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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.

Newsweek Article May 30, 2008

Posted by linnic in Diagnosis.
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Newsweek had a very interesting article this week about bipolar in kids. Several times while reading the story, I was not sure if I was reading a magazine or my own diary. I could relate to SO many of the events in Max’s life. Of you have a child with bipolar, or know someone who does, I HIGHLY recommend reading this article!

One quote that really “got me”: “There was one good thing about this strange diagnosis, she thought: at least it meant she wasn’t a bad mother.”

While the mother in the article had moved past this point of view, I think I am still partially here. I think that at times I use the diagnosis to “prove” that I’m not a bad parent. I feel for the family in this story, but can relate on so many levels!

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.

ADHD vs. Bipolar April 25, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior, Diagnosis, Resources.
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I just found a great article discussing the similarities and differences between bipolar disorder and ADHD in children. I have included an excerpt from the article below. Visit http://www.adhdnews.com/bipolar.htm for the full article. I simply can not believe how well some of this describes my little guy!

By Dr. Charles Popper

Similarities

Both disorders share many characteristics: impulsivity, inattention, hyperactivity, physical energy, behavioral and emotional lability (behavior and emotions change frequently), frequent coexistence of conduct disorder and oppositional-defiant disorder, and learning problems. Motor restlessness during sleep may be seen in both (children who are bipolar are physically restless at night when “high or manic”,though they may have little physical motion during sleep when “low or depressed”). Family histories in both conditions often include mood disorder. Psychostimulants or antidepressants can help in both disorders (that is, depending on the phase of the bipolar disorder). In view of the similarities, it is not surprising that the disorders are hard to tell apart.

Differences

So what features can help in distinguishing these two disorders? Some distinctions are obvious.

1. Destructiveness may be seen in both disorders but differs in origin. Children who are ADHD often break things carelessly while playing (“non-angry destructiveness”), whereas the major destructiveness of children who are bipolar is not a result of carelessness, but tends to occur in anger. Children who are bipolar may exhibit severe temper tantrums, during which they release manic quantities of physical and emotional energy, sometimes with violence and property destruction.

2. The duration and intensity of angry outbursts and temper tantrums in the two disorders differs. Children who are ADHD usually calm down within 20-30 minutes, whereas children who are bipolar may continue to feel and act angry for over 30 minutes and even for 2-4 hours. The physical energy that a child with ADHD “puts out” during an outburst of anger could be mimicked by an adult who tries to “enact” the tantrum, whereas the energy generated by angry children who are bipolar could not be imitated by most adults without reaching exhaustion within a few minutes.

Copyright adhdnews.com

The Beginning October 24, 2007

Posted by linnic in Diagnosis, IEP, Medication.
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My son was born 5 years ago and from the beginning, had more energy than his body could handle. By 5 months, he was doing “tummy scrunches”. He would lift his head and feet up off the floor while lying on his back. He did this so much, his little tummy looked bloated!

Later we hit the terrible twos. He wasn’t much different from any other toddler. He had way more energy than mom and we were forever chasing him. He had temper tantrums like any other boy his age. Unlike many boys his age, these tantrums never improved.

When he was 3 he started preschool. Within 6 months he was being sent home for hurting others. We sought counseling. Things kept getting worse. His tantrums became unmanageable and we had to physically restrain him. I have a background in special education and had been trained to deal with severe behaviors that required physical restraint. Soon we were restraining daily. We sought out a psychiatrist to begin medication. Soon, things at school were not good and he was asked not to return. We sought testing for special education placement. So far we were told this was ADHD (a severe case) and Oppositional Defiance Disorder.

Testing showed he was gifted in math. No surprise there. At 2 years he was able to add and subtract in his head, although he had no idea what math symbols were. He was placed on an IEP and into a special education Pre-K. With med adjustments occurring monthly, things still weren’t right. He completed the program and we had a nice summer. That brings us to the present.

This year my son started kindergarten. His first few days were great. We were in the process of finding a new house, and moved about a month ago. This set us into a downward spiral that we are still in the middle of. At the beginning of October, he had an episode at school in which he was restrained for over an hour, the decision was made (by me and the school personnel) to call in a community police officer to help transport him to a crisis center. A hospitalization at a pediatric psychiatric hospital followed. That had to have been the worst 5 days of my life! Since we have had med changes, and finally, what I consider an accurate diagnosis. The diagnosis of Pediatric Onset Bipolar Disorder was given last week. Since then I have done a TON of research and things are finally making sense. I see the mood swings that he is cycling through at the incredible rate of manic to depressive within minutes.

I decided to begin this blog as an outlet for myself and hopefully as a resource to others. I have not yet found a support group, but am looking for one. Until then, and even after, I plan to use this blog to post my thoughts, research and insight.