My son is 5 years old and was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder at the age of 4. He began having rages within 2 weeks of turning 4. When a rage began it was like he was possessed and the rage would last from 5 minutes to 3 hours or longer. When the rage was over its like he had no recollection of what had transpired.
We became extremely concerned when he got angry over which book I would read to him at bedtime and he ripped the doorknob out of our locked bedroom door and broke it in two. He was only 4 at the time and weighed about 37 pounds. We sought out the pediatrician the next morning. We were referred to a play therapist but before we could get an appointment he had escalated and had to be taken to a behaviorial health ER.
He was admitted inpatient at age 4 and placed on tenex. The medication did nothing to help his moods. He was originally diagnosed as mood disorder n.o.s. and ODD. We were told to get video of his behaviors as they could not replicate them at the hospital. We began therapy with the play therapist once he was released from the hospital and began using 1-2-3 magic with no success. His therapist noticed that her suggestions were not working and she noticed that he lined his toys up in lines not to be disturbed. She suggested that he may have a sensory disorder.
At this time he was again admitted inpatient at the behavioral health hospital with the same rages and had given my husband a concussion and threatened to kill me, my husband and daughter (we are all his biological parents / sibling). They ordered an MRI of his brain and a sleep deprived EEG. We had video of one of his outbursts on my husband's cell phone but they refused to look at it. The MRI and EEG came back negative.
At this point I contacted an OT to start work on his sensory processing disorder. We worked with her for about 4 months and noticed marked improvement although the rages continued. We began using a 5 pound weighted blanket at night and also gave him wireless headphones to sleep with as the music calms him--he has to play the same song over and over all night.
We also were able to get intensive in home therapists in our home 6 hours a week for 6 months. They witnessed the rages and saw that they were unprovoked as the hospital had stated that since they could not replicate his behaviors in their environment that obviously his father and I were doing something to him in the home to cause them and either we come pick him up from the hospital or they would call DSS to get him as we had abandoned him.
We got him in with his current psychiatrist and she started him on zoloft which only made him more anxious. She then tried him on vyvanse which made him lay in the floor too tired to move but he raged continuously, if you walked by him he would kick, hit and try to bite. The in home therapists had him meet with their psychologist and she diagnosed him as bipolar as my mother had bipolar disorder. They also made the conclusion from their observations that he was not ODD.
time of his diagnosis he again stated that he wanted to kill his family and he tried to choke my 8 year old daughter. His psychiatrist then put him on the depakote sprinkles in addition to the zoloft with no success. We then stopped the zoloft and went to depakote only. Again no change. Then she placed him on depakote and risperadone. We started to see a slight improvement but he continued to have rages, only not as frequent. His rages occurred only in the presence of his immediate family or the intensive in home therapists, not in his daycare setting.
We took him to Florida to Disney and it was a disaster. We got there on a Saturday and was supposed to stay until the following Saturday but had to leave on Tuesday due to the duration and frequency of the rages he was having. In August he started Kindergarten and has done reasonably well. We had tried to get an IEP for him prior to the school year but was told during the evaluation that due to the behaviors occurring at home and not in the school environment that they could not help us. We spoke to his teacher at the beginning and told her of his diagnosis and his sensory issues so that some accomodations could be made. He did fine for the first 6 months but now we are having problems at the school.
His medication was changed to only risperadone in November and increased to 2 times a day. That has helped noticeably but now he is refusing to go to school. We have spoken with the staff at the school and nothing has happened with him or other students that would warrant this behavior change. Either me or the teachers / principal have to physically carry him into the school and they have to restrain him in order for me to leave. He has extreme separation anxiety. We can't even leave him with a grandparent for 2 hours to go on a date without a severe tantrum or rage.
He is screaming for about 30 minutes at the top of his lungs at school that he needs to go to the principal's office or that he needs to go to the hospital. He states every morning that his stomach hurts and his whole body hurts. He is working himself up into such a state that his anxiety is overwhelming him. This morning he said that dinosaurs were trying to bite his head. I asked him if he could see the dinosaurs and he said no but he could hear them. They were growling (as he does in a rage) and that the bites were stinging his head. I assume he is having auditory hallucinations. What I don't know is if it's because they've tripled his morning dose of Risperadone in the last week.
I have tried to reach out to numerous doctors and agencies only to be turned down due to his age. His current psychiatrist has been deployed to Kosovo until at least June and the office only has a nurse practitioner working 2 days a week. We keep slamming up against walls. I know he is hurting and does not want to be this way. Last night he stated that his friends at school are saying that he has fits and it hurts his feelings. This has been the hardest 18 months of our lives.