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Old 09-07-2019, 03:23 AM   #1
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Default Re: 8 yr old bipolar(was posted to old thread)

Hi, I am a mom of 8yo daughter diagnosed ADHD and mood disorder - her psychiatrist says bipolar every time we meet, but has mood disorder as official diagnosis.

Finding very little support online for this age group. Can us parents of littles band together and share tips on how to best help our kiddos and keep ourselves together at the same time?

In the past year, her rapid-cycling has really amped up, she’s had about 40 manic episodes over this time period while on Abilify, Concerta and Trazadone. The meds have scary side effects, but she truly can’t function w/o them. I’m just trying to get her through 4th grade.

Do you have any tips for de-escalation, safe restraint methods, how to keep yourself safe when being attacked?

Grateful for any feedback.

Last edited by CANDC; 09-07-2019 at 07:21 PM.. Reason: to post as own thread
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Old 09-08-2019, 02:54 PM   #2
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Smile Re: 8 yr old bipolar(was posted to old thread)

Hello MomofBipolarChild: Thank you for bringing your concern here to PC... and welcome to Psych Central.

I'm not one of the members here on PC you're looking for. But hopefully there will be other members who are who will reply. In the meantime, I've gone a bit overboard & given you links to a baker's dozen articles, from Psych Central's archives. Hopefully some of the information in these can be of some help:

Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Types & Treatments | Psych Central

Symptoms of Childhood Bipolar Disorder

What's the Difference Between Bipolar and ADHD in Children and Teens?

Treatment of ADHD in Children | Psych Central

ADHD Treatment in Children & Teens | Psych Central

I hope you find PC to be of benefit.

P.S. One additional possible resource I'm aware of, based in Minneapolis, MN, is The PACER Center. Here's a link to their website's mental health section:
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Old 09-08-2019, 06:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: 8 yr old bipolar(was posted to old thread)

The following is a post I made about 7 years ago on another forum that I wanted to share with you.

medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try
This will be a long and I am only sharing this perspective to hopefully share with other parents the benefits of early intervention and to educate those who like to jump into a thread with anti-med advice when they either have no experience with meds or no children at all. I am ok with opinions when they are presented as such and with respect and an open mind, but opinions that are presented as fact dripping with judgment venom are not my cup of tea. I guess I could do a blog but this is a one shot deal for me, nothing I could keep up with.

When my son was young he was full of energy, and mischief. In the beginning we chalked it up to him being just like his curious George father. He crawled a 5 months, began talking at 6 months and was walking at 10 months. There was no rest for the weary. By the age of 2, we started noticing how smart he was and how easy he could understand more mature kinds of conversation and how expressive with his emotions he was. He seemed to have a good grasp on what he was feeling and had the words to back it up. We were proud but we also began to worry. He could get out of anything. Open doors, unlock safety gates and clips would plug things into outlets etc. When he would do something dangerous like try and turn on the stove we would pull him aside, tell him how dangerous that was and tell him not to do it. Sure enough, time and time again he would do the same dangerous things. Our conversations always went:
“Jake why did you touch the stove again?”
“Because it was pretty mommy”
“Why aren’t you allowed to touch the hot stove?”
“Because it’s hot and will hurt me”
“Well why did you then? Do you want to get hurt?”
“No mommy, it was so bright and pretty and I forgot”

This kind of conversation happened everyday about a million different things. He began to have issues expressing his frustration with certain fine motor skills (he is also dyslexic, has dysgraphia, and some perception issues). He would have major meltdowns about legit stuff, not your typical toddler stuff. When he was about 4 we started to really try and help him pick up after himself and no matter how I phrased it or broke it down or insisted or demanded he would end up distracted and eventually punished (before I knew how to parent and adhd child) and then all hell would break loose. He would kick and hit me, destroyed curtains and blinds, trashed his room, etc, all at a preschool age. I knew this wasn’t normal and began reading the old fashioned way circa the library with the old school card catalogue. I thought I had a grasp of his issues and managed to see 4 different psyches before I found his current one. The other 4 were either really weird, not experts or had unrealistic expectations for little kids. So his current psyche did her evaul and I called my county to get him early intervention. This was the best thing I did. He began PT, OT and general behavior modifications before kindergarten. He was officially diagnosed with adhd at age 3.5.

For 6 months we talked to the doctor and each other about meds, and I read what I could. I made up my mind that by the age of 4 he would begin some sort of long term treatment. By age 4, he started meds. At the time he was one of a handful of kids this young on meds in my state, most doctors didn’t seem to be comfortable medicating a young child and my doctor was really patient. She suggested meds, but let us lead the way with his treatment program. He began Ritalin which we tried for 2 weeks and had very negative side effects. Then it was Dexedrine. WHAT a difference! Here was the boy I knew only now, he had the capacity to maintain his own safety and sit down and learn the skills he needed for kindergarten. He was able to learn his colors and numbers instead of always trying to start a game of tag during circle time. His intelligence really showed.

Now he didn’t seem like the wild rebellious idiot child to others, he was smart and more in control and I had less fear of him hurting himself. (I say less because these things weren’t completely controlled or eliminated, but that’s adhd for you) We had our share of battles with everyone from my in-laws and family to other uneducated adults in his life. Everyone had an opinion on what we were doing wrong and how we were taking the easy way out by medicating him. They said if we spanked him more that would teach him a thing or two. Here is how I know spanking didn’t work. I lost my ***** at one point with him pretreatment and I got so angry and felt so out of control that before I could thing I slapped him and it was hard. The horror on his face and the ache in my heart for doing that still hurts me. I have never been able to forgive myself so no, physical pain wasn’t effective, because he went right on kicking his ways and yanking the curtains off the wall.

He started school and started to read. He couldn’t stop reading. At the age of 10, he was starting to like certain things by Tom Clancy. Tom f**king Clancy! I can’t even get through that. He out read all of us. He did so well in school that he would finish his work and his teachers would just let him read and also participate because he always knew the answers when asked and never got so lost in his books that he missed what was going on. I had my battles with the schools. He needed an aide but not special ed. He was in special ed for grades 3-5 but in all honesty he was bored to tears and just needed some one on one because as we know, meds only do so much.

Of course his weight was difficult to maintain, but we countered it as best as we could with calorie dense foods and snacks and he never got dangerously thin. He breezed through middle school. The only issue he had there and in the beginning of high school was making friends. He was either to weird or quirky for other kids, or so smart they couldn’t keep up. He did struggle adjusting to the work load in high school but it was mostly because he forgot and lost papers and left stuff to the last minute. And, he started to eat and eat and grow taller and taller. By sophomore year he was 5’9” and now as a junior he is 6’1”. 6 feet!!! He dwarfs me. The summer of sophomore year he was able to do his own research about adhd and meds. He decided, much to my disappointment that he didn’t want meds anymore. What could I do? He was 16, not a toddler. I respect him enough to let him guide his own path even though I think when he gets older he will realize that not taking meds for him, only hurts, not helps, but as teenages go, they need to be allowed to fly a bit farther from the nest. I am just there to catch him if he falls.
Flash forward to now. A strapping junior, in honors classes, with A’s and B’s (except for math, his handwriting never got good enough and it interfered with lining up numbers in stuff) but his math requirements have been met. He was selected to take a psyche 101 class through the county college for college credit, so we paid for that and that’s 1 core class down when he goes in 2014. Not many of the kids had the recommendations to take this course and we are beaming. He also got nominated for honors coursed for his senior year and has this whole Boy’s state thing coming up. Oh and the prom! My boy is going to prom.

Here’s the thing. I did not write this to brag about how awesome we are and how awesome he is, like in a sense that he is more awesome than other kids. I wrote this to inspire hope. Medication did not turn him into a zombie or stunt his growth. He never stopped eating. He didn’t turn into a drone, compliant child with no aspirations. He blossomed. It was like he was a caterpillar inside a cocoon and finally emerged with wings.

If we didn’t medicate him young things would have been much different. I know he would eventually have gone from accidentally setting fires in the woods while playing explorers, to intentionally setting fires to give himself a rush. He would have gone from taking a lollipop in a store, to stealing video games and from others. His moral compass would have suffered because how can a child with these issues and emotional regulation issues absorb some of our core values when he is still learning how to take turns and not punch people that didn’t want to play what he wanted to. I know in my heart that we would have had a much different child. To us, not medicating would have been a kind to child neglect. It would have been like child abuse (to us). Why wouldn’t we want to set him up for success? Why wouldn’t we want to give him the best shot at being his own best self? Why would be make it difficult to live up to his own potential? Why would be part of the cause of his low self esteem and self hatred? Why would be set him up for accidents, substance abuse and possible risk taking, illegal behaviors?

I urge parents to consider these things when looking at meds and behavior modifications. You can’t beat the adhd out of a child. You can’t beat the distraction out of a child. You can’t force a child with a disability to magically learn the steps to cope with a deficient brain, a damaged brain? Would you expect a child with a lisp to talk better? A child with a stutter to speak up faster? Would you expect a child with vision problems to squint and bear it? Or ask a child with a bum leg to try harder to walk and learn to play soccer? You would not because these things are tangible and visible. Read some literature. Do some research. Read some legitimate articles about adhd and its treatment and then come back to me or the parenting section and tell me if you still feel the same anti-med way. Raise a disabled child with no treatment and share your magical secrets. Of course not all kids need meds, or can handle meds. My daughters can’t handle meds and I so wish they could because they struggle a lot.

Until you raise a disabled child with adhd and have experience with both unmedicated and medicated treatment, your opinions are like as*holes because everone has got one.
I adore this son of mine. I would give anything and everything up for him. I can breathe at night because I know I have done my best. I have exercised responsibility in raising him. The only thing left is allowing him to leave the nest and learn to fly. I know that I will have an incredibly hard time with this because I love him that much. It will hurt, but it will be a good kind of pain, like working out.

Thanks for your time in reading this.

PS: in my many battles with judgmental people about 50% of the time, a solid f**k off WAS really all I needed to say.
"I carried a watermelon?"

President of the no F's given society.
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