Teen Newly Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder

Updated on January 22, 2007
M.R. asks from Camden, ME
10 answers

Actually this is my stepson and I am looking to support my husband with any information anyone has or experience with this. It is very early in the discovery and I know there is much to be learned.

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L.

answers from Pittsburgh on

M.,

First things first, get a second opinion. I belive many teens are misdiagnosed (I have worked with many types of teen populations) either because of Psychiatrists placing their own misconceptions into the diagnosis or manipulation by the teen, or rebelling to going to a psychiatrist in the first place.

Secondly, any Rx that is handed out should be researched first. Make sure the medication is ok for teens, many psychotropic medications are not and will actually aggrevate any actual symptoms.

If it is bipolar, this is something that will have to be treated his whole life, and many bipolars go off their medications because they like their "ups" so much. Make sure, if it is bipolar, that he stays on any safe medication that is prescribed, otherwise he could fall into suicidal danger.

As a psych. nurse, you know that the most dangerous time of a bipolar's cycle is the upswing from down to up. This is the time period that most suicides happen. I would, if you could, chart his cycle, so that you know when this period is and keep a closer eye on him.

Other diagnoses that may mimic or manipulation could be a symptom of are, Borderline Personily Disorder, Depression (singular no bipolar), or early onset schizophrenia (onset is usually early twenties but can occur earlier).

It is a tough road, and if it is bipolar, he is going to be struggling with this his whole life. I am sure there are support groups, but teens are not usually willing to go.

I cannot stress enough, however, to get a completely second opinion. I know that many psychiatrists are "whollier than thow" and often diagnose without the proper time spent with the patient, or without careful consideration. I think bi-polar is one of the "trendy" diagnosises for psychitatirsts for teens. Find a psych. that HE likes, and maybe that will help as well. Sorry I could not have been more help. If you need more info, you can reach me at [email protected]____.com

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G.C.

answers from Lewiston on

I have been a therapist for years.....# 1 GET a SECOND opion....#2 Dont worry... #3 There is a bi-polar clinic @ UPMC Hospital with tons of info....

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K.M.

answers from Philadelphia on

Dear M. the best advice I can give you to make sure he takes
his meds. right.thats important. There is also a web site you can go to www.biopolar. com than it will give you a list go to teen health:biopolarDisorder this may give you signs to look for to make sure is meds are working. My daughter suffer from some mental issue and it took them years to diagnose her, they said she was ADHD and gave her ritlian that didn't help, she had a learning disablity and her mental issue were due from being molested only once my neighbor.Nobody knew how to help herwith both issue at the same time, but with my persisted the school district had to pay for private schooling. The school she went to had cas manager school psygolist and they help her with her issue, I glad to say she graduated last year with honors.I would also get a second opinion,I took her to numerous of places. It hard road ahead. yourcan email at [email protected]____.com your not alone M.

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R.

answers from Philadelphia on

Advising you to do some internet research. In today's Inquirer, the following web sites were listed:
webmd
revolutionhealth.com (to be launched by AOL in the fall)
healthcentralnetwork
waterfrontmedia

I hope this helps.
I use a master search engine called: Copernic
Best wishes.

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T.

answers from Philadelphia on

Go to truehope.com. They have lots of information about bipolar children/ adults.

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D.T.

answers from Portland on

M.,
I hope things are going okay with you and your family. This is a very difficult illness to understand, especially when it's first diagnosed. The best advice I can give you for his point of view is to make sure you all learn as much information as you can about the disorder and options on how to deal with it. I have bi-polar and the things that help keep me in an okay spot are my medications, therapy on a weekly or biweekly basis (depending on my needs at the time), and just plain having a support system. Group therapies are also a great option, cause you realize you're not alone and other have it harder than you do at times. Gives you a sense of belonging. As for help for you and your husband, they also have support groups for the families of people with this disorder, and for my husband it has really helped him understand why things happen the way they do for me at times. It's not going to be easy by any means, for any of you, and every day will be a new challange of some sort, but you can manage. Love your step son unconditionally, and know that when things look bad it's not his fault, it's the illness. Unconditional love and support can do a lot for someone with Bi-Polar disorder, but understanding is KEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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D.C.

answers from Hartford on

I totally understand what you mean. I have a son who is ADHD and ODD and I thought that was rough until he was diagnosed with Bipolar last year. I was devasted and that is when my life turned upside down. I agree no one knows how hard it is until you have to deal with it. If I can be of any help please let me know.

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S.B.

answers from Buffalo on

The local chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (Buffalo & Erie County) can be a big help here. Join them and find out about education and advocacy for your stepson. They also have a very specific Guide to Services for Families call "The Mind Matters" for free for families trying to adjust to coping with severe, persistent mental illness in aloved one. Contact:
Buffalo NAMI of Buffalo & Erie County
Lynne Shuster
14223-2512
###-###-####

This is not a quick-solve situation--become informed, take care of yourself and look for experienced, knowledgeable people who have been there!

S. B.

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J.R.

answers from Washington DC on

Hello, I have a 10 yr old son who has Pediatric Bipolar disorder and I can understand your frustrations regarding the lack of information on this disorder. It is unlike adult bipolar disorder, as children can cycle , some upo to 100 times per day.

There is a great resource tool, a book called "the bipolar child" and a website that I love www.bpkids.org I'm sure you will find some useful information on this subject.

Now with that being said, therapy and medication management is the key to keeping this disorder under control as well as uncondtional love. Your son should qualify for an IEP because he has a diagnosis. Please check into it for him.

I wish you, your husband and your son the best.

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C.L.

answers from Lancaster on

M.,
AS A TEEN I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH BI-POLAR DISORDER, THOUGH THERE ARE GOOD DAYS I STILL HAVE MANY HARD ONES, THE BEST THING THAT I FEEL ANYONE CAN DO IS EDUCATE YOURSELF BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY BE THERE FOR YOUR STEPSON...THERE WERE MANY DAYS WHERE NOTHING BAD HAPPENED BUT YET SEEMED LIKE THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE...I WOULD FALL INTO DEEP DEPRESSION AND WANT TO DIE, THE BIGGEST FACTOR FOR ME WAS GETTING ME A COUNSELOR, SOMEONE WITH WHOM I TRUSTED AND LUCKILY THEY WERE ABLE TO TEACH ME TO BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR WHEN THE BAD TIMES WOULD COME AND BECAUSE I WAS SOMEWHAT SELF AWARE I WAS ABLE TO GET THROUGH THOSE TIMES AND TO THIS DAY KEEP MY HEAD UP. HAVING PATIENCE AND TAKING HIM SERIOUS WHEN HE FEELS LOW WILL BE SOMETHING YOU GUYS CAN DO TO HELP HIM....GOOD LUCK AND FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME IF THERES ANYTHING IN CAN DO. [email protected]____.com BEST WISHES, C.

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