Symptoms?

Silka - posted on 01/25/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )

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Since we have so many new members on here now I wanted to ask everyone to introduce themselves and tell us when you first noticed symptoms of bipolar in your child and what those symptoms were. We have discussed this on another post, but there are some strong opinions out there that bipolar doesn't exist in people under the age of 20. I strongly disagree, feeling that looking back there was evidence even from early infancy, but since Karlee is my oldest I don't think I knew the extent of those differences until my son was born and had none of those same issues. Sleep issues all through infancy, then her terrible two's lasted from the time she was 1 until she started kindergarden, which then turned into from kindergarden on pretty extreme insecurity that all of the girls at school hated her and comments from teachers that she never pays attention, and now the teen years which when puberty began for her it seemed like I had lost her for a while to extreme depression and cutting herself, anger outbursts that was like pms times 1000, sneaking out, no understanding of consequences, not caring when I took away priveledges but freaking out at the same time for not being able to contact her friends. What have your experiences been?

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User - posted on 01/26/2009

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My son is seven and had what I now recognize as his first manic break when he was five.  He would go into rages, hit other kids or adults, lie on the ground thrashing around, make regressive vocalizations (ugh, ah, growling), and could not be reached -- he preferred to be left alone until he got out of it.  This happened several times a day for several months.  In between times, he was somewhat anxious and didn't seem happy -- but we were in the middle of a separation at the time, and things were very tense, so I put it down to that.



Then we moved and he went to school, and things got better.  He had a teacher who handled him well, and kept him on track and on task, and also managed to head off emotional outbursts before they happened.  I don't think he hit anyone in kindergarten, though he did get very bored and grumpy towards the end of the year, until the teacher started giving him more advanced work (he was reading chapter books while they were still doing phonics, eg.).



Then he went into first grade, and his teacher was less able to deal with him, and he was more bored -- he started acting out and refusing to do his work.  She basically just let him do what he wanted (which was actually a good thing).  Then in October, I was away for a week for work, and his teacher was away for the same week; they had five different substitutes in five days, and he completely flipped out.  Talking about killing people, hitting and choking other kids who annoyed him, racing around making animal noises, throwing himself on the ground and shouting, totally unable to control himself until someone could distract him with something (his sister was very good at this time -- the school would go get her to see if she could calm him down).  This was way beyond attention-seeking; his dad said that it was as if he were possessed.  He would be very distressed and depressed afterwards, said he couldn't help it and wished it would stop.



Anyway, multiple suspensions that week, then when I got home, we started investigating it with professionals, and -- after a lot of time and a lot of money! -- got the diagnosis of (i) exceptionaly gifted and (ii) bipolar.  I am bipolar too, so it is not that much of a surprise that one of my kids have it -- though it is of course a great sorrow.



He is now takin abilify, which seems to help a lot with both his mood and his outbursts, and has moved up a grade into second class, which is also helping.  We are getting him tutoring to bring his basic math skills up to speed so that he can do the more challenging stuff that really interests him.  We are also getting him individual therapy for anger management, social skills etc.



Hope this helps someone struggling with an out of control kid -- you are not helpless, there are things you can do.

Molly - posted on 04/03/2009

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My daughter was only diagnosed  a little over a year ago, when she was 13, but she has had issues with anger outbursts and depression since she was little.  She was diagnosed with ADHD at age 7, but medications did not help.  I believe that she was mis-diagnosed.  When she was in elementary school, she had a lot of difficulty maintaining friendships, and would go into these uncontrollable rages... scary. I am a special education teacher myself, working with kids that have similar issues, which helped me be more "clinical" when dealing with her behavior.  She was not medicated for years, as her father was anti-meds.  Last year,  she jumped out of the car while I was driving and put herself in the hospital.  She went through incredible rages during which she would smash things in the house.  She began cutting herself.... there were days when I could not get her out of bed to go to school, and weeks on end when she would not sleep at all, but wander around the house I could not sleep either because I never knew what she was going to get into!...   After YEARS of therapy and persistence, I finally got her father to acknowledge that there was a "problem"  and she began taking Seraquil.   I can not tell you what a HUGE difference it has made in all of our lives!  I now have a kid that I can talk to, have fun with, be Mom and not just controller.  She can get along with her brothers and manage school.  We still have occasional bad days... but NOTHING like before.  I am so grateful!!!

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Sherrie - posted on 01/13/2016

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is this post still active? wow only 12 comments in 7 yrs? is it really that rare to have early onset? my daughter is almost 11 yrs old and has bipolar, ocd, adhd she had lack of oxgen at 3 days old which made the genetic problems worse. she also had apraxia of speech. she had qeeg to find all this out. both my brothers have bipolar and my younger brother had early onset i noticed when i was 7 or 8 yrs old, one of his many temper tantrums that something wasn't right. i could hear it in his crying. my older brother got the dx about 16 yrs old, he didn't have the temper tantrums but he was always in the 98 percentile and all his report cards said not working up to potential. weriod my oldest daughter is 12 and is also in the 98 percentile but works every bit up to potential.her grades are amazing and she shows no signs of bipolar. anybody do neurofeedback? that's my next step since i can't seem to find a child pyschariast in my area who wants to treat a young bipolar child. they only want to give antidepressants and i know that is not a good idea w/o a mood stabilzer. going back on my 2nd apt to my second pyschariast and it's going to be a mood stabilizer or no meds at all. i'm really annoyed as i have been trying to figure out what was wrong with her since she was 3 yrs old.

Laura - posted on 07/27/2010

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Hi, I have a granddaughter that has what I consider to be symptoms of mood disorder and has had from birth, she has been "a fussy" baby crying most of her awake time. Never slept through the night, wakes up some days happy for about an hour then nothing makes her happy. Unpredictable sleep habits, some days she will get up early and within an hour and a half go back to sleep for sometimes 20 minutes or other times for hours other days she will not nap all day. She will not even try to talk just cries. she goes to bed and will cry almost always for 10 to 15 minutes before going to sleep. Once a a great while she will be happy for 3 or 4 hours of a a day. Her dad is bipolar, both of her grandfathers are bipolar and mom suffers from depression.

Melynda - posted on 03/07/2010

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My name is Melynda. I just wanted to add a little to your post. I started noticing things in my son about a year and a half of age. I could not get any answers from anyone. They told me he would grow out of this mood problem. He is now 13 yrs old. He has very lows then the next minute he has his really highs. I can't go to the store without having a arguement or telling him to leave his sister alone 1,000 times. He gets very angry and mad about small stuff. We can't have game night because He always has to win or the game is over. I walk on egg shells all the time. He refuses to do anything I say. If he is going to get something that's when he is my good child. He is currently taking abilify and lithuim. I am drowing under the green eyed monster named bi polar.

Silka - posted on 02/20/2010

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Hang in there Melanie! The journey you are about to begin with the teen years is not going to be fun with a Bipolar kid. My daughter just turned 16, and man has it been rough!! The worst for me has been from age 12 to 15, now that she is 16 she seems to be starting to see the light as far as trying to become a productive member of society is concerned, and wants priveledges like driving and having a job because she wants so badly to be independant and on her own (she has wanted that since she was 12). I really am beginning to think she may turn out ok. Two years ago I could not have said that, I was at my wits end and it was tearing apart my family. Try to remember to get some time for yourself, try to have a sense of humor, and try not to take your child's behavior as a personal reflection of the kind of parent you are, because so many parents actually think that way - especially the ones that are fortunate to get the "perfect" kids and they like to take all of the credit for that being a result of their parenting skills. We are the best mom's our kids could ever have, no matter how hard it gets some days!

[deleted account]

Hi, my name is Melanie, I have never commented before, but I have to say, that my oldest son who is now nearly 11, and diagnosed within the last year as bipolar, showed signs of problems from infancy on. I myself was diagnosed bipolar at the age of 23, well after having my 2nd child. I distinctly remember having extreme swings of emotions at a young age myself, and have seen it since my son was about a year old, he began having night terrors by 6 months old, then by a year and a half, he regressed in development enough to be checked for autism, he threw rages and tantrums that were uncontrollable. I was handed many diagnosis, including ODD, (objectionable defiance disorder) ADHD, possible FAE (which was unfounded) only to have them all recanted by another pediatrician. By the time my son started school, I had given up trying to find a label for his problems and just tried to find a way to help him start and succeed in school, but his moods were such a hindrance for him, he was eventually tried on ADHD medication, which was obvious within a week to be a major error, and from there, it has been a series of specialists, and medications, and trial and error, and we are still no where near finding him a healthy balance. He has always been very insecure, and upset about things at school not being "fair". When puberty type issues began, we began to see outbursts of rage uncommon to his normal behavior, which has resulted in his removal from school more than once. There are alot of people who may not get diagnosed until they are in their 20's, and it is very common for bipolar not to show up until then, but there are many different forms of bipolar, different types, as well as different ages as to onset, a lot of people don't understand that. I was told by my son's psychiatrist though, that each different age of onset, has a different level of symptoms that present much differently than each other. I find it frustrating myself when people think one bipolar person is the same as the next. Lately with my son, and how ill he has been, and the toll it's been taking on my own mental health, I really don't have many idea's how to deal with some things anymore, it often does seem like nothing works, discipline by way of removing privileges is met with the "I don't care", or threats, and rewards are never enough or viewed as unfair when his brother earns them and he doesn't. But, then again, there's the wonderful days where we know he is having a good day, and he accomplishes a lot,is under control, and is a great joy to be around for family and friends :) I try to take it all in stride and just know, he has to put up with my bad days too, and that we have to be there for each other, and as long as we make it through the teenage years, we will be ok!!

Jessica - posted on 02/10/2010

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Help! My sons dad is bipolar, his whole family has it! My 18 month old sometimes shows signs... Like he wakes in the middle of the night and stares at the walls for hours, doesnt cry! just lays there. he'll do this for a few days then theres days he wants to sleep all day and night! help

Mary Beth - posted on 01/03/2010

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Hello! My daughter is 10 and has been diagnosed with Bipolar, ADD, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder..and I think that's it lol. In any case, she's been alot since she was born. Months of endless crying and screaming (which at the time, was blamed on colic which very well could have been the issue). From about 6 mnths - 18 months actually wasn't too bad but after that...phew. At the age of 4 we decided enough was enough. Some of the issues we were dealing with at the time were, when bedtime came along we'd have to start around 6pm because she would lay in her bed and kick and scream for around 5 or so hrs before she'd ever go to sleep. Even if we let her stay up to a later time and try, it would just be 5 or 6 hours after before she'd ever sleep. We lived in a basement apartment and she would open the window and crawl out, once or twice just in her underwear which was very scary. Very headstrong in that what she wanted she wanted right that instant. First doctor we took her to, said she was just stubborn...which ok yea she had a stubborn streak but this was way more intense than that. Took her to a diff doctor and he said it was more likely a mood disorder with adhd. As she started school, kindergarten was a nightmare. Almost getting expelled. Her impulsivity caused a couple children to actually get hurt and have to go to the hospital. As she progressed through school, never had problems with other people getting hurt but she would rage in school, crying, banging her head on her desk, not able to get her work done, and a slew of other things. Alot of the things I deal with now are compulsive lying, sneakyness, no comprehension of consequences until they are carried out then she loses her mind. In school, she will do fine for a while then all of a sudden just decide that she just isn't going to do what they want her to do. I say she has a princess complex in that, she still expects what she wants, when she wants. "No" is a foreign language to her. If she hears it, she'll do it anyway. She has drawn back to hit at me one time but didn't follow through and once at her grandmother yesterday but that's the only times i've known her to do that to an adult. She gets very anxious if you set a date for something or a time. She will watch a clock for hours so its gotten to where I just spring stuff on her then its cute because she gets surprised. It saves my nerves if i do that lol. Right now all she takes is abilify and it does help, but i'm thinking more of the stuff that she is having problems now will have to be managed with therapy more so than adding more meds or changing. At least she's manageable to a point. ADD medicines react with the abilify and just make her more aggressive and mean so we don't treat that at all which is challenging. On the flip side, i've never heard her say she wants to hurt herself. She has hurt herself just as she was raging..while throwing a tantrum she'd kick her bed..hurt her foot. Or hit a wall and hurt her hand. But never tried to kill herself or even mention it which i'm thankful for. For the most part she's a happy camper but her switch can flip instantly and be something totally different.

Nia - posted on 10/09/2009

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Hi my name is Nia, my son is now 10, and finally been diagnosed with Bipolar and ODD. I can relate to everyone that has commented on this site. I know from the day he was born that things weren't normal (as I already had an 8 yo). The hardest part of this disorder besides the aggression and violence towards others and me, is the "downer" of wanting to kill himself. I can remember when he was 4 he asked "why was he born" that "he was evil and should never have been born". He has since tried to kill himself by cutting his wrists, hanging himself, jumping from the roof etc. But since medication this only happens every couple of months. He can now try and talk to about his feelings before it gets to far. Many years of helplessness, fright nights and wondering if my son will live (or myself) is a constant nightmare.

Mary - posted on 09/01/2009

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Hi, I'm Mary and have a 8 1/2 y/o daughter with COBPD & ADHD-combined. She was diagnosed in July 2007 and has been on various medications since that time. Still working on the magical "cocktail" for Caitlin. All I can say to the previous posters is "yep, yep, and yep"-- you're not crazy and you're not alone. So similar the symptoms -- even from infancy! And yet, there are so many who do not believe in COBPD. How can someone not see the symptoms these children have in common. *sarcasm to follow* Apparently we lie/exaggerate that our very young children want to harm themselves or be abandoned or wish they never had been born. Apparently we're inadequate parents who would rather medicate our children and label them special ed than to discipline them properly -- because don't you know that COBPD is a behavior problem and not a medical condition?!??! I-D-I-O-T-S!

Cheryl - posted on 04/14/2009

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I believe I knew Heather had issues from birth. She was never happy or content as a baby. She was thrown out of nursery school when she was like four years old. She was very agressive to the other kids. At nursery at church she bit the pastor's daughter's face really bad. We started taking her for counseling and to a psychiatrist when she was four years old.

Margaret - posted on 04/04/2009

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thankyou ladies for your insights.



I have a 4 year old who has very similar history to your children, night terrors from the age of 2, early tantrums, nothing can break them nothing at all, just screaming growling hitting kicking biting throwing. last month she tried to jump out of the car in the middle of melbourne during one such outburst which lasted 2 hours and then suddenly stopped and she was going to be a good little girl again. I was terrified and just sat spamming the central locking on the car until we could pull over and secure the child lock on the car door. she was screaming that she wanted to die A FOUR YEAR OLD wanting to die, am I that bad a parent. with the amount of traffic in the city that day I do not think she would have survived instead the injuries of jumping out and then likely hit by cars before anyone could get to her if she had managed it, molly you must have been in absolute shock when it happened.



I have had suspicions for quite a number of years that bipolar or other psychiatric condition is more than evident throughout her fathers family, although they arent they type to see a psychiatrist, its a struggle to get them to even see a GP for more than a doctors certificate and so 10 years of trying to convince their father to see one resulted in nothing, and in 2005 I had to leave him, because unless he received treatment our situation could not progress....



however I have serious concerns for my daughters, with one displaying signs of childhood depression, which is being assessed by a child psychologist through her school atm, which could also be attributed to the tyranny she experienced from her fathers brother in the year after we seperated....



my 4yo we are seeking assistance and direction from a peadiatrician which she see's in two months.

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