Does anyone else have a teenager with bipolar? I was wondering how you deal with the tantrums and short fuse.

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Angela - posted on 01/27/2014

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Does anyone out there know of any services we can access in any state for help? We adopted our biracial son when he was 6 weeks old. By age 2, he had been kicked out of 4 daycares due to his aggression. By age 4, he was hospitalized for out of control behaviors (with partial complex seizures added to mix until age 12). Hospitalized again at age 7 due to rages & suicidal. About age 11, he was in a different psych hHosp & diagnosed Bipolar. He went thru many meds. Now on Abilify 15 mg. . At age 13 he was in outpatient program for anger management. He is in special ed for dyslexia & low normal IQ of 78. Add being biracial & adopted & bipolar to this 14 yr (TEENAGER) !!! His mood swings continue with anger outbursts & foul mouth & disrespect etc from this 185 lb, 5 ft 8" tall young man. Can not make him go to church anymore, & seldom goes anywhere with us. HELP! We feel isolated in our neighborhood & community & school & church! Even with our continued monthly counseling, we are emotionally drained.

Angela - posted on 01/27/2014

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We have a 1year old biracial son who was adopted at 6 weeks old. He has struggled with his identity be of this. Plus he is dyslexic & has low normal IQ of 78 which puts him in Special Ed. As if that is not enough, add diagnoses of BIPOLAR (in his maternal birth family). By age 2, he had been kicked out of 4 daycares because of extreme aggressive behaviors. So by age 4, partial complex seizures began & behaviors got worse. He was placed in child psychiatric hospital for 2 weeks. Again at age 7. In different
psychiaHosp hosp at age 11. Then outpatient teen therapy by age 13. LOTS of meds & retries. LOTS of counseling for him & us. When our son is pleasant & laughing & interacting with us, he is so enjoyable. And without warning, he becomes mean & disrespectful with anger issues. Talking to him makes it worse. Now at age 14, he curses terrible & this 180 lb, 5 ft 8in young man can no longer be controlled. He wishes we were dead because we are not his "real" parents. We have bent over backwards to get him mental health. He use to attend church with us until he turned 14 & now refuses... can't physically make him go. Over the years when we had to call police, our son would calm down & cry & police wondered why we called them. His mood swings continue with verbal disrespect to both of us & will knock furniture over. (Use to make fist holes in the wall). After years of medicine, he is now only on Abilify 15 mg. He has few fiends & we feel very isolated & unheard in our community & church, etc. He will enter 9the grade in Fall 2014... who will teach him to drive?? NOT ME! Help! Need supportive resources & thank you for letting me just sound off. I love my son very much but he has NEVER told us that he loves us & tells us that we lie when we say we love him! (That breaks my heart along with his foul mouth)! Any help?? Any suggestions?? Any camps & how would we force him to go ??? Thanks from Mrs. Angela

Maria - posted on 04/12/2009

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Oh, sweetie...I feel for you. My son has been diagnosed since age 12. He has taken several different meds. He is currently taking Trileptal and Zoloft. This combination seems to work best for us. The hardest thing I am dealing with is teaching him to recognize the times that it is necessary for him to calm himself down or take a few minutes to just think about what he is doing. I feel worn out from the emotional toll it takes on me, not to mention his 2 little brothers are caught like deer in headlights when he goes off on the slightest little thing. We've been going to counseling for years and see a psychiatrist every month. In the beginning he hurt himself during these rages and I needed to give him a 'bear hug' to keep him from scratching his face off or banging his head. He's too big for that now. He went to school and told his guidance counselor of one particular morning of this and she promptly called children's services - which is a whole other story (gggrrrr!!!!!). I'm so confused and drained.

User - posted on 04/10/2009

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My son was 15 when he was diagnosed with bipolar (diagnosed ADHD at age 6) after taking 6 anti-seizure meds he got from a "friend" because he thought it would be a fun high! He was hospitalized for the overdose for 4 days then transfered to a psych facility for 3 days. Only 3 days! He wasn't started on any meds until he reached the psych facility and the doctors thought he was okay to come home at that time. He was a very angry teenager at that moment! We were very concerned about him coming home so soon. They told us that he could not be left alone. We were beside ourselves! Here we were, both of us working full time to keep a roof over the heads of our 3 children (he is our oldest) and we are being told we need to get a babysitter for our 15 year old! It was a very tough period of our lives. He would yell things at us that broke our hearts to hear. He threatened to run away all the time. At first we tried talking quietly and with reason but it seemed to enrage him more. Then we tried various punishments for the things he did wrong and the disrespect and threatening manner he showed us and his younger sisters. Again, he became more enraged. Finally, one night his father and I were in a disagreement with our son and we were at our wits end with him. I decided to call his bluff. When he tried to walk away from the discussion I stopped him telling him he "wanted this fight, he was going to finish it". He turned to me saying he could leave anytime he wanted. I told him "there's the door". The whole time my heart pounded. He stood there stunned. It was the last time he threatened me with that. But his anger fits and rages continued. When he turned 18 he was out of a job (his 2nd in one year) and thought he was going to lay around our house and do nothing (after dropping out of school 6 months before graduation). Two months after his 18th Birthday we told him he needed to find another place to live. He moved to a friend's dad's house. But that only lasted about 2-3 months. Still without a job, he found himself on the streets. He came to us but we held our ground telling him we would not help him until he helped himself. It was the hardest conversation in my life! But it seemed to give him the boost he needed. He found a job and stayed with that employer for about 9 months. We allowed him to move back in for 6 months. He got himself together and got an apartment with a friend. The friend turned out not to be reliable so my son moved out and negotiated his own place with another complex. He also found himself a different job and has been with that employer for over a year now.  My son is now 20. He is responsible. The 4-5 years leading up to now were hard. But tough love worked for us. We always let him know how much we loved him. We kept to our promise that, as long as he showed he was responsible and doing for himself, we would help him out when he needed it. But we never enabled him or allowed him to use his condition as an excuse to get away with inappropriate behavior.  I know this was long but I hope it helps. Just remember to breath! You will make it through with your sanity intact!

Marlene - posted on 04/10/2009

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Yes!  The cool down time...very helpful.  Trying to have conversation during the rage only makes it worse.

Raechel - posted on 04/10/2009

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My son is 24 and had to move back home.  I always believed that he had something wrong (he has had a lot of health problems) but he was only dianosed last year.  He was angry and first then accepted that he would have to take his Med's to cope with life.  When he behaved badly, my husband and I used to sit and quietly speak to him, explaining bad behaviour was not acceptable.  Unfortunatley, no matter how hard we tried and how much we did for him, it never seemed to be enough.  The last straw was when he stole money from us; this after pranging the car and constatly lying...told me he had no respect for me at all.  I was devestated, especially after I told him that he would have to find somewhere else to live as we could no longer tolerate his bad behaviour.  I believe it was the only thing I could do but still feel sick about it.  I love him still but cannot have him living with us.  I hope that you have a lot more positive things happen in your life to cope.

Paige - posted on 04/10/2009

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Has your child actually been diagnosed with bipolar. Many people mistake bi-polar disorder for teenage mood swings. I was one of those teens. Most psychiatrist will not formally diagnose bipolar until a later age b/c most of the times the syptoms will go away with age and maturity. Your child is probably going through a very tough time right now, the best thing you can do is grit your teeth and just be supportive. Let him/her know you are there for anything they need. Give them all the support or privacy they ask for. I really hope that things get easier for you and your family, bi-polar is hereditery and runs in my family. I am blessed that in my case it was just a teenage depression issue, i will pray that it is the same in your case!

Mary Ann - posted on 04/10/2009

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Quoting Maria:

Does anyone else have a teenager with bipolar? I was wondering how you deal with the tantrums and short fuse.



My middle daughter was diagnosed bi-polar when she was 5.  She began having tantrums when she was 2.  At that time, she was diagnosed OCD.  We put her on zoloft, which is an anti-depressant at a very young age.  I felt like a jerk for medicating her, but it made such a HUGE difference.  Her tantrums were so dangerous because she would through her body around.  When she was 14, she stopped taking the meds and took an organizational class in high school.  She had always been in special ed classes even though she was very bright.  It was just too easy to trigger if she was in a chaotic 'normal' class.  She learned to control it herself to a great degree.  She is 21 now and a Certified Nurses Assistant in a Nursing home.  She LOVES working with the residents there and they love her.  It gives her a sense of purpose.  She controls her mood swings very well with the exception of PMS.  That is a very rough time every month.  I didn't deal very well with her when she was a teen.  The best advise I can give is what her therapist gave me...when you feel like choking her, hug her.  When she is being unreasonable, what she is crying out for is a hug and love.  it was not easy, but it worked when I did that.

Stephani - posted on 04/10/2009

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Quoting Sharon:



OH God if only I had the answer. My son is 18 & was just diagnosed with bipolar. I knew something was wrong since he was 15 when we went through a bout with anorexia, but the bipolar thing really threw me. My sister is bipolar & she told me that no matter how hard it is, don't let him get away with the rage & the short fuse. But when it's your child & you love this child so much, the rage & short fuse probably hurts us as much as them. We've tried two different meds so far, seraquel which just made him sleep all day, & Lexapro which gave him a twitch & had his heart racing. I called his doctor yesterday & she said to take him off the meds until Monday & then she will prescribe another one. The question is, will I & my son make it to Monday? Will I. I can't offer any advice right now, but believe me, you are not alone. As time goes by, if I find anything helpful, I will let you know.





Lamitical tends to work well, just make sure you check the blood every month

[deleted account]

I had a student that simply needed a quiet time out from everyone and everything. Trying to talk to him made things worse so we made arrangements for him to go to a small conference room for his cool down (which is what his mom called it). He would go to his bedroom if they were at home. The counselor or principal would stay close by outside the door to make sure he stayed safe. There was a boom box and classical music and sometimes he would choose to play soft music for a little while. But most importantly he needed time to calm down without distractions.

Sharon - posted on 04/10/2009

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OH God if only I had the answer. My son is 18 & was just diagnosed with bipolar. I knew something was wrong since he was 15 when we went through a bout with anorexia, but the bipolar thing really threw me. My sister is bipolar & she told me that no matter how hard it is, don't let him get away with the rage & the short fuse. But when it's your child & you love this child so much, the rage & short fuse probably hurts us as much as them. We've tried two different meds so far, seraquel which just made him sleep all day, & Lexapro which gave him a twitch & had his heart racing. I called his doctor yesterday & she said to take him off the meds until Monday & then she will prescribe another one. The question is, will I & my son make it to Monday? Will I. I can't offer any advice right now, but believe me, you are not alone. As time goes by, if I find anything helpful, I will let you know.

Marlene - posted on 04/10/2009

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Tantrums & short fuse...that's it in a nutshell, isn't it?  My daughter actually solved this herself, I can't take the credit.  She has learned to catch her mood early and focus it into art--she puts on "paint clothes" and sets up an easel and focuses that anger that would come out as a tantrum onto the page.  She also writes poetry to get those feelings out.  Any creative outlet that can channel the feelings positively.  Good luck!

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