Truely At-Wits-End

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by at-wits-end, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. at-wits-end

    at-wits-end New Member

    I have been visiting this site on and off for quite awhile now and have received encouragement from afar but now, I am at a real loss. My difficult child has struggled his whole life. Last year we just wanted school to be done and over with. We had a pretty good summer with very little issues. School has started again and just 2 days into it, the SW is calling with problems. He is 15 almost 16 and can't function in an social setting. He is back to sleeping in class, then gets angry when the teachers call him on it, and now he has started cutting himself. (over a girl). I don't know how to help him and it breaks my heart to see him go through this day after day after day. He only is in class 3 hours (ei classrooms) a day then has skill center the rest of the day. The SW at school works constantly to find solutions for him but he just refuses to comply. He has been in therapy but we quit by mutual decision. Ryan refuses to help himself. He takes Abilify and Lexapro and that helps with the anger issues (as long as we don't miss even one dose!) I guess I need some suggestions on how to help him and how to help myself. I can't do another year like last year and really don't know what to do. any suggestions?
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Is he still on the Concerta? It is in your profile, but you do not mention it.
  3. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Sorry :( While much younger, my son also struggles with school and social situations in general. He is so overwhelmed and the school problems have started already. I feel the same way you do, my son has been dealt such a bad hand, and it breaks my heart that he has to work so hard at what comes naturally for other kids.

    Wish I had advice to offer.
    Sending hugs,
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry.
    There are some parents here of kids who were cutters, and they may be able to help you.
    It sounds like he's easily frustrated. And maybe his medications are too strong? He shouldn't be sleeping in class.
    Wish I could help more.
  5. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    wow cutting, I think I would go for an emergency psychiatric evaluation on the cutting, as much as I hate them, and most of the time it's a complete waste of time, I would think self injury might be enough to get him into a partial if not residential program?
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My daughter used to be a cutter and also one of my dearest friends was one. Both said they did it to "relieve stress" (no, I don't get it, but I believe it). Both said it gets addictive and needs intensive therapy to stop. A big trigger for cutting is sexual abuse. Both of these people had been sexually abused. A few other things:
    Lexapro can make anyone, especially a child, even worse. So can stimulants. Both are activators. With a diagnosis. of bipolar, I would think he'd be doing very poorly on those medications. Believe it or not the allergy medications can also cause extra activation. The kid may be doing poorly due to the medications that are supposed to be helping him. Any reason he's on them, and not a mood stabilizer? I would want a second opinion on the medications.
    Also, has this kid ever been evaluated for Aspergers? HIs social problems seem very extreme. That usually isn't the case with bipolar. Bipolar can cause poor social skills, but the kids usually try to interact.
  7. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    The others have given good advice.

    Does he have an IEP at school? I think you could get one with his diagnosis. They can make accomodations for him to make the school day less stressful and give him more individualized help.

  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry. this is a rough road for parents, as well as their kids.

    Cutting is not considered a psychiatric emergency by most psychiatrists, phosps, or even regular hospitals. The cutter is not trying to kill himself, but to handle stress. Has your son had therapy for the sexual abuse? Even though he was much younger he really needs to be in regular therapy for this.

    Cutting IS addictive. It releases endorphins and can be extremely hard to stop. Both my son (Wiz) and my mother have been cutters. They actually stopped TOGETHER - and my son has kept my mom from cutting by telling her that if she cuts he can too.

    I think your sons medications need to be looked at. People with bipolar need to be on mood stabilizers - before anything else. The recommendation for medications is 1 or even 2 mood stabilizers and then to address any other problems like ADHD, etc.... MWM is right that the medications for ADHD, depression (lexapro, ANY antidepressant) and even cold/allergy medications can send someone who is bipolar into cyclling. Some adults here who have bipolar have said they were astonished how many of the problems like ADHD, etc have disappeared once their moods were stabilized. There is actually a form of bipolar that is CAUSED by SSRI medications.

    Is it possibel to let school problems stay at school and to have home problems dealt with at home? Some of us had to quit riding our kids for htings they did at school, or even about homework and let school hand out whatever consequences they felt were needed for whatever happened at school. We had to not turn our homes in to battlegrounds where we fought over assignments, sleeping in class, tardies, etc.... Not because we didn't care, but because it just was too much.

    I am glad the school SW is trying to help. Have you considered other schooling options? Many districts now have other placements, or offer online classes, as do some states. Homeschooling can also be a good option. School was such a problem for my daughter because health problems that we pulled her out in the 2nd quarter of 6th grade and homeschooled her. She just went back to school this year for 8th grade. I know high school is different, but if there are other alternatives he may need one of them.

    With bipolar he may just not bea ABLE to handle social situations. Or he might have th incorrect diagnosis. These disorders are NOT easy to diagnosis, not by any means. And the wrong diagnosis often leads to the wrong treatment. So it may be worthwhile to have a new evaluation done to see if you are treating the right disorder/disease.

    Does he have any sensory problems? Most OTs only get kids in their practices, but sensory integration disorder and other sensory problems are part of life for many of us. It would be worth reading the book The Out of Sync Child or doing some internet research to see if it is something you should try to get help for.

    does your son have any learning disabilities? If he does, school may be impossible for him - though not by his choice. My oldest has dysgraphia and dyscalculia - disorders in writing and math that are similar to dyslexia. It took a lot of work to get soemone to test for them, but the help we got made a LOT of things much easier for him (and us).

    I do think that the abuse when he was 7 may be at the root of much of this. It is a very difficult thing for adults to handle, and even harder for children to handle.

    Anyway, glad you came out of lurk - but sorry you needed to!
  9. at-wits-end

    at-wits-end New Member

    Thank you for all the replies. I feel so alone in this and it's nice to know that I am not the only one going through this. We had an appointment with a new psychiatrist. She has ordered total blood work, a sleep study and a total nero-psch exam. I am hoping something of substance will come out of these tests and we can get a better diagnosis and maybe get a handle on the proper medications. We have tried many medications in the past, but the Zoloft type medications made him gain so much weight, it caused it's own problems. Thanks again.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hey, you really are NOT alone. It is just that we are so spread out, and I think most of us find it hard to network in real life. I know that with my difficult child the few people who actually knew how bad it was were horrified, the rest seemed to believe I was inventing stuff (who could invent a child trying to strangle a sibling?? I mean really, why on earth would someone invent THAT??).

    Remember we are here. We ahve a lot of experience, but we don't know it all. we DO care about you and your family. So don't be a stranger.

    It is GOOD that the new psychiatrist is doing LOTS of tests. I hope she can help pinpoint the exact problems AND some solutions that really help.

    Many hugs,

  11. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Just wanted to add a welcome and to re-enforce that you're NOT alone!

    Mine was on abilify and his school counselor actually called to let me know that she (even though she could lose her job for the call!) felt that difficult child 1 was SO stoned that she didn't think anything she was trying to work with him on could POSSIBLY sink in!

    We're here for you (even if it's just to blow off steam!)!

  12. tkjfamily

    tkjfamily New Member

    My son also sleeps ALOT during the day regardless of the amount of sleep he gets at night. We have had a sleep study which came back ok. Additionally, they have adjusted his medications but again no improvement. Over the past year, however, he seems to be improving in this area. We're not sure what initiated the change however.