Trying to help 13 yr old son with- ADHD/Bipolar/ Anger

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Ggsgirl, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. Ggsgirl

    Ggsgirl New Member

    Hello everyone!! I am new to this process, but I would love some input on what I'm dealing with. I have a 13 yr old son who was diagnosed ADHD when he was 5, then at age 7 he was also diagnosed with Bi-Polar. Things were going ok till about age 9, he changed drasticallly. He was admitted into the hospital for the 1st time in 2009. He was there for 1wk. Things seemed to calm down a little after that, but soon started back up. This year has been a horrible yr. In 2010 he was taken out of his reg. school and put into a school that housed a place for behavioral students, about 6 kids in the class with similar dissabilities, towards the end of the year he started getting suspended at least once a week, which to me is a game-"I know how to get out of going to school", he was able to go to 8th grade. The summer started out and was horrible, he was put back in hospital in June with a stay of 1 week, he was home a week then threatened to hit me with a shovel and a log, the only thing I could do was take him to the ground, he is 160lbs. Needless to say the cops were called and he had to go back to the hospital, this stay was almost 2wks. His 3rd stay was about 3-4 wks later and lasted 17 days. My son has destroyed about every wall in our house from hitting and kicking them, along with things outside, screwdrivers thru the siding, pulling off downspouts from the house. My son is currently on alot of medications, I think he is over medicated!! Lithium 300mg 3x, cymbalta 30mg 1x, depakote 250mg 3x, Abilify 5mg, 2x, levothyroxine 25mg, seroquil 100mg night, and Vyvanse 40mg 1x. I think this is alot of medication!!! especially for a 13 yr old. He seen a therapist for about a year in 2009 and nothing helped. This school year has been awful, he is back to being suspended at least once a week, he is not doing any of his work, he is getting violent with the teacher and aides, kicking pushing, etc. Yesterday he was basically expelled from the school and is now going to have to go to a different school, more for his needs. He is also heading into a residential placement. I also have a 15 yr old daughter who is very scared of him and I have to protect her. He is very angry!! he says he wants to kill himself, he hates his life, and we hate him. These are hard things to hear from your son on a daily basis. As far as being suicidal, he has gotten knives and put them to his head or arms but never cut himself, one day I believe he will. He has no friends, nobody wants to hang out with him..His Dr. feels he may also have aspergers, which he is in the process of being "tested". My husband and I are at a point that we just can't take anymore. It is non-stop in our household, I work 1st shift and Husband works 2nd shift, so one of us is with him at all times. He lies about everything, steals from us and others, and is rude, disrespectful in public. The school called and told us to pick him up because he was out of control yesterday, my husband told them to call the cops in which they did, and needless to say he got arrested. We have called the cops on him a few times to document the problems but now he has a record to go with it. I would love any insite, advice, questions , anything that will help.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome. I am glad you found us but so sorry that you needed to seek us out. Is there a mental health history in your family or his biological family if not the same? He sounds very troubled and I can't even imagine how difficult your family life is..and evidently has been for some. When he was hospitalized was he given a medication wash or did he just stablize based on his environment?

    Asperger's is usually identified a little earlier on based on social interactions or lack of interactions. Have you had a neuro/psychological evaluation? I'm sorry I don't have an answer instead of questions. You have located a kind and caring group for support and the more we know about him the easier it is to reach out to you effectively. Meanwhile I am sending supportive hugs your way. DDD
  3. Ggsgirl

    Ggsgirl New Member

    There is no history that we are aware of, no diagnosis anyway. I am his biological mother with- father. He was not given a medication wash, i beleive he needs one. I have brought that up with his DR. but nothing yet. They just keep moving the medications, changing here, adding there. He does have very poor social skills and has had for a long time, they were noticed more while he was hospitalized by the Dr. He is soon to be testing for the Aspergers along with personallity and IQ. He really hasn't stablized at all. The medications don't work. My son went from 75lbs to 130lbs in a matter of 4-5 mths in 2009 after the 1st hospitalization. He now ways 160lbs. Hes been on concerta, adderall,stratera, geodon-awful stuff,risperdal, cogentin, prozac,riddilin, you name it he's been on it. I feel that's pretty strong stuff for a 13 yr old, plus add puberty to the mix, WOW.. Thank you for your support and hugs they are well needed, and ask all the questions you want.
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hello and welcome. My son is in hospital right now for the first time and I can't imagine it happening over and over. I am so sorry. Poor guy must be so miserable. Yeah, I agree he is on a lot of medications. Mine is too but different ones except he is just starting lithium. He is not bipolar but has a brain injury and Autism. You are certainly not alone in this crowd!

    Have you had a full private evaluation for him? With the amount of medications, a question of aspergers i would really try to get a complete assessment at a child development center or neurobehavioral center with a neuropsychologist. They have them at university clinics too. You need help sorting thru the issues it seems. Do you feel he really is bipolar? Do you think there is autism/aspergers? what is your gut saying? I assume he was on an IEP so his being suspended over and over is as you said, a game...son got out of school and school just got a break but did nothing to really help. Do you have an educational advocate? If school can't provide for him they have to come up with something. He can't be expelled from school, just a change of placement and it has to go thru the IEP process.
    please keep in touch, Buddy

    My son and several difficult child's here have had terrible responses to medications (that is why mine is inpatient right now. it is the third medication in his lifetime he has had an awful response to, huge rages) we would understand completely if he is not responding well to one or a combination of those medications. Or who knows, maybe he needs something different? All stuff you have been thinking of I am sure.

    so sorry you had to involve the police. Must be heartbreaking. What kind of placement are you thinking should happen? I hear what you are saying about your daughter. You do have to care for her too. Do you have a county case manager for him or anything like that?

    Ok I'll stop, just throwing things out so if anything you say triggers ideas then we can chime in. You of course can just let us know how you are several times a day too. I have done that and it really just gets me through.
  5. Ggsgirl

    Ggsgirl New Member

    He is currently going thru the process of being evaluated by pyschologist that are with Easter Seals. As far as neuropsychologists not sure. He does have an advocate through the CRSA in Illinois. The bipolar I think is iffy, not sure see some signs but that happens in different diagnosis's. The Aspergers I feel the social skills are definetly there, I think ODD might be in there also. Hopefully we can get a true diagnosis after all the testing. Yes he does have an IEP has had since diagnosed with ADHD at 5. We have a meeting in the morning with the Behavioral School and the IEP, us, and advocate. They specialize more in his behavior problems, and they wont suspend him. We feel a residential placement is going to happen shortly if there is no change in him, we feel this way because of the 15yr old and trying to protect her. He has hit her, kicked her, yells at her constantly. along with me and my husband he has come at us with shovels, logs, baseball bats. Were not safe and either is he to a point. Do I feel he is going to try and hurt us when were sleeping? maybe not right now, but eventually yes. We have police reports on file for when hes done these things, but now has a record with being arrested yesterday. That is the hardest thing to do to call the police on your kid, but we had to have the documentation for the process.
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I am so sorry, but you have to do what is safe and that is not negotiable. ODD, adhd, etc. can all be from behaviors that are really part of aspergers. If you feel that might be a ticket to what is going on, I would encourage more than just that diagnosis testing, try to get testing for fine motor, auditory and language processing, sensory integration issues, along with iq and academic stuff. I am sure I am missing things, I am just a little tired right now, smile. Sadly, if he has been treated by them as a behavior disorder all of this time he will have some self esteem issues to fight through too. Before you decide residential, maybe if you can try to get the evaluations done because they type of residetial program may be affected. Maybe not but just in case. Certainly if you can get him off the medications and start over it only seems fair to him and to you. But he may need a medical long term placement for that given the amount of medications.

    Does he have a high interest area that he really focuses on (maybe even talks on and on about it?) it may have changed from one thing to another over the years. Does he understand facial expressions or misread non verbal cues a lot?

    There are other disabilities that can have some Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/aspergers kinds of symptoms like non-verbal learning disorder and some genetic conditions. That is why going to a neuropsychologist and helping to sort thru all of the issues may be so very helpful CAn you ask for what you want or do they push things on you? Again, glad you're here.
  7. Ggsgirl

    Ggsgirl New Member

    I'll start by saying Im glad your here!! They are doing the full testing on him, not just the ones I put down. His interest are xbox!!!!!!! everything revolves around games, usually zombies and stuff like that. He hates to be told NO!!! thats when everything goes haywire, or if you tell him he needs to do chores. He does absolutely nothing he is asked to do. Everything is I hate my life, you hate me, im going to kill myself, or snap my neck, we hear this all day and night long. He has an obsessiveness to the video games, he does things on impulse, he leaves when hes mad and comes back like nothing happened. He says hes sorry when things get real bad, but then goes right back into the same thing he was sorry for a minute later. He likes to make deals and has to be in charge at all times, but we don't let it happen and he gets mad. He hates to take showers, and you try to tell him in a nice way that he stinks, and he just doen't care.

    Thanks for your input and questions, it is nice to know there are others in similar situations to ours..
  8. keista

    keista New Member

    Can you change doctors or get a second opinion?

    Both my gut and my logic are screaming that these medications are WAY too much. You've said as much yourself already? I am guessing they were added gradually. Did they ever work? Or work and then stop working so something else was just added?

    See, this Asperger's thing complicates it even more because it can look like ADHD at young ages. It can look like bipolar at mid elementary ages. If you medicate what it LOOKS like, you can have disastrous effects. I am not saying this is what happened, but reading your posts, my "gut instinct" is really agitated saying that something is really not right here.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Ditto Keista.

    If you have that much "going into him", and nothing positive for results coming back...
    SOMETHING is way out of whack, and the best place to start is the medications.
    Get a clean slate, then do some evaluations and see where things are really at.

    You'll never even come close to the right accommodations, interventions and medications, until you get close to the right diagnosis (or dxes...).

    We were on the right track, and still missed major pieces of the puzzle... and the medications difficult child was on were not the wrong ones... we just didn't have ALL of the ones we needed, because we didn't know ALL of the dxes... but difficult child is only on three heavy-duty chemical compounds - not the long list you documented.
  10. DownTheRabbitHole

    DownTheRabbitHole New Member


    I'm also pretty new to the site and I'm sure you'll get support and helpful advice through this site. I wanted to mention that your description sounds strikingly familar and although we have not had any experience with hospitalization I can relate to the school and suspension cycle.

    I wanted to mention that we take our difficult child to a psychiatrist who is also a psychopharmacologist. I cannot express how reassuring it is to have a Dr who seems to have a more in-depth knowledge of medications. We drive several hours to see this doctor but it has been well worth it. We still have occasional melt downs but over all medicine seems to be helping and our good days gave become the norm and not the reverse.

    Stay strong and I hope that for you and your family, things will start to work out and your son will get the help he needs.

    By the way I have a zombie fan too.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    As one who has been on medications since I was 23 (I am 58) I agree that, no matter WHAT is wrong with him, he is on way too many medications. They are probably making him toxic, which doesnt help. Too many medications are as bad or worse than none at all. I can speak from expeirence when I say that too many medications can almost make you feel like you are living in a dream, which is frightening. I would get a second opinion on those medications ASAP. If medications aren't working, wean off of them, don't add to them...too many psychiatrists don't understand this and add and add until you don't know who the child is and where the medication begins. Not to mention every single medication has a list of side effects and possible medical problems that go with them. I have a limit...two medications. Period. For me. For my child, if needed. Not saying that anyone else should do that, but I have had such bad experiences with overmedication that I won't go there anymore.

    It sounds to me like your son is a very sick young man, perhaps beyond you capacity to care for much longer. You may have to consider out-of-home treatment, especially since you have another child.

    I wish I could help more. Please keep us posted!
  12. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I think you are right, he definately beds a medication wash. I hope you are able to get that done. So many of his medications counteract each other, that I don't know how you could know what is doing what.
  13. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Oh my, my son has a twin! Yes...I get this. Different interests, same behaviors (I always have said God kept my kid little so I could hold him and not get as hurt, but you know those little suckers can be strong when in a rage). While specifics are different, the intensity is the same (my son loves baths and showers and will do too much, he doesn't run away except in this last crisis he did go in our complex woods, to hide) My son is pretty cognitively delayed so maybe a little easier to negotiate with but he panics and fights over any time he feels a consequence will happen. Once he has made a mistake that will require a consequence he goes into fight or flight. I have had to learn to always give him some kind of an out that still applies a consequence but gives him hope. The book "the Explosive Child" helps tremendiously. I have the therapy book for psychologists and therapists that goes with it. That is not even as good but it is nice to have. If you dont have it, this book is great (by Ross Green)

    I realize we can't see your difficult child, so this is not a professional opinion or diagnosis or anything but what you say just smacks of what happens to thousands of Asperger's kids (Aspies). In fact my neighbor has a son who was diagnosis bipolar/adhd and medicated and it made him out of control. Of course, none of the right interventions for a child on the spectrum were being done! In tenth grade he was finally diagnosed. He is now off all medications, in the military and rising in the ranks! He is stellar! One of my students was being treated for adhd/anxiety and in gym class he shoved a girl because she hit him with a ball (as you were supposed to, but he didn't get that...thought she was picking on him) teacher grabbed him and threatened to hit him too so he could feel what it was like. I found him under my desk (I was his case manager). I was working with a jerk of a psychologist and she refused to see the Aspie side of him. I just went behind school's back and told mom to have him assessed. He was diagnosis THAT week. Now he is in gifted/talented classes and only on the adhd medications which do help him with impulse control. Accomodations and behaivoral relaxation and break skills help him deal with any anxiety. social skill training has helped him navigate tricky areas and he gets to avoid things that are just not his interest, why should he have to do gym like that when it will never be a part of his life and causes so much disruption... I am just telling you these stories because IF that is what is going on it is truly hopeful. Having one or two people in your corner to help advocate and stand up for what you are saying really helps to so if you can find anyone to help you thru this it would be super.

    You are on the right track. I have said here that I know the right things at times but having people here support that gives me the boost to push ahead and really do it. It can be intimidating facing those docs and telling them you dont agree and things need to be done over. It seems you feel strongly your kid is on too many medications, it hits all the warriors here that way too. We do tend to be the best when it comes to our kids, they dont see them in real life. We just have to pull that assertive side out and do what we need to do. The first time I fired a doctor was when our neuro took a break to care for her difficult child. The new doctor was from England, thougth my kid was on wrong medications, wanted to know when he would have surgery (he had it two years prior to seeing her, duh) and she said I am the doctor and I will make the decisions. I said (thru tears I admit) well I dont work with anyone who is not a team player. I went to front of the desk said in a not so quiet voice that she was horrible. Our pediatrician took over till favorite doctor came back two years later. (by the way she was fired) Please come here for a pep talk and we will boost you so you can do this if it is what you decide. We are here for you.
  14. SK77

    SK77 New Member

    Hun, you state that he is bi-polar and has ADHD? The medications you listed, (Lithium 300mg 3x, cymbalta 30mg 1x, depakote 250mg 3x, Abilify 5mg, 2x, levothyroxine 25mg, seroquil 100mg night, and Vyvanse 40mg 1x. I think this is alot of medication!!!), I copied them, are for various things. The Lithium and Depakote are both for bi-polar, cymbalta is mainly used for chronic pain, abilify is used to treat schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, seroquel is for depression, and Vyvanse is for ADHD. On some of these medications, I know what they are used for because my 10 yo son has been on them and I have taken Seroquel, which has a side effect of causing hypo-glaucemia. Vyvanse is expensive, and really doesn't work. Does your son have a thyroid problem? That is what Levothyroxine is for, I know this because the 2nd time my son was in the hospital they discovered that he has hypo-thyroidism, and put him on this medicine.

    I agree with you about your son being over medicated, and he definitely needs to be detoxed. I AM not a doctor by all means, but my 10 yo has been in the hospital 3 times since December of 2009, (Dec '09, March '11, & Oct. '11; he chose to spend his birthday in the hospital instead of go to his moms). His dad & mom shared custody (every other week, and she wouldn't budge, and it hurt the kids). My step-kids were greatly affected by this, and my stepson shows has been abused. When told to let thing change she wouldn't budge, so my husband did what was best. Your son is having a very hard time, and with the stimulants of the ADHD medication, and the other medications, he doesn't have a fair chance. If they take him off of his medications, and then start him fresh, and REGULATE them after he has been off of them for a few days, that will GREATLY enhance his chances. I hope that this helps you.