Adolescence with bipolar disorder siking for the right medicine or treatment

by Carmen
(Puerto rico)

We are from PR. I have a 17year old girl that is suffering from symptoms that can match a bipolar disorder. Since she was 11she started suffering from depression and received medication for it since she was manifesting suicidal thoughts. She has been in therapy since then with several changes in the meds. Last year she suffers her first symptom of a maniac disorder. She started being very self center with feeling of grandeur, aggressive and irritable. She was sleepless and was not tired. At that moment the doctor added abilify to her regular depression med. She started to be very sleepy and without will to do things.


Her grades went down and teachers started to say she was always sleepy in class. At this moment she is only taking welbutrin 300xl. Again she was unable to sleep and started to be aggressive and impulsive. Talking a lot of things that didn't make senses. She always manifested being able to communicate with other spiritual livings but at this moments when she is in the manic phase she feels hunted by them. My questions are:
Does she needs medication all the time or only in the maniac phase?
How I can work with her to recognize the symptoms of the maniac phase?
Does people suffering from this disorder recognize they have it and have a normal life?
How is the best way to help her in addition to meds?

Answer

Hello! Thanks for sharing those questions, and I am sorry about the difficulty you are having with your child.

Does she needs medication all the time or only in the maniac phase? Generally we people who suffer from bipolar disorder need medication all the time.
How I can work with her to recognize the symptoms of the maniac phase? If she believes she has this diagnosis, you can explain to her how this is a sign of imbalance and what the symptoms are. You clearly understand them very well. The being hunted by spiritual beings seems very scary, and she can use this as a clue that she is not in a good place.
Does people suffering from this disorder recognize they have it and have a normal life? Sometimes they do recognize they have it, and they can live a full life, but I guess it depends on how you define normal. Our society makes it difficult for people who are different to feel okay about themselves, but with the proper support and surrounded by love and care many people live fulfilling lives.
How is the best way to help her in addition to meds? I can tell you that if her diagnosis is right established protocol would not dictate that she only be on wellbutrin, but a mood stabilizer would be advisable ( some are lamictal, lithium, depakote, geodon, tegratol, ablify )

In addition to medication to help with her most disruptive symptoms, understanding how her mood can affect her thinking, taking care of herself and staying in routine and ritual, getting enough sleep and exercise are some of the most important things that can help her.
Good Luck,

Sincerely

Kristen McClure

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