So Frustrated!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tandcg, May 18, 2009.

  1. tandcg

    tandcg New Member

    After two years of issues and parent meetings at school, my 13 year old son was diagnosed with bipolar and ADHD in December. For some time I had it in the back of my mind that he could be bipolar, since my husband is also bipolar, but I didn't automatically want to jump to that conclusion.

    Now my son is taking Depakote, Risperadol, and Strattera. I also (finally) got him to agree to see a therapist and have just found one that he loves.

    But he continues to have a really tough time handling anger - he cycles up really quickly and breaks things around the house, throws furniture across the room, and gets physical with me and his younger siblings.

    He is constantly pushing boundries. He lies compulsively, has ditched school, and recently took a train with his friends into the city without my knowledge/permission. I have also found out that he has drank on several occasions and has also smoked weed numerous times. I believe he was much more easily irritated during the times that I suspect he was high.

    I try to give him consequences for his behavior, but he runs away from the house when I try to ground him. I give him only small amounts of cash when I know specifically what it will be used for.

    I'm at my wits end with this kid. I'm trying to do all the right things, but I'm seeing only small amounts of improvement in his impulsiveness due to the medications and not much improvement in the rest of his behavior.

    I'd love any ideas on what to do next. Or can anyone reassure me that with time this process will work???
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome! I'm glad you found us, but sorry you needed to.

    The problem could be the Strattera. Side effects include irritability, anger and aggression. In addition, Strattera is an antidepressant (that is used for ADHD), and kids with bipolar disorder frequently can't handle antidepressants, even with mood-stabilizing medications (Depakote and Risperdal) on board. Finally, ADHD-like symptoms in kids with bipolar disorder freqently disappear when their mood symptoms are treated appropriately (but not with stimulants or Strattera).

    To that end, has the psychiatrist (psychiatrist) ordered a blood draw recently to test your son's Depakote blood level? Is he at a therapeutic level? How much Risperdal is he taking?

    So you understand how the medications work in pediatric bipolar disorder, you might want to familiarize yourself with the treatment guidelines found on the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation website:

    Since he's not stable and engaging in dangerous behavior, have you considered a hospital stay, either inpatient or in a day treatment program? Kids can often be stabilized more quickly when they're under constant observation.

    Again, welcome. You will find a lot of support here.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My mom guts tells me that you're probably right--he is in my opinion acting more bipolar than ADHD (I have bipolar). If he is starting to drink and dabble in drugs, any medication given won't help him. That would be my first priority. My daughter started using at 12 and it escalates and it's not pretty. Often it's hard to see the disorder from the drugs/drinking. Weed often leads to more--especially with kids who have disorders. In fact, when we thought daughter was just smoking weed, she was doing pills too. Did you know that ADHD medications are very abused and a hot ticket on the street? My daughter used to crush ADHD medications into a pillcrusher and snort it both alone or with other drugs. She is clean now and has told me a lot about drugs on the street including, "Everyone says to their parents that they just smoke pot and drink because parents are lenient about those two things. They don't tell parents the truth." And we, as parents, don't want to know. I would give him a surprise drug test. They don't show everything, but they show more than pot. You can get them at pharmacies.
    I didn't do too well being able to stop my own daughter so I'm not sure what to tell you. But in retrospect I think I would have slapped her into an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) as soon as I knew she was using anything because these kids feed off their "friends." And their friends are usually the same as they are and encourage the destructive behavior. My daughter needed to get away from her friends!
    Your son needs to be re-evaluated in my opinion. Who gave him this ADHD diagnosis? Seems awfully weak for his symptoms, in my layman's opinion. I would want another opinion. By the way, Straterra can make things even worse.

    Welcome to the board!!!!
  4. Christy

    Christy New Member

    My son who is also BiPolar (BP) and ADHD could not tolerate straterra. At first, it seemed to help and then it began to make him angry and agressive to the point where he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. We have given up trying to control ADHD and focus on his mood.