    I have no idea what I'm doing here so bear with me. I have a 16 year old who has just been diagnosed with "maybe" bipolar. They aren't sure because right now she's refusing to really talk to anyone about how she's feeling so everything is based on what I'm telling the docs. Things started getting bad at the beginning of the summer and escalated as the summer went on. August was horrible. She has a lot of anger and flys off the handle at everything. She is at times so manic that you can hardly talk to her. She was started on abilify about 2 weeks ago at 2 mg/day. That was upped to 4 mg/day about 5 days ago. She says she doesn't think it's doing anything. She seems calmer at times but not at others. How long does it take before you really start seeing an effect and what should I be looking for? I have read other posts about kids being very fatigued and sleeping alot on abilify. I'm not seeing that with my daughter. Any input from experience would be greatly appreciated! Thanks,
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Mom! I can sure understand why you are frustrated. 16 can be a typical time when a person can have the first episode of mania for typical bipolar. Is she displaying any of these:

    • Separation anxiety
    • Rages & explosive temper tantrums (lasting up to several hours)
    • Marked irritability
    • Oppositional behavior
    • Frequent mood swings
    • Distractibility
    • Hyperactivity
    • Impulsivity
    • Restlessness/ fidgetiness
    • Silliness, goofiness, giddiness
    • Racing thoughts
    • Aggressive behavior
    • Grandiosity
    • Carbohydrate cravings
    • Risk-taking behaviors
    • Depressed mood
    • Lethargy
    • Low self-esteem
    • Difficulty getting up in the morning
    • Social anxiety
    • Oversensitivity to emotional or environmental triggers
    If so, I would hazard a guess you are looking at bipolar disorder. Of course, you would probably want to make sure you get her evaluated thoroughly by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist or a Neuropsychologist. There is also a Multi-Disciplinary evaluation you can request through a teaching hospital if you are lucky enough to live close to one.

    Personally, I dont think simply the abilify (which is an atypical anti-psychotic) is enough to medicate a bipolar person. This comes from personal experience as a bipolar person. I think a BiPolar (BP) person needs to be on a Mood Stabilizer and then possibly an Anti-psychotic medication. I, myself, am on two mood stabilizers plus an anti-psychotic. You may want to ask her doctor about that.

    I have been bipolar since I was a small child. Birth I believe.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I also wonder if she's using recreational drugs. That can change a kid faster than you can say "change a kid."
  4. jpete

    jpete New Member

    I really don't think she's taking any drugs. I've talked to her good friends and they all agree. As for the list of symptoms -- yeah, she's exhibiting probably 90+% of those.
  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It might not even be 'recreational' drugs, but prescription drugs that kids sell. ie; ADHD medications like ritalin or adderall.
  6. jpete

    jpete New Member

    Maybe I'm totally missing something but I really don't think it's any kind of drugs. She's very open with me about what's going on in her life and with her friends. She just has a lot of the symptoms that were listed.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Welcome! Janet gave some good advice so I can't add anything to that. If you ever do doubt that drugs could be involved, though, maybe you could ask psychiatrist to sneak in a drug test.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If you have no reason to believe drugs are a problem, I would trust your gut. Late teens to early 20s are a prime time for what is known as adult onset bipolar to rear its head. She could also have early onset bipolar but have been able to get along ok this far with everyone kind of avoiding setting her off. Maybe before this you had heard her called hyper or difficult or high maintenance. How bout "strong willed?" Those are some of the things we heard about my son and also things my mom got told I was.

    I hope you can find a good doctor to guide you. I would also look into finding a very good therapist for both you and your daughter. Medication is one key but also learning to manage your behavior from within is important. Both are very important tools in gaining control over a health condition that is chronic and life altering but that can be managed so that a person can have a fairly normal and satisfying life.
  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Abilify by itself will probably not be enough to control the manic symptoms you are seeing. She will likely need a mood stabilizer, typically one of the anti-epileptic medications like Depakote, Trileptal, Tegretol, Topomax, etc. My difficult child 2 takes Depakote ER with Seroquel XR to control the manic symptoms. But what works for your daughter may be different.
  10. compassion

    compassion Member

    Hi jpete, Checkout CABF (Child and adolescent bipolar foundation) They have lots of info and support that is applicable to the bipolar teen. I have been through this also. Her behavior and actions mimic drug use but they are the bipolar symptoms. by the way, even with medicition, the mania is still there, just not as extreme. I also get a lot of info and support from Nami. Compassion