by Rebecca

I have a 15 year old son who has been struggling with bi-polar for the past 4 years. We've been through therapists because Bryan has built a wall around himself, is angry that he has this diagnosis, and battles with his fight to "handle" this illness himself. Obviously he cannot, but he refuses help or even conversations from me. I'm not sure how to handle the cycling that seems to magnify in spring and fall (right now) - he becomes oppositional with absolutely everything (showering, hygiene, eating, schoolwork, is drinking to self-medicate, and is verbally and physically abusive), threatens us, disappears all day, comes and goes as he pleases and I can't stop him. Taking 300mg of lithium once per day which has been increased to 3x per day this week. We need more direction and he needs to understand how to help himself.

Hi Rebecca

The problem with kids who are bipolar is they have to be stable in order to process information and learn new techniques, so something like therapy is often ineffective with a child who is unstable. I would recommend you research what normal dosages of lithium are and have a very candid discussion with your psychiatrist about the need to stabilize him. Certainly once he is more stable on his medications, he may really change his behavior. The behavior that appears out of control is because Bipolar is a brain disorder, and until the chemicals in the brain are set right it truly is out of control.

Good luck


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Jun 27, 2015
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Jun 03, 2009
Sounds Similar
by: Elizabeth

This sounds very similar to my own experiences with my now 16yo son, who was dxed with bipolar last Sept. and then again in January by another doctor.

When he seems more stable, which is not very often anymore, he does not go off drug and alcohol seeking, rage at us, etc. We used to be very close and he had activities such as music lessons and a love for reading and church activities.

Now many people think he is just an over the top mood swingy teen with "Behavioral" issues related to bad parenting or just plain old oppositionality.

Dec 20, 2008
by: Anonymous

I am wondering at what point an inpatient stay may help to stabilize; my nephew had a similar history and he ended up in an adolescent inpatient unit for 3 weeks. His behavior was very much like that and eventually the police picked him up and brought him to the ER. At first we were all very distraught but it helped in the long run as he was able to be tried on different meds and had group and individual therapy every day. The combination that helped him most was lithium and depakote. He did have to have risperdal at first because he was really agitated. But the stay helped the crisis and although he hasn't gone back to school yet, he is much easier to have at home and is now getting tutored to catch up so that he can go back after January recess.

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