Mom? What's a difficult child?
OK so we are moving at lightening speed with the medications... and because am single Mom this weekend... I have ZERO time to read... trying to catch up on all of the clean up, laundry, re-packing, dead plants, journals etc!!!

So psychiatrist3 Difficult Child'd the Clonidine- K was literally passing out around 6-6:30 every night, kind of like- Narcolepsy- out cold for 15 to 30 minutes and then up and going until 7-8 and out again. She fell over at dinner one night on the table... very scary, I took her pulse!!!
I know the Prazosin can cause fainting but the first time it happened she hadn't even taken that one yet!!!

So we are increasing the Prazosin to 2mg at bedtime- she wet the bed last night... But did not scream all night!!!
He wants to start Strattera 10mg after supper each evening... he feels with the Abilify being "somewhat" of a mood stabilizer...(I realize that is debatable) this might help with her extreme hyperness, inability to focus and that Strattera touches anxiety in some kids...

I am OK with this because we will be at the psychiatric hospital. But I am still nervous. Any other BiPolar (BP) kids try this??? He still wants to add a Mood Stabilizer, I think he is just trying options right now.
He has mentioned Neurontin and Gabitril.
Her drooling has increased and toungue thrust also since we increased the Abilify also...
I just realized we started her first medication December 13th 2006- we are on our 10th one...
Good news though my mother in law kept asking what she could do to help and husband finally said, well it has been over a 100 degrees in Spokane lately and it is supossed to stay hot... the hotel they are staying at is a dump!!! You could help by getting them into a hotel with a pool!!!
They did!!!! Wahoo!!! K loves to swim... and it has a gym.

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member

Glad to hear you are at a hotel with a pool and a gym! My difficult child has Bipolar. We have tried Straterra but for him it doesn't work. It helps with the impulsiveness but brought about more raging.


New Member
Hey T,

First, Abilify isn't a mood stabilizer. It's an atypical antipsychotic. Second, Neurontin, I did check the website because I had no clue what it is, again, not a mood stabilizer ~ looks like it's for help with shingles and some types of seizures. Gabitril, not a mood stabilizer either. These medications, they don't look to be for Bipolar. Honestly, I talk to A TON of people that are Bipolar and a ton with kids that are Bipolar, never heard of the latter two.

I guess my question would be what you're trying to treat. If your psychiatrist is trying to treat the BiPolar (BP), Strattera wouldn't be something to start with. Umm, we tried it, sent Dylan into a whirlwhind.

So, I'd go look at the mood stabilizers first. I mean, it's great the Abilify is doing something, but yes, the side effects you're speaking of do come from it. So, more than likely, the side effects won't end, you will have to d/c the drug.

Maybe the Strattera will work. Personally, knowing what I know now about Childhood Bipolar, the drugs, and the kids, I wouldn't go that route, but well, maybe your psychiatrist knows something.

Good luck anyway.


New Member
Strattera caused vomiting in my son. I can't even say the word to my son because he remembers throwing up at school on his desk, and was so embarrassed. I hope it works differently for your daughter.


Active Member
I am with the others........for my BiPolar (BP) son Strattera caused rages and mania. Personally, I also would not want start it at bedtime, since it can be stimulating.

I have also never heard of the other 2 medications you mentioned.
I guess while she is in phosph any medication is worth a try, but maybe a meeting with the psychiatrist to see what his master plan is would be a good idea. In addition, I do not think I would want her on abilify if she has those side effects, there is no reason for her to suffer like that.

Good luck to you.......I am so sorry you are going through all of this....but you will find the right combo.


Mom? What's a difficult child?
Janna- I realize Abilfy is not a "Mood Stabilizer" that was why I said it is debatable... it has Mood Stabilizing properties... every psychiatrist I have and have read has agreed with this fact.
As far as Neurontin and Gabatril they are on the list of your Mood Stabilizer's just with negatives after them... I have a list also from another medical site with them on it as well, they are both new. They have not been around long enough to have enough feedback yet.
He wants to work on her hyperness and focus and anxiety... since her anger and violence have decreased.

I would prefer one medication. I am tired of all of this but I feel like I have to give this a chance, this is my 3rd psychiatrist and we will be on the 4th when we are done since November and I just want some help for her.

I asked for a Mood Stabilizer day one... we got Clonidine. Sometimes I wonder if I am speaking english???
It is as if they want to send her over the edge to prove she is BiPolar (BP). Does anyone ever feel that way???
I respect what you are saying Janna, but unfortunately you are not my psychiatrist... I wish!!! I would rather have you prescribing her medications at this point!

SO I will try it and be a good patient Mommy.
Thanks everyone


New Member
My difficult child tried Stratera. I would give it to him every morning and he was taking it or so I thought. He stopped taking it after about a month or 2. He said he could not stay awake in school when he took it. So we tried it later in the day and still he was groggy all the next day even on the lowest dose.


Well-Known Member
Neurontin is NOT new nor is Gabrital. I know kids that were on them both years ago. Neurontin started out as a possibly promising mood stabilizer, but was proven ineffective. I strongly urge you to google a site for this medication. It has been scratched off the list as a mood stabilizer. Gabrital is not new, but is not considered a first line mood stabilizer. I only knew one child, many years ago, who was on it. It was used to enhance the Depakote. Your psychiatrist is using odd medications for BiPolar (BP). First line mood stabilizers are: Lithium, Depakote, Trileptal, Tegretal, Lamictal. Antipsychotics are "iffy" for mood stabilization. You'll have to see how it works for your kiddo. I would do research on these medications. I remember when Neurontin was kicked off the mood stabilizer list--my son still had a wrongful BiPolar (BP) diagnosis so I chatted on a BiPolar (BP) parent/kid website with other moms and it was big news. I would be leery of the psychiatrist. JMO


Mom? What's a difficult child?
Thanks MWM- I have not had time to research either one I just saw the sheet I had and saw both of them on it... funny it listed Gabatril as new???
I don't know... At this point I don't really trust anyone!!! I take your words as pretty honest and serious because you all have been there done that. I really don't know what he is thinking. I will write myself a note so when I'm at the next meeting and I get nervous I will question him if he mentions either of these medications!!!

I know what the first line Mood Stabilizers are but I just don't know why he would push anything else? I will just go in and ask for the ones left on the list...
Thanks so much. THis is so trying right now!


Hi Totoro,

Neurontin and Gabitril are both anticonvulsants used as mood stabilizers, but they are not first-line mood stabilizers. If my memory serves me correctly, these medications are both mentioned in the latest version of The Bipolar Child (but I'm on vacation and don't have my copy with me). I co-moderate a listserv of parents with BiPolar (BP) kids, and there are several kids who are taking Neurontin and Gabitril for mood stabilization with good results. The reason there was so much interest in Neurontin at one point was because it was said to help with anxiety. But I'm not sure the clinical studies have borne that out. I do think you need to have a discussion with the psychiatrist about why these mood stabilizers instead of the first-line mood stabilizers. Perhaps he's had good results that he can share with you.

In terms of Strattera, it is an antidepressant that is used to treat ADHD. Our docs say it only works in about 40 percent of kids with ADHD and are underwhelmed with its efficacy. Common side effects include headache, stomachache, irritability and mood swings (even in kids without BiPolar (BP)). It is worrisome that it is being prescribed for a child with BiPolar (BP) because it can induce mania. My son trialed Strattera before being diagnosed with BiPolar (BP), and it caused 2 full-blown migraines in 3 days. Needless to say, we discontinued it. Now that he's been diagnosed with BiPolar (BP), J's psychiatrist said he would never consider using it for J's ADHD symptoms. Again, I'd ask the psychiatrist why he's focusing on ADHD symptoms when the mood symptoms should be addressed first.

Good luck. I hope you can make some headway soon.


Mom? What's a difficult child?
OK so now I am really freaking out!!! I am trying to pack for our very early departure back to the Hospital... K is amping up. Of course psychiatrist3 is on vacation this week !!!! Ha Ha... go figure. I can only think that this is some horrible way of trying to prove that she is BiPolar (BP)... or something??? Or maybe we do things backa--wards here in Spokane...

lots of time to think I guess. I did read on crazymeds that alot of BiPolar (BP) people have had some good results with the strattera... so lets hope.


New Member
OMG, you don't want me to be your psychiatrist LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Funny, though.

Yeah, I dunno squat, I just know what I hear from others. Our psychiatrist said the same thing as Smallworld's pretty much did. He's not impressed. His words were "Strattera is very underrated". Ok, well, whatever.

I get you about the psychiatrist thing too. I love ours, but even still, sometimes he's a dope. I, myself, Miss Nobody, have to remind him about drug interactions I've read about, or what's new or what's not. He said about Dylan already being on two mood stabilizers too before, when he was on the Lithium/Abilify. I said "I thought Abilify was an antipsychotic?" ~ "yeah, well, it is, but, (just like yours said) it has mood stabilizing properties". Whatever.

The whole thing is garbage. All the medications ~ it's a guessing game. One kid, the stuff will work wonders, the other, it'll make em crazed. Perfect example, this Geodon I just tried with Dylan. psychiatrist says "it'll make him calm down, just like the Abilify, but with less weight gain ~ it's a good choice". I give it to my kid and his eyes are bulging outta his head, he's bouncing off walls, and I can't get him to shut up for one second in a 24 hour period. Yeah, doctor, that's great ~ works real good.

Same with the ADHD stuff that never works. Same with all the other drugs that never worked. But they work good for every other kid.

So, you just have to try. I mean, Strattera could be the miracle drug for your difficult child you know? And then if you hadn't tried it, how are you ever gonna know?

I just don't understand why the psychiatrists don't stick with the tried and true. They pee around with the stims, the antipsychotics, all the other junk, instead of just trying the darn mood stabilizer first. I don't get it.

Anyway, hope things with you get better soon. Sorry for my stupidity of not knowing about those other two drugs, honestly, I hadn't heard of them. Maybe I don't spend enough time online LOL!

Have a good one ~



trying to survive....
I think the doctors try other alternatives to mood stablizers first because of side effects....and the fact that they take so long to build up into your system to see benefits....however I think all the drugs have negative side effects....

My easy child son trialed straterra last year late summer and it didn't work, however, I was really diappointed because it is used to treat all the symtoms he possesses. Now a year later, we're no where. He was on a low dosage abilify for about 6 months and that actually made his very mild depression and anxiety worse. Of the abilify he's better, but totally active and impulsive. He's been on zoloft for one week--it's kind of scary because what if he has a mood disorder and he becomes manic--The doctor did say we could trial trileptal, but I didn't want to start down the whole mood stablizer route when his problems are not that severe?! Who knows

Fingers crossed for your little one--I'm so glad you're at a hotel with a pool--

Sending hugs


Active Member
My difficult child tried Strattera - twice - and it didn't really do anything. First time it was like a miracle drug the first few weeks. We were very hopefully and then gradually, it stopped working. We upped the dose and still, nothing. It was like he was on no medications. We got a new psychiatrist last summer who wanted to try it again. He took strattera and we tried it with and without ritalin. It made no difference - it had zero effect on him. Except that it did make him extremely tired the first few weeks - we gave it to him at bedtime.

My son is being re-evaluated and I they are considering bipoloar. He does well with his anti-depressant and stimulant and it doesn't give him mania. He had meltdowns before ADs and ritalin, and he still does.

I agree with the others - medications are a guessing game - difficult child's last psychiatrist said that most times, psychiatry is a guessing game. You just use trial and error and see what work. My difficult child reacted badly to one AD and does fine on another. No reaction to Concerta, but responds well to Ritalin. It seems like we finally figure out what works and then difficult child gets older, grows, and the medications don't work anymore.

I hope your psychiatrist can find a good medication combo soon and your difficult child gets some relief.