Help Understanding Bipolar Disorder in My 10 Year Old Son.

Updated on December 13, 2007
S.C. asks from Council Bluffs, IA
15 answers

I have a 10 year old son who has ADHD, and has just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I dont know a whole lot about this diease. They have put him on Abilify. I want to know if anyone here has a child with bipolar disorder and how they cope with this. I worry about him alot because he feels like no one loves him at times and I keep trying to reassure him that he is very loved and wanted. I guess Im just looking for someone who knows what I am going thru and can lend a hand understanding this. From what I have read it is a hard disease to cope with.

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So What Happened?

Well my son has been on Abilify for the bipola for a month now. But unfortunately it doesnt seem to be helping. The mood swings are just as bad. The depression is really bad at this point he crys alot. I try and talk with him as much as possiable about things that bother him. I feel so guilty that I cant make it better for him. His anger is maybe a little better. And he has found a girl that lives near us who is also bipolar. They sit and talk for hours. I am glad that he found someone his age that understands. Thank you all so much for the responces and the caring words, sometimes it really helps to know that Im not the only mom who sometimes feels powerless but is still helping.

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L.B.

answers from Hickory on

I don't know about his group but I do know there are some people in this group with mental illnesses...
http://www.mayasmom.com/groups/38/kids_who_need_extra_help
sorry I counldn't be of more help.

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A.W.

answers from Boise on

Dear S.,
I was a mother of a bipolar child for almost 13 years. My sons psychiatrist told me that bipolar disorder is a chemical either missing or the brain not making enough of to balance the chemicals is the brain causing a silent seizure. That's when the child acts out violently or through depression. I would suggest a support group with other families with bipolar, a real good listening doctor who won't tell you to ignore your son or that he's just playing you.If you hear something like that, find another doctor right away. There is psycho social rehab. It is where a counselor comes to your house and helps the whole family with issues, understanding bipolar, and helps how to deal with feelings and issues as they arise. Thatwas very helpful to us. Also make sure you find information about all medication your son is on, either through your doctor or over the internet. Doctors may not tell the whole story about your medicine. I wish you the best of luck with your son. Enjoy your kids as much as possible and no matter what give them a hug and tell them you love them every time you see them, especially your son. He needs lots, and lots of reassurance.
A. W.

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T.M.

answers from Rapid City on

Hi S.:

I feel so bad that you have to have a child with this disease. I personally suffer from it myself and it is a constant struggle. I think counseling is good and very helpful. Depression and bipolar are hereditary and I know in my family a lot of us deal with it.
Something I have learned over the last year is that toxins in the home (that's your household cleaners; i.e., 409, Comet, Clorox, etc.) are linked to behavior problems, ADHD, depression and so many more health problems. It's just vital to get those things out of your home. I am a customer of a company called Melaleuca and they sell products that are all environmentally safe. Check out their website: www.melaleuca.com go to "the product store" and look at the prices by the PC-preferred customer. That's what we pay as preferred customers. All of us are referred by other customers so if you're interested, I can help you get more information.
It's made such a difference in our family and I'm so glad I got more information about what these chemicals actually do to your body and the bodies of our young children.
God bless you and your family!!
You can also get safe products at the health food store but the prices are extremely high so that's why I chose to shop with this store instead.
T.

1 mom found this helpful
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M.S.

answers from Des Moines on

I have BiPolar Disorder, and I was diagnosed at 12 years old. I am now 23 with a child of my own.

One of the best things you can do is to sit down with your immediate and extended family and explain to them what is going on. Your son will learn that his family still loves him and accepts him. If, after you explain the situation, people don't accept it, well they usually just need a little time and information. But, make sure to have your son tell his family as much of it as possible. He needs to be involved with all of it. It should help him a lot.

Make sure he is comfortable with whoever is counseling him. If he isn't seeing a therapist, you might consider finding one that he is comfortable with.

Next, don't treat him any different when it comes to consequences. If he does something wrong while manic, he still needs to be held accountable for those actions. He still did them, and he needs to learn that BiPolar is not an excuse. Also, you need to watch him cautiously. Both manic and depressed sides can be dangerous. Manic they think they are invinsible, and depressed can lead to bad thoughts.

Frequently talk to him about how he is doing and what he's feeling. Have him keep a journal or a calander that show how he was feeling each day. If it's a calander, have him put a smily face or a frowny face for each day. Also, you keep notes on what you observe. These notes will come in handy someday.

Let him pick and choose who he wants to tell with his friends. But make sure if he stays at a friends house, the parents know what to look for.

Most of all, tell him you love him everyday. Reassure him that you will always do what is best for him to keep him safe and happy, and that you are alwasy there to listen when he needs to talk. Make sure to do just that. Let him know that this is not a bad thing, and he is not insane or crazy or bad for this. That this happens to a lot of people.

This will take some time to get used to. It does get a lttle easier after awhile. Also, look for a support group for children, and parents of children with BiPolar in your area or on the internet. That will also help him understand that there are others like him out there that are going through the same things. A parent's group will help you get some ideas of what might be to come, and how to handle the situations.

I will emphasize to Love your son, and be there for him whenever he needs you to listen. Also to reassure him that you aren't going anywhere because he is BiPolar.

Hope this helps, and sorry it's long.

If you need any info, help or advise from a person who has been there, give me a message at [email protected]____.com

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R.T.

answers from Omaha on

Hi S.,
I have a 6yr old that also has ADHD an Bi-polar. He is on abilify as well. The abilify alone did not help that much. So we added seraquil and that seems to work. I have also started him on natural supplements and it is working wonders. Please let me know if I can help anymore. [email protected]____.com

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J.N.

answers from Pocatello on

my 8 yr old daughter is diagnosed with bipolar at age 5 and adhd at 6. she's been on many meds and recently hospitalized for behavior. she has been put in a charter school and is doing much better. she also recieves counsiling and psr work. which has been amazing!!!! any personal questions email [email protected]____.com.

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J.G.

answers from Billings on

I know a little bit about it because my niece has it and she is 14. I know that if you are bipolar, ADHD medication can cause pychotic episodes. I also know that the medication abilify helps but I don't know if it will provide you the success you desire. My suggestion would be to go the following website www.truehope.com and check out the medicine they have and also check out the success stories. They are awesome and seems they have had great success with bipolar treatments.

Another thing you could do would be to have your son checked out by Dr. Hill at the Heights Eye Clinic. You son may also have some visual problems. I know that sounds strange but your visual system has a not to do with your response and nervous system.

Good luck and hope this helps.

J.

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S.P.

answers from Great Falls on

My 11 year old has both ADHD and Bipolar. It can be real hard. Your son sounds as if he's a little depressed right now, but once the meds take effect, he'll feel better.

He is going to have a lot of up and down days. Sometimes Bipolar's have what's called rapid cycling. Up, laughing and happy, then in the space of an hour, or less, down and crying about everything.

Some don't cycle so fast. It can happen when the seasons change. The closer it comes to Fall the more down he'll feel. The same thing happens in the spring.

If he's been really High, not by drugs, but just moodwise, he'll experience a down time afterwards. The same can happen after a really low time, he'll spend some time being What's called Hypomanic. Not mania, below that. It's going to take time and therapy for him to learn what causes his symtoms, what causes him to be sad. One thing, Bipolar's are usually very low self esteem. They have to be constantly reasured about everything.

It sounds like a lot of work and it is but it's worth know what he is going through. There is a book full of descriptions and exercises to do with him to learn about this mental illness. It's called The Bipolar Workbook. By Monica Ramirez Basco, PHD. It has really helped me personally and for my son.
See, I have Bipolar too and it's taken several years to come to terms with the whole mess.
There is also a group out there called the Alliance for The Menatally Ill. NAMI for short. You can find out about them through your doctor or the local mental health center.

Good luck!!!! Email me here with a personal message if you want more info.

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K.D.

answers from Fargo on

If you don't mind me asking... What are some other symptoms your child has shown? What factors made the Dr.'s diagnose him with BP? I am asking because there is BP in my family. My Grandmother had it, my sister has mild BP, and one dr. told me I was borderline, but another told me it wasn't bp and I had depression/anxiety disorder. My 9 year old son seems so sad and depressed a lot. At times he shows a lot of anger toward me for divorcing his Dad. I worry about him suffering from depression like I have. I have had him to a therapist and he is now seeing the school counselor. I really worry about him. I know this disease can run in the family.

It is nice to be able to 'talk' to someone who can understand what I'm going thru.

Take care...
K.

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L.A.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

I also have bipolar disorder, but it wasn't diagnosed until about 5 years ago (I'm 36 now). I think things would have been much easier with earlier detection, so count yourself lucky there. There are resources on the web and also a few good books about it. For a first hand account of bipolar read: A Brilliant Madness by Patty Duke, His Bright Light by Danielle Steele, and An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison They are both wonderful and give insight to what it is like to live with. Bipolar however can manifest in so many different ways, so do your research and know what to expect. Also make sure that you have a good therapist and psychiatrist both of which you and your son can trust. I do believe it does run in families also, so just be aware of that fact. My 19 years old daughter has it, and I believe my father has a mild case of it. Unconditional love will be of the most benefit. I know as a child, I felt "different" and sometimes still do. And that is hard when you're trying to fit in especially in your school years. My suggestion is to try and keep things as "normal" as possible and don't use the illness as an excuse. Maybe help him feel better about being able to grow up and be successful by pointing out others who had bipolar like Beethoven, Winston Churchill, Patty Duke, Carrie Fisher, Earnest Hemmingway, Abraham Lincoln, Jean Claude Van Damme, Sting, and DMX, just to name a few. It's an obstacle to be overcome, not a roadblock. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]____.com.

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T.K.

answers from Billings on

I have a son, 10years, with ADD and Depression. He is on Concerta and Prozac. It can be difficult, especially since I have Adult ADD and Depression as well. Our moods kinda feed off of each other. When I'm moody and down he starts acting out too. He gets very emotional and says things like nobody likes him, teachers including other students at times and that he hates school and never wants to go back. I have found him scratching himself over and over on one of his arms before. That was very scary. We lowered his dose of Conterta at the time. The Prozac has been very helpful with him. We don't nearly have as many down days, and he doesn't seem to get as low as he did without medication. Since neither of us have bipolar or are hyperactive, both of us are spacers more off into our own little world, we don't really have manic states, so I can't really provide much info on that side of things. I just know that medication and family therapy is very benefical to these problems.

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R.C.

answers from Boise on

Hi S.! I have a son with Bipolar Disorder & ADHD also. He was just put on Abilify in addition to his Seroquel. He is 14 and I've had lots of experiences with doctors, schools, counseling, parenting classes, etc. He feels the same way your son does. I'd be happy to share what I've learned that helps!

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K.R.

answers from Omaha on

S. -
I would contact your School Psychologist. They have training in these kinds of issues and can help make sure that the school does what it can to help your child educationally. They (or if your school has one - a social worker or counseler) would be able to help hook you up with community resources and support...Sorry I don't have anything concrete to help you but schools are really good about providing help - you just have to know who to ask!
K.

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K.S.

answers from Des Moines on

Hi I am K. , Mom of 6, Grandma of two. my kid's are ages 10,10,16,17,18,20, My 10 yr old daughter is Bipolar, ADHD, ODD, generalized anxiety, Her twin brother is ADHD, My 16 year old is the same as my 10 yr old daughter and my 18 yera old is ADHD, and my 20 year old is ADD and Depression. Bipolar is a very hard thing to deal with, Keep taking your child to all his Dr's appointments and therapy, keep up close on his medication, My daughter takes alot of medication which I do not like, But it helps so much. She takes Lithiu,. Straterra, Geoden, Prozac, and DDAVP for bed wetting, as a matter of fact the Dr just upped her lithium yesterday, I could go on and on, if you would like to talk feel free to get ahold of me.

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J.B.

answers from Boise on

Hi! My son is fourteen and he has bipolar too. We have known sence December of last year. With the right medicine and counseling it help. My son is on Seroquel and lithuim ER. If you want you can email me at [email protected]____.com

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