Dealing with Bi-Polar and mental illness with school age children

Desire - posted on 05/15/2010 ( 5 moms have responded )

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We have a family history of mental illness, and now all 3 of my children are following in my mother's footsteps with this disease...how can you tell if its Bi-Polar vs. Schitzophrenia???We really don't know what an accurate diagnosis would be..He has been diagnosed with Auditory processing, sensory integration, intermittent Explosive disorder, Impulse control disorder, short term memory retention of 30 seconds, PTSD,Severe ADHD, Bi-Polar and they think ASD-PDD-NOS....with all of these it is soo very hard controlling behaviors..We have recently found out through testing that he does have a learning disorder...so now we are getting him entitled for an IEP in school. He is in the 4th grade but functioning at a 2nd grade level....He has a family therapist, a play therapist, Occupational therapy once a week, he goes to a day treatment school, and we are starting intensive home therapy as last resort from placing him in a PRTF...a Residential Treatment facility..usually a long term hospital...

My mother was manic depressant, anti-social personality, Paranoid Sctizophrenia,

Impulse control disorder,Multiple personality disorder, with PTSD...all of us kids have the gene...I do not have any of it, but my kids do...at what age can they be diagnosed and how is it possible to show at an early age for sctizophrenia? My son now is hearing voices, and seeing people who are not there...Desire

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Sheila - posted on 05/16/2010

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Hi Desire,

Bi-polar Disorder vs Schizophrenia. Bi--polar does not usually (but does not exclude) delusional episodes where one might hear voices...however, typically Bi-polar is more closely associated with mood disorder. It is often treated with lithium and a truly competent psychiatrist would be able to help with this. Bi-polar tends to be marked by Manic episodes (I am unstoppable, unbeatable,....delusions of grandure) to and then depressive episodes...(unable to motivate self, self-loathing, regret). These individuals have a firmer step in "reality." However, they view their reality through the haze of their disorder.

Schizophrenia involves the development of a separate reality involving hallucinations, voices...feelings of persecution/paranoia. These people have a tenuous grasp on reality.

PSTD is, I believe, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is not genetic but the results of witnessing/living through traumatic events.

Multiple personality disorder is also, usually, the result of extreme trauma. Personalities "fracture" off the main personality, usually in order to protect an individuals psyche. Example: a child is abused horribly. An alternate personality is created in order to protect the traumatized child.

You have indicated a number of individuals who are involved with your son, but are any of the therapists a pediatric psychiatrist? This is the help you require for your son, When dealing with childhood mental illness, you need a very focused approach. An MRI should be conducted.

Good luck,

Sheila

Renee - posted on 05/16/2010

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Wow you are dealing with A LOT! So 4th grade would be like 10 years old? I think the hearing voices and seeing people who are not there is very subjective since many kids with autism talk to nobody and nothing. They are just talking/repeating, etc. I am not a professional but it sounds like the child you are describing has so many different but related issues and they all seem to be converging. I guess my main concern would be to get him the most appropriate treatment before he hits puberty because his growth, strength and hormones are going to be bigger issues in a few years. I would seek as much professional help as you can find in your area.

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Dawn - posted on 07/13/2011

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Desire you mentioned that your child is hearing voices and seeing people who are not there, may I ask have you checked the side effects of the medications that your child is on? The reason I ask is because my child was placed on a medication about 6 months ago for his bipolar disorder and he began hearing voices as a result. When he finally told me of this I asked him why he didn't tell me about this when it first started he said "because mom everyone else seemed to think the medicine was working"
At that point it dawned on me that he was so eager to please everyone and get help for his adhd and bipolar that he was willing to take this medication and cope with the side effects as long as everyone else said it was working.
I also know that Klonipin another commonly used medication does cause aggressive behavior and sometimes it's best to ask the pharmacist about side effects and the combination of medicines and how they affect your child. Remember you are your child's best advocate. And if you believe this may be the case instead of allowing your child to be diagnosed with more disorders ask your family therapist to tell you what the drugs combined may do and then watch for yourself. I kept a journal of my son when they put him on Klonipin and realized that 45 minutes after I gave him the medication he became extremely aggressive I did talk with his doctor and when she told me to just give him the medicine again it was then that I knew it was time to give another doctor a chance to help my son.

Sheila - posted on 05/17/2010

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Oh Desire,

This little guy (and you) have more than a plateful. My heart goes out to you.

I really hope that the psychiatrist is able to help. When lithium does not have the desired impact, it becomes such an exploration of what meds will/will not work. My father was bi-polar, so I view the illness from the perspective of a child dealing with a parent's issues. All I can say is that my father was also on a restricted caffeine diet (any potential stimulant) and as much as possible, a strictly enforced sleep pattern (lack of sleep fuels bi-polar disorder like nobody's business)

I think the best you can do, as you wait for your medical team to create a plan, is to get as much support for yourself as you can. What I mean is, make sure you are looking after yourself in such a way that you are strong enough to endure what lies ahead. Take one day at a time, but be prepared for adolescence to really take you for a swing.


I don't know what Brown Recluse spiders are, but to me it sounds like there must be a relationship in that the amount of time needed for recovery...the level of toxins that must have been in his system...a nightmare. I am wondering if that needs to be further investigated...I am assuming Raleigh, West Virginia...is there a university/college near you where this type of research might be being conducted...even in the preliminary stages to see what they are learning.

Good luck to you and I hope the MRI and further testing can shed some light on what your little guy is going through.

Be good to yourself and be strong.

Sheila

Desire - posted on 05/17/2010

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Sheila ...yes in fact his Psychiatrist is a pediatric Psychiatrist...
We are having a Neuro-psychological evaluation done at Chapel Hill Children's hospital next month...For now his PTSD is in remission his therapist says...as far as the Bi-Polar vs. Sctizophrenia...his therapist says he has the worst mood disorder she has seen in 20 yrs...but he has both symptoms...you could say episodes where one might hear voices..and Manic episodes (I am unstoppable, unbeatable,....delusions of grandure) to and then depressive episodes...(unable to motivate self, self-loathing, regret). We have tried Lithium...It did nothing for him, did not phase him in the least at he was up to 300 mg..He is constantly paranoid thinking someone is out to get him..let it be a friend, my boyfriend, his sister, and even myself at times...it's a very hard one to call....we also at the same time are dealing with lasting effects from a Brown Recluse spider bite...He was bitten when he was 4yrs by several baby spiders when he was sleeping, myself was bitten too...he was transferred to Chapel Hill children's hospital in Raleigh...(2hrs away)..where he had cellutitus so bad it threatened his pressure plates & growth plates in his right leg...They did surgery..inserted a tube for drainage...then went back in a few days later took the tube out and flushed it...it had gone all the way to the bone...He actually made the medical journal with his bite...he had to learn to walk all over again..he spent 4 months in Chapel Hill, then 2 months here in the hospital in Rehab before coming home...now there is some nerve damage it looks with uncontrollable tremors...we don't know if its related or not...
that is why they want to do an MRI, and some tests...The toxins had gotten into his blood stream when he was 4yrs..and there has not been any studies done for long term effects on the Brown Recluse bites....it may be related, and may not be...we dont know...

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