difference between bipolar / adhd, HELP

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2003
difference between bipolar / adhd, HELP
4
Mon, 06-23-2003 - 10:20pm
Hi everyone. I have some questions for those of you who have adhd/bipolar diagnosis' for your children. My dd who is 11, was diagnosed with adhd in March by our ped. She also has other chronic illnesses that contribute to her well being.She started Stratterra in March and has gradually had to have the dosage increased. It seems like it works for 2 weeks to a month and then dd has a melt down. The last one at the end of May was severe..she started to scribble her work, refused to work after that, and the teacher had to call me. Well to make a long story short..I had to pick her up and she fell asleep almost immediately. Well I called our ped. who started her on Prozac. After that melt down, I called to get her in to see a psychologist and psychiatrist. (Oh I wanted to add that we tried to avoid stimulants because with her other health issues she has been borderline failure to thrive and he did not want her to lose any more weight). Anyway, we found a psychologist who will begin therapy mid July and we went to see the psychiatrist. He did a family history and asked me to describe recent events. He suggested she may have bipolar due to the mood swings I described. I have been reading about it a little and do not see some of the things that go with it. She is 11 and has no interest in sex or anything relatively close to it. She shows no sleep disturbances. She did (does ) things like strongly react to simple requests or minor problems with a lot of aggitation or anger. The prozac is helping, but he is afraid that if it is bipolar that it will induce mania. How can I be sure which it is? He thinks she has both adhd and bipolar. Do the private practice psychologists run different tests from what they do with the school psychologists? I am so afraid of making a misdiagnosis here. How do you know? Thanks for listening,

Laurie
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 06-25-2003 - 9:20am
Laurie

YOU need to be critical and suspicious as you go along, with these diagnosis'.. I say this because my good friend is a therapist for many years- and her view right now is that too many doctors are suddenly diagnosing children as "Bi Polar".. People and children are varied and wired all different ways. The range in fact of ADHD children, varies greatly. I would be very unlikely to believe in a "Bi Polar" diagnosis, UNLESS I heard it from 2 or more doctors. If you have good insurance and can handle it, I would get several opinions. Your daughter could also have some ODD (oppositional Defiant disorder)or depression for that matter..it's a complicated thing to figure out- but don't go with just one person's advice here. Find out all you can, don't be afraid to get a few opinions on this, and research to find out which psychiatrists deal with this problem regularly (bipolar). You want someone who has experience with these things as well.

GOod luck and keep us posted!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2003
Wed, 06-25-2003 - 7:13pm
Thank you. I do want to be cautious with her diagnosis. She is going to start counseling mid July, so I am hoping that the counselor will have some insight. She started the prozac almost a month ago and it is working really well. I guess he thought bipolar because of high amounts of agitation followed by normalcy. I feel it is too soon to determine that especially since the prozac is working so well. This is all so hard to figure out. She definitely has ADHD though, so that is a start. Has anyone seen sucess with their child's ADHD with anti-depressants and Prozac? Thanks,

Laurie
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-21-2003
Fri, 06-27-2003 - 1:55am
Stick with your psychiatrist on this one. Bipolar disorder doesn't have anything to do with an interest in sex, necessarily, particularly not for an unabused 11 year old. Bipolar illness does not always mean sleep disturbances, particularly in children as most of their triggers and subsequent mood swings can occur during the school day. It has to do with mood swings- from depression to manic episodes. Bipolar disorder can be extreme or it can be mild (cyclothymia) and when on an upswing, irritability, explosiveness, agitation and so forth can be quite common, particularly in kids.

It is quite possible for children to have both bipolar disorder and ADD. ADD is an inability to attend and absorb information. Whereas bipolar disorder represents and uncontrollable lability in moods. Ask the psychiatrist about using an antidepressant to treat both the depression and the ADHD, like Wellbutrin or Effexor, and ask him if he is familiar with the use of Seroquel (quetiapine) as a mood stabilizer. I have literally seen this medication work "wonders" in dozens of children with bipolar disorder.

Private psychologists generally perform a different function from school psychologists, and yes, they can and do usually perform different tests. Be patient with the process, because there is no "for sure" in any mental health diagnosis, but its best to let the psychiatrist take the lead in any condition that might require medication.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2003
Fri, 06-27-2003 - 8:47am
Thank you very much. I have to admit I am really upset and worried. It really helps to talk to moms who are going through the same thing. My daughter has so many health issues too, so this has been an added extra to the mix. I know everything will work out, but I am tired and a little depressed myself. Doesn't help to be PMSing right now. We see tbe psychiatrist again on July 1st. Do you have any other advice on things to ask? Do most of the psychiatrists who treat children go by family history in their diagnosing? It would help if my daughter could tell us what is going on, but she is too young. I feel so responsible for finding the right diagnosis. Thanks again...

Laurie