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Medications December 5, 2008

Posted by linnic in Medication.
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A question was posted on one of my pages that I thought I would address as a post rather than just a reply since I am sure others have the same question.

“The only thing that worries me is that my son is now on four different medications and I am just not sure if that is healthy for him. We have tried so many medications and these are the only ones that seem to work. I was just wondering if you have the same problem and how much medication your child was on?”

My son is currently on 4 medications- Seroquel (250 mg), Benedryl (25 mg), Concerta (27 mg), and Celexa (10 mg).  We have tried others- Risperdal, Abilify, Depakote, Ritalin, Metadate, and Focilin.  We have been on the medication rollercoaster since he was 3 1/2 and are just now getting to a point were we are seeing improvement (at 6 1/2).

Medication is a difficult issue.  No parent WANTS to medicate their child for any reason, but some children need medication to function.   No parent would deny a diabetic child the insulin they need to function.   Likewise, I can’t deny my child the medication he needs to function.  I have hopes that as he ages, and is able to process his actions better, that we will be able to go down on the medication, but at this point he needs it.

My child unmedicated would not be able to attend school and would endanger those in my family.  I am not convinced that we have reached the right combination of medicine yet, but I feel like we are on the right track.

I have had a few negative and extremely hurtful comments left on this blog about medicating children, and my child’s behavior- I moderate them so they were never publicly posted.  I work in the field of education, I have seen medicine over used, underused, and everything in between.  I have heard parents swear by medicine, and swear against meds.  I have heard so many people attack my choice in giving my child medication, but the bottom line is that this is what MY child needs to be able to function in daily life.

For all parents out there with a bipolar child, it is a tough and very long road.   You  have to make HARD decisions, life altering decisions- to medicate or not, to hospitalize or not, to institutionalize or not.  None of these decisions are taken lightly by any parent.  In the end though, you have to do what is best for your family and for your child.  Surround yourself with as many professional opinions that you can, and then make an informed choice.  I feel for each of you, I personally know how heart wrenching having a bipolar child can be.  My child is a blessing, but he often brings me to the point of pulling out all of my hair or moving to a foreign country.  I love him, as I love all three of my children, more than life itself.  I would do anything to take this disorder from him, but unfortunately I can’t.  What I can do is provide him with every possible tool to make it through life successfully.

Suspension August 29, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior.
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Well we have now had our first official suspension of the year.  We have been to the principal countless times, all this and school has only been in session two weeks.  They are looking at putting him back on an IEP but we have to go back through all of the testing again.  I sure wish SOMETHING would be easy.
Today he even had his case manager sitting with him, and he still couldn’t keep it together.  UGH!!!   Luckily we go to the Dr for a med change next Wed.

Back to School August 21, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior, IEP.
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Well the kids (and me too) are back in school.  This is a double edged sword around here.  B has already had some trouble.  Day 1 & 2 were fine.  Day 3 he had to change his colored card for talking.  Day 4 he kicked another kid.  Day 5 we end up in the principal’s office for throwing sand at a teacher’s face.  Day 6 we over turn chairs and desks in the classroom and visit the principal again. Eachrage just increases in intensity.

I had a feeling this year would bring the same issues back to light.  When we went from all day to half day kindergarten last year, we saw HUGE improvements.  Now we are back to all day and things aren’t going to well.  We may be in 1st grade but this is the 3rd August of school/PreK and the 3rd time we have started down this road.

I will be seeing soon if they are going to put him back on an IEP.  They are going to have to do something before someone gets hurt.  Boy do I ever wish this whole parenting thing was easier.

Spray paint- AGAIN! June 3, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior.
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I THOUGHT we had gotten rid of all the spray paint in the house, but boy was I wrong!  My son found a lone white can and resprayed his car!  I am so furious with him.  I have now taken the chargers for both cars and locked them up for at least a week.  I am trying to decide if I should make him scrub the car clean again- obviously it did nothing to deter him.  I know he is impulsive and that is part of the ADHD/bipolar, but geez!!

Things this summer have been terrible!  We have had to restrain and punish like crazy and NOTHING seems to work.  He has had everyone in the family in tears; including my parents!  I don’t know what to do with him! I am completely at my witts end.  We called the Dr and she wants us to give him a few days on the new medicine, but I’m not sure how much I can take.  We had 4 hours of bliss today because he went to an anger management group for that time.  I wish it would have been all day long.

We have started a positive reinforcement chart in which he can earn happy/sad faces, and then gets a prize if he has so many of them.  Right now, he is earning a face every 30 minutes and if he gets 10 out of 12 by 1:00 then he gets a prize.  Then in the afternoon/evening if he earns 12/14 he can get a prize.  So far he has earned one prize in the past 6 days.

He had been doing so much better before school let out and now we have fallen down the mountain.

Rough Night May 20, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior.
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Last night was a rough one around here.  My son had another episode that ended in a restraint.  The good news is that it had been a couple of weeks since we last had to restrain, but last night he just lost it.  His older sister didn’t want to play with him and he just couldn’t handle that.  It was a tad early for meds, but I decided to have him take them at that point, hoping it would kick in and head off a meltdown.  Well giving the meds starting us down the “point of no return”.  The restraint lasted about 15 minutes, and then he calmed enough to get ready for bed.  I laid with him until he fell asleep.  He was so restless when we first got to his room, but between a backrub and calming music (Josh Groban) he finally calmed down enough to sleep.

Tonight was better, so I hope we continue to have better nights.

Is it bipolar? May 18, 2008

Posted by linnic in Diagnosis, Resources.
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If you are concerned that your child may have bipolar, or if you are not sure, The Bipolar Child – What to Look For is a great article to read. It talks about how closely related bipolar and ADHD are in children but lists a few distinguishing criteria:

  • ADHD kids break things carelessly while bipolar kids tend to do so in anger.
  • ADHD kids calm down in 20 to 30 minutes while bipolar kids tend to rage for hours.
  • Children with ADHD are triggered by overstimulation while bipolar children typically react to limit-setting, such as a parental “no”.
  • ADHD children are often unaware of the danger of their behavior, while bipolar children tend to be risk-seeking.

I would highly encourage you to read the full article.

Just needs a little discipline May 13, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior, Medication.
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I am so tired of hearing this phrase.  “He just needs some discipline.”  Granted, this is mostly coming from my ex who is largely uninvolved.  It is a phrase though that I hear in reference to my child, but also to many others.  I wish that people would understand that yes, discipline is a VERY important part to dealing with any child, but when there are biological issues that the child is dealing with, discipline can only go so far.  I have no doubt that I could beat my child black and blue and his behavior would not change. (I would NEVER in a million years try this!!)

I also get tired of hearing “he shouldn’t be on meds.”  Really?  And where is your medical degree from??  I know that kids tend to be over medicated, and that other things should be tried first, or at least in conjunction with it.  My son was in anger management/ therapy by the age of 3 and started meds shortly after turning 4.  Do I like medicating him??  Heck no!!  But, my other children deserve to live free from fear that he will hurt them.

Let’s see….other phrases I can’t stand (now I’m on my soapbox)…

  • “If he were my kid…”  Well, he’s not, thank goodness.
  • “Just spank him.”  Back to the beating comment earlier.
  • “Have you tried…?”  Yep, I probably have.
  • “There is this new….” Sorry not into accupuncture, accupressure, chiropractic, or other nontraditional methods.  Not to say they don’t work, but I am leary.
  • “He doesn’t act that way with me”  You aren’t around him everyday like we are.  Plus he is getting one-on-one attention, and everything he wants- who wouldn’t act pretty good given that??
  • “When my kids throw a tantrum, I just…”  Does your child’s tantrum involve bruising others, biting others, putting holes in the wall, throwing dangerous objects, and darting into traffic?  He can’t be left alone in his room, without causing major damage- some of which is dangerous to himself or others.

We all say things similar to these, I have even found myself uttering “well my kids…”  The point of all of this is that when you aren’t the parent and don’t know the whole situation, it is easy to judge.  It is easy to glare at a parent in the store because their kid is screaming and they “aren’t doing anything about it, but did you ever consider that maybe the child fell and got hurt?  Or the parent has already punished her?  Or that maybe the parent is at their witt’s end and is just surviving the trip??  I am trying to make a conscious effort to instead of glaring, make a positive, supportive statement to the parent.   Then I say a little prayer… “Thank you God, that it isn’t my child THIS time.”

Educating the Bipolar Child April 25, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior, Education.
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As a teacher, education is an important part of my life. Yesterday the teachers at my school had an inservice over BIST which is a program designed to help kids with severe behavioral problems succeed in school. This was not a first inservice on this program, but it provided me with some things to think about in regards to my son. The program stresses holding kids accountable for their actions.

One key quote that stuck out in my mind yesterday was “intervene when you see it, not feel it.” So many times I wait to react until I get emotionally invested in the situation. Whereas if I would intervene earlier, things might be better controlled. BIST teaches kids to think about why they did what they did and what they can do next time. It gives them 3 goals to make them successful in life.

1. I can make good choices even if I am mad.
2. I can be ok even if someone around me isn’t.
3. I can do something even when I don’t want to.

A person can not survive in our world without these skills. How many times do you have to do something you don’t want to do? How often do you have to be ok even when someone else isn’t? (Parents of bipolar kids do this everyday!!)

A person lacking those skills:

can’t hold a job
have trouble maintaining positive personal relationships
end up in jail
have chaotic lives

Biploar Children April 5, 2008

Posted by linnic in Diagnosis, Resources.
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When we got the diagnosis for our son last October of Bipolar Mood Disorder, I didn’t know what to think.  Was this just another label to add to list or was this accurate?  I began doing some research and everything I read seemed to describe my son perfectly.  During that research, I ran across one of the best on managing the often erratic, and unexplainable behaviors associated with the disorder.  Julie Ward is the author of the article “Techniques for Dealing with the Bipolar Child”  The article lists the mood, symptom, signs, and techniques associated with various behaviors.