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Diagnosing Bipolar

Posted by on Aug. 26, 2009 at 11:21 PM
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My son is 12 and has been diagnosed with ADD since 3rd grade.   He has been on metadate cd and it really works for school.  Now the doctor say she thinks he may have bipolar nos.  I do not know what to do.  He is fine during the school day.  His grades are good and he has never gotten in trouble.  But he is a different kid when he comes home.  He fights with his sister and gets verbally agressive with us when he is getting punished.  He will slam his door scream and yell for about 5 minutes, but then he breaks down crying uncontrolably.  He will say his life sucks and he hates his family and what is the use of doing anything.  He is not suicidal.  He ias very dramatic and takes everything so seriously.  Most of the time he will get real angry or he will cry.  Sometimes he seems depressed.  i am bipolar and I can manic and depressive episodes any day or time of the day.  How can he keep it together all school day and then some days be a totally different kid?  How do I know if it is depression, bipolar or just pre-teen stuff?  Our Pysch doc. specializes in kids with ADD and bi-polar, but I do not want to put him on meds if he doesn't need them.  Any advice would help.  Thanks

by on Aug. 26, 2009 at 11:21 PM
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by on Aug. 27, 2009 at 6:58 AM

Hi, read the book "Is your Child Bipolar?", it will give a ton of insight ;)

by on Sep. 2, 2009 at 11:38 AM

My son is 10 and sounds very similar to yours. He has been on bipolar meds since he was 7 or 8. Keeping it together at school caused the school not to believe there was a problem until he was hospitalized last November. Now he gets more support at school and does a lot better at home. If you are bipolar, then it is very possible he is also. Do your research. is a great place to start.

by on Apr. 12, 2010 at 2:17 PM

Im just reading this now and that is EXACTLY my 9 yr old. She is wonderful at school, decent grades and well behaved. But when she gets home its another story. Im confused about her diagnosis. She seems to be very angry or very sad. She looks at everything in life very negativly. Says things would be better for the family if she was dead. she is very dramatic too. Not suicidal. When the doctors asked her if she wanted to hurt herself she was shocked and scared of the thought. She's always been angry and impulsive, so they tried her on Intuniv for possible adhd. It calmed her slightly, but did not change the outbursts of crying and anger. Mostly what sets her off is food. Not finding what she wants to eat is usually what starts the behavior after school. She is now on zolft and we are hoping it heps. What did you end up doing?

by on Apr. 12, 2010 at 7:53 PM

My son is ADHD and bipolar. They say most kids that have 1 thing, usually have something else also. He is on Metadate CD and Geodon. My son turns 15 this week and has been on meds since the end of 5th grade. They say there is a diet that is suppose to help. One person says fish oil is suppose to be great too.  As far as knowing what is hormonal and what is bipolar... let me know if you find out. I'm always asking that same question.

by on Apr. 13, 2010 at 7:32 AM

Sound like puberty to me.   I was the same way at that age.  My oldest has gone through that phase.  My son is going through that phase now.  If it's only happening at home, I wouldn't worry about it. 

by on Apr. 21, 2010 at 8:47 PM

Well we are still battling with the confusion of bi-polar and puberty.  He is still on metadate cd for school, but his grades and attitude have suffered signifantly this year.  We added a med at night, Clonidine, because he was so worked up about school and life that he was having trouble sleeping.  This has helped his sleeping.  We also made some behavioral changes at home and thru in new consequences.  He seems to be happier and only has a breakdown once in a very long while,  usually when we talk to him about school or things just don't go his way.  He is showing more and more signs of bi-polar now, but the less significant ones, like craving carbs and going thru mild mood swings.

About the school... I am in a terrible school district for special education at the junior high level.  It took me 5 (504) meetings just to get half of what I had for him in 5th grade.  They too do not believe bi-polar effects his learning or lifestyle.  In fact the told me and I quote "ADD and Bi-polar are not learning disabilities, nor do they affect his learning.  It is more of a life-style choice."  Morons!!  I had to get an advocate to help me with his final meeting of the year.

Putting in place the consequences, sticking to them and letting him know ahead of time what is expected really helped with his behavior.  He is a very picky eater so changing his diet is really not an option.  But, I think what helped the most is getting him to bed at a decent hour and allowing him 9-10 hours of sleep and making him feel special when he accomplishes stuff he really enjoys.  Put that love in there and give alot of support.  Be your own advocate and research and tell the school and doctors what you would like to see happen.  Good Luck and Thanks to all who responded.  I will keep you updated.

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