Diagnoisis Change to Bipolar, Anyone Have Advice??

Updated on November 16, 2008
T.S. asks from Martinez, CA
4 answers

My 9 year old has just been diagnoised to bipolar 1. With ADHD. Anyone have any experiece with this? Medication? How do you tell people? How do you tell him? How do you deal with you?

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So What Happened?

Husband has been out of the home since day before Thanksgiving. He is bipolar and addicted. So until he works on himself and gets it together he can not be home. My son, is having the best year in school. NO FIGHTS. He is in a class with only 8 kids. World of difference and doing well. He has a major tic going on his face. Poor guy I feel so bad for him. I have lithium but scared to death to put him on it. Wanted to wait and see how he does since he is older. You are all awesome.

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answers from San Francisco on

Dear T. -
So sorry to hear of your troubles. The one thing you should know is that bipolar disorder is genetic. If your husband is the father of your youngest, this could mean that your husband is bipolar as well, and his addiction may well be a form of self-medication. Perhaps talk to your child's doctor about this? He or she may be able to point you to community services to help diagnose and treat your husband.

I will think good thoughts for you.



answers from San Francisco on

T., check out http://www.bpkids.org/ - there are message boards, etc. and local reps you can contact for additional info. It's a great support! Also, check out their bookstore for recommended reading - if you don't want to buy all those expensive books check out your local library.



answers from San Francisco on

Hi T.,

My husband's family has many members diagnosed with bipolar, and they can have happy healthy lives with proper treatment (and treatment that is closely managed). One concern I have when you describe your situation is that ADHD and bipolar can often be mistaken for each other at this age, and I would want to be sure which it is. Why has the doctor diagnosed both together? Is there any possibility that you can get a second opinion? It is always a good idea to get a second opinion in any diagnosis, but with children being medicated, it is especially important as the meds impact their development.

I also wonder what you can do about your husband "dabbling in his addiction" while you and your family are dealing with your son's diagnosis. Your son needs stability, and an adult mired in addiction will not provide that. You might want to talk with your son's psychiatrist about this, as his father's addiction can significantly impact his treatment. Is your husband willing address his addiction and focus on recovery, for the sake of his kids?

It sounds like you have a lot on your plate. Please know that your son can have a happy, healthy life. Every child (and adult!) has things they have to struggle with. All the best to you.



answers from San Francisco on

It seems like you certainly have your hands full (I know, understatement.)

I found a really great book that may be helpful to you about bipolar called, "Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder," by Julie Fast. My mom has it and I found this book to be very helpful for my father and I to really understand what she is going through and how to work with her.

There are many medications nowadays for it. I also have a close friend with it and both of them are on a combination of medicines, but not the same ones. It's really a matter of working closely with the doctor to find what works best for your son.

It's not just about medications though, it also has a lot to do with environment. Getting clear about what his triggers are and what things help keep him centered. The book talks about the use of exercise, yoga, meditation, etc... to keep a sense of balance. Sometimes there are foods that can trigger or exacerbate both bipolar and ADHD (my daughter has ADHD.) Refined sugars send my daughter out into orbit, so we keep those to a minimum, but omega 3 helps tremendously. We haven't gotten that far with my mom for too many reasons I won't go into...

I would be very careful regarding the influence your husband has on your son given he's still "dabbling." I would be reluctant in your situation to have him in the house. Your son needs stability and consistency in huge doses along with the meds, please consider your options with this for your son's sake. I hope I'm not overstepping bounds, I'm just concerned.

My last thought is something you are probably already doing. Counseling to help you, your son and your family cope with these issues. That would be the best way to know how to tell people and more importantly help you and your son find the best ways to work with his challenges. You need to also come up with ways to keep your health and well-being intact through all of this. You're dealing with some pretty big life issues, I imagine you'll need support. Don't be afraid to ask for it...

My Heart goes out to you and your family.

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