I understand how bad it feels when a child is sick and needing hospitalization.
Were your daughters helped by their time there? I really hope so...it is so hard as you know.
Yes for the older. No for the younger. For the older one it was a safe place to regroup, try something new (new medication) get educated about the medications and mood disorders, and get ready to start picking up the pieces of her life. She was a young adult when she was first hospitalized.
The younger one.... well... at least she got re-diagnosed (from mood disorder to bipolar disorder) and had a blood draw for lithium, which was a big deal because by then she was so phobic. It really depends on the hospital. The one she went to was not really set up for children with a real illness - with severe brain symptoms (she was hallucinating and had paranoia and psychosis). It was more for children with behavior problems. Her problem was not "behavior" - it was illness affecting brain function which affected thinking, mood and behavior. Big difference, imo.
So are you thinking of a residential treatment facility? We came close to that, but the meds kicked in.
Oh... My younger dd was put with the younger children rather than in the teen unit. The teem unit was indeed full of kids with drug/alcohol/cutting/delinquency issues. I was soooooo glad they did not put her in that unit. She was on the cusp of being able to be put in either one, and probably because of her size and physical maturity level they put her with the younger children. Whew. Even so, her psychiatrist wanted her out ASAP because he was afraid it would do harm, but every case is different.
I know what you mean about how depressing some hospitals can be with lack of sunshine.
It sounds like in the younger children's wing they had at least a little more freedom.
As for what to say, perhaps less is better. Due to a family situation she is transferring to another school. That's what they told us - that it is the same as transferring schools. You do not need to tell anybody anything more than that. Kids do sometimes transfer to another school for a variety of reasons.
The doc said he didn't agree w yrs old ADHD dx when she was admitted.
So the docs first thought the appropriate label for the behaviors and symptoms was "ADHD." And then they thought NO, and now it is back to ADHD. Some people wonder why why why do the "diagnoses" keep changing. It is because with the DSM, psychiatrists label sets of symptoms they see. The symptoms change, or - the symptoms they get a chance to observe, change - so the labels used to describe the sets of symptoms change as well. Often, the doctors really don't see what the parents get to see.
Wellbutrin helped my younger daughter a lot. It gave her more energy, helped her concentration, and improved depressive symptoms. We were stunned when a switch to generic was like she was taking nothing, so then we had to pay extra for the name-brand for years. Wellbutrin is supposed to be less likely to trigger mania in patients with bipolar than the SSRI antidepressants.
So... the doctor thinks that some of this is depression? Depression can manifest in irritability and aggression, too.
My younger daughter was diagnosed with over a dozen different things. Her GP said when a kid has that many different diagnoses it means the doctors don't really know what it is. For some reason, rather than feeling frustrated about that, it felt more reassuring. She'd been diagnosed with depression (MDD), ADHD, OCD, TS, Mood Disorder, Bipolar disorder, Psychotic disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and MORE!!!