Teenager with bi-polar disorder

Kimberly - posted on 11/08/2008 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My 15 year old son has a lot going on. He is ADD, he suffers from depression, and he is bi-polar. All of which he gets from me (the guilt factor). Anyway since the summer things have gotten worse and worse. I have gotten to know the police more this year than I have ever wanted to. He had finally gotten to a point where he would sneek out of our house every night around 3 am to walk around or meet with friends. receintly he has been in 2 hospitals just 3 weeks apart. But now I have a camera set up in my house, I quit my job, and I dont sleep in our bed anymore, I sleep on the couch, so if either of the doors are opened, I am alerted, and we are thinking about an alarm system as well. With me not working things are tight to say the least. I put his meds in his mouth myself, and check it to make sure that he actually took it. I have even tried to give him a clean start by transferring him to a new school across town. I drive him every morning, and pick him up every afternoon. How do I get my piece of mind back, how do I not let this destroy my marriage, and make sure my son is safe at the same time? I am loosing my mind!

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Melanie - posted on 11/10/2008

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Kim,



As far as meds go, we have found both with our BPD family members and with our schizoaffective family members that antipsycotic drugs seem to work the best. Zyprexa worked the best for my husband, but unfortunately, that also gave him diabetes, so we won't try that for our son. They are both on Abilify, and it makes a WORLD of difference. They are completely irrational and unreasonable when they are off of it, and usually reasonable when they have it. Zachary also takes Zoloft, which has helped with his impuslivity some. His doctor recently took him off of Topamax (he had been having migraines--my side of the family has chronic headaches) and Depakote (we're trying to drop some of the weight, and since we don't have insurance now, we hadn't been able to afford it anyway). One of the biggest challenges is to keep him active as well. While he was playing football over the summer, he was too worn out to cause trouble at home--he'd come home, shower and collapse from exhaustion. He couldn't deal with the pain levels though, and he quit. Then he quit wrestling. Why he goes for high-impact sports when he has no pain tolerance, I don't know....



When he is absoutely uncooperative, we have told him that his only other options are to go to the hospital. He hates it there. We've had to call 911 on him once, when he pulled a knife on himself and wouldn't put it down. The officer came into the house and aimed a taser at him and scared the crap out of him. He didn't like that experience too much either. I've found that when he starts acting out at home (not wanting to take his meds, being physical, etc.), it usually comes down to something that's happened during the day, or that he's just tired. If I can get him so mad that he actually starts talking, he will eventually break down and open up. He then goes to his room, takes his meds if needed (dose him with a Unisom if I think he needs it), and then sleeps it off. When he wakes up he's a different boy, and completely appologetic about what transpired before he fell asleep.



Again, I don't get much support from my husband during all this, as he's dealing with his own illness... his depression is very bad right now, and I've even had to take his meds away from him. I just do the best I can, pray a lot and take each day as it comes. I don't know you well or your husband at all, but I would try to have a private, frank discussion with him and let him know your honest feelings. Tell him you are trying your best to help your son in every way you can, and that you love both of them and don't want to lose either one of them. Let him know that you need his help, and his back-up. You need to present a unified front when it comes to your children, otherwise they will think that they can get away with things when one of you is away (i.e., if Dad's not as strict as you are, when you're at the store, he'll let your son do things you've told him he can't do). We've had that experience, and it's not fun to deal with.



I'll continue to keep your family in my thoughts and prayers, and be on the lookout for your posts.

Bridget - posted on 11/10/2008

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Hello, Kimberly. It looks like you do have your hands full. I have been on meds since I was 9, that's almost 24 yrs. I gave my parents such a hard time. Now that I am grown with children and I see it in my daughter, it scares me. I have had so many doctors, meds, therapy, you could make a long list. It is all trial and error. The major thing that helped me was institutionalization. Sounds scarey huh? I was 17 at the time and at my lowest point ever. My parents took the opportuntity when it was offered and it gave my parents time to get things in order and the doctors time to find a good med for me. We moved for a new start and I had all of my family behind me. I have been stable and on my own feet for yrs now. My mother does a lot for me to make sure that I stay on the right track. I couldn't have done it without their support. The cheek - some meds can be poured into juicies, I had to take mine with orange juice - :(

Kimberly - posted on 11/10/2008

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Thank you so much. my son has had several doctors. They started by giving him anti depressants, which, as you probably know, is not good for BPD, this put him into a downward tailspin. He would get worse. Now he seems to be dong somewhat better as long as I monitor that he has taken his medication.

He has good days, and bad days. The bad days drive me crazy. I will not back down, and that throws him off, I think. He does doublethink himself, as to how far he is willing to take whatever he is doing, and I think he considers at what point I am going to wash my hands of it all for the good of the rest of the family. I can see him think and back off sometimes.

I think now that he knows that I have the CHINs order in place (child in need of services) he is trying harder to cooperate.

My biggest challenge with him is that he is coodependent on his friends, and they are the cause of a lot of his problems wheather they mean to be or not. And as you know, family doesn't rate over a teenager's friends. Wheather it sounds crule or not, I have put him in another school across town, I drive him to and from school every day, there are no buses that take a kid out of his own district. I wanted to give him a clean slate. He doesn't understand that and he hates me for this. Many say he will find the same element at the new school, but my answer is that they dont live near us, so they will not have the same hold on him, because they will not have the same access to him. That is my goal.

I do appreciate all of the help, sometimes venting is all I have.

Please feel free to make friend requests. I really appreciate knowing there are others in the same boat who understand.

Kim

Melanie - posted on 11/10/2008

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Oh, Kimberly--I so emphathize with you. I have a 14 year old son who was diagnosed two years ago. We have a very strong family history of BPD; I have it, my younger sister had it (with adolescent onset), and my husband has schizoaffective disorder. My 11 year old son has ADHD and severe depression. Both my parents suffer from depression, as well as my father-in-law. Needless to say, we have our hands full as well.



My son's form BPD includes severe anxiety and rage. He feels that the world revolves around him, and that he should receive everything he wants so that he will be have acceptably, not the other way around. We go the rounds and have several (loud) arguments because I stand my ground and don't give him what he wants until he behaves appropriately. Because of my husband's illness, I don't often get a lot of back-up from him, which leaves me to take on the boy (sometimes physically) on my own. He is taller than me, and has 60 lbs on me, mostly due to his meds.



I have found that things have gone a little better since we have started going back to church. We didn't go for about five years. Things got really bad during that time, and are just starting to get more manageable now, even though we don't have health insurance. Both boys have gotten involved in Boy Scouts, and that has 1) kept them busy, and 2) taught them some values that they've kept with them.



The other thing that has helped immensely is that we had our oldest evaluated for special education help at school. He actually qualifies for the gifted program, but has enormous difficulty coping with the workload with even regular classes. He had an IEP done at the end of last year, and now that he is in high school, has one class each day to help him with the rest of his classes. He has gone from failing many classes to failing NO classes. His lowest grade is a D, and he has three A's. He's looking much more like the son I had in 6th grade (who won the President's Academic Award) than the son I had last year.



Also, you have to be, for lack of a better description, a pushy bitch, with the health care system. No one else will be an advocate for your child, and no one knows your child better than you. My oldest had a violent reaction to Adderall after one dose that put him in the hospital for a week. The insurance company seriously questioned me when I called and told them why I was calling. I was like, "Look, he's tried to kill me, my husband and himself. Are you gonna authorize it NOW?" It was ridiculous.



I hope some of these suggestions help you. I'm on Facebook usually several times a day, so feel free to let me know if you have any other questions. I'll keep your family in my prayers.

Misty - posted on 11/09/2008

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I am Misty. I understand what you both are going through. I was recently diagnosed bi-polar and have been on various meds for over 14 years for depression, anxiety, bi-polar, etc.. It is very hard for a teen to understand what is going on with them without being bi-polar. I was put into a hospital when I was 16 and honestly, it was the worst thing I ever experienced to this day. Sometimes, they make you feel worse then what you really are. I would recommend maybe changing doctors to just get a fresh take on things. I would also be getting an alarm system so you can get back to your bed and your husband. (My mother pretty much lost her 2nd husband over our ordeal.)

I hope everything works out and if need a point of view from someone that has been down his road, just let me know. OK?

Kimberly - posted on 11/09/2008

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we put them in his mouth, we check it after he takes them. he has gotten very good at cheeking the meds. We have even considered putting it in his ice cream or what ever. Whatever it takes I guess.

Denise - posted on 11/08/2008

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I kwym, its gotten now that I have to watch my son to make sure he takes his pills ... a few times Ive "thought" he took them to come in my kitchen later & see them in the sink .... so I watch him every time now. For a while I thought my son was bipolar & bought all kinds of books on it to educate myself. I hope the med change helps, GL!

Kimberly - posted on 11/08/2008

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Thanks so much, his meds were just changed, the fact is that he had started "cheeking" the meds and not taking them. That is one of the problem with us Bi-Polar personalities, when we think we are ok, or we are manic we dont feel that we need meds any more. The last time I went off, I maxed 5 credit cards in a manic stage.

I do what I have to it is just really hard with no one here that understands.

Denise - posted on 11/08/2008

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Im Kimberly! Sounds like you have your hands full! My oldest son has a handful of diagnosis - Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Severe ADHD w/ anxiety & OCD traits to name a few .... he just turned 8 but about 6 or so months ago I wasnt sure he would live to see 8 - things were bad, the meds he was on at the time did nothing but make matters worse to say the least - he destroyed his room, punched a hole in his bedroom window . . . our marriage was/is strained often & most days I feel at my wits end & wonder "How am I going to do this all over again tomorrow?" but you do! All you can is to continue to do your best, be consistent & take each day at a time. I imagine w/ your sons dx & him hitting puberty is making matters worse . . . I am wonder how my oldest teen yrs will be ....... as for making sure your son is safe, my thought is do what you have to do even if thats putting locks on his window(s) and locking him in his room at night . . . not sure if he is or what meds but maybe he needs to have his meds modified or changed?? Take time for you when you can to just relax & decompress! Its tough I know but you have to take care of you first & for most if you dont you'll be useless to everyone else!

Hang in there!!! If you ever need to chat Im always here :)

Take care,
Nise

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