Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

3 Bumps

How do I go about getting a mental health diagnosis for a 6 year old?

We have had one of the roughest years I ever could have imagined. We think my DS has inherited his fathers bipolar. The school and our councelor are saying we need to get a neuro-psych eval done for a diagnosis, but people I've been talking to are saying we need to go to a psychiatrist. Have any mamas out there been down this road with their little ones?

Answer Question

Asked by kryssie78 at 10:09 PM on Apr. 6, 2013 in Kids' Health

Level 4 (55 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • talk to your sons dr.. they could prob recommend what do to/ where to go.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:27 PM on Apr. 6, 2013

  • you need a psychiatrist or a developmental ped. to do a nero-psych evaluation on him. They do not toss the diagnosis of Bi-Polar around lightly. They will see him many times before deciding what exactly he has, if anything, and even then they will more than likely call it 'a mood disorder' until he is past puberty.

    Answer by But_Mommie at 11:07 PM on Apr. 6, 2013

  • A psychiatrist is physician and mental health counselor combined in a sense. They can prescribe medications unlike psychologists or other types of counselors. Psychologists, psychiatrists and most license social workers (LCSW) can make clinical diagnoses of mental conditions. Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) usually cannot make diagnoses, be covered under insurance, and definitely cannot prescribe medication. I would suggest starting off with a child psychologist first who can do preliminary testing and then refer you to a psychiatrist if medication is likely to be helpful. Look for one with at least 10 years of experience and that has a good website. Those tend to be more customer service friendly and thorough. A few of my friends are counselors and psychologists. If you have more questions, feel free to message me.

    Answer by hellokittykat at 11:26 PM on Apr. 6, 2013

  • Bipolar disorder may not be properly diagnosed until the sufferer is 25-40 years of age, at which time the pattern of symptoms may become clearer.


    Answer by LeJane at 11:39 PM on Apr. 6, 2013

  • As they said you need to see a neuro-psych for a diagnosis.... I work closely with our school psychologist and have been on several evals to the neuro-psych we use thru the school system. Start there.... you can also ask your doc who they would recommend for this eval.

    Answer by Crafty26 at 12:04 AM on Apr. 7, 2013

  • "Bipolar disorder may not be properly diagnosed until the sufferer is 25-40 years of age, at which time the pattern of symptoms may become clearer."LeJane

    That is absolutely not true OP. I was initially diagnosed with BP disorder when I was 8 yrs old. According to my mom, I was out of control, yelling, fighting kids, teachers whatever. When I got stressed, it was worse. Mental illness runs in my family also, so I know my dd may be at risk. I am hoping she takes after my husbands side of the family!  

    Here is a site you may find helpful..

    Well good luck OP!



    Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 1:30 AM on Apr. 7, 2013

  • Look for a behavioral health clinic for children that has child study group. My daughters went to one, it was 4 weeks long where every Monday they went and "played" in a group of other children also being observed and there were 7 specialists standing and observing. The parents met in another room and discussed their children and symptoms. After every session the observers sat and made notes, detailed them for you and presented their findings at the end of the 4 sessions. We were near a teaching hospital so some of the observers were residents or 4th year students. Do you have any teaching hospitals or universities with child psychology majors, they may have programs that are free and the child never knows a thing. They just know they get to go play for a bit.

    Answer by stacy076 at 3:22 PM on Apr. 7, 2013

  • We've been in counseling now for 6 months, she is now leaning towards bipolar. His official dianosis at the moment is "disruptive behavior disorder NOS, and anxiety". The biggest problem with a neuro-psych at the moment is that my insurance is not going to cover any portion. I would prefer going the psychologist route first because I don't want to medicate if its not needed and I want to be sure of the diagnosis before medication as well. We are working closely with the school on this and just got him approved for an IEP. Its just been an exhausting year :( thank you for the advice

    Comment by kryssie78 (original poster) at 4:56 PM on Apr. 7, 2013

  • LeJane- you are incorrect. I know many people diagnosed well before the age of 25. Both of my friend's kids were diagnosed before the age of 13.

    OP: your child's counselor can refer to a psychiatrist for further testing. Most people with Bipolar NEED medication and counseling in order to live with their symptoms. Bipolar is a disorder that is very difficult to control.

    Good luck and I hope your child gets ALL the help that he needs.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 9:03 PM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • Go to a psychiatrist. Neuro psychs are wonderful but they mostly deal with traumatic brain injuries, strokes and the like. If there is confusion/doubt between whether this kid is suffering from the effects of a brain injury or a mental illness, and if the kid had had a serious head injury, I'd beat a path to a NP's door.

    ONE problem is that your insurance may not cover or may not fully cover, an evaluation by an NP. This stinks that some insurance companies can still pull that.

    A psychiatrist is the one who is best equipped to make the differential between bipolar and the possibility of other medical issues. A psychiatrist has full MD training. Much of their work is about making sure it really is bipolar disorder. They systematically go about excluding other possible diagnoses and then can prescribe medication, Occupational Therapy, recommend counselors with experience in bipolar disorder, etc.

    Answer by lancet98 at 7:59 AM on Apr. 15, 2013

Join CafeMom now to contribute your answer and become part of our community. It's free and takes just a minute.