I think my son may be bipolar

by Janet
(Alabama)

My son is 16 years old and over the last 6 months he has changed drastically. He has what I call "meltdowns". He goes completely "insane", threatens the family, destroys property, uses abusive and derogatory language, and is very violent. He was diagnosed with ADHD as a small child, but he didn't have trouble focusing---just hyperactivity.


In 5th grade, he said he could control it himself. We were having terrible problems with the "rebounding" effects of him coming off Ritilan at the end of the day, so we let him stop taking it---and he hasn't taken it since.

He did great in school and everything seemed to be going better until last year. Then, he started acting strange. He started hanging out with different friends, experimenting with alcohol and drugs and becoming very difficult to handle. The doctor gave him zoloft and it didn't work at all, then cybalta, but it's like he just got worse.

He insists that we buy him things that we can't afford and when we try to explain that what he is asking for is unrealistic, he gets violent. We bought him a beautiful car for his birthday and he said it wasn't good enough and went crazy and obsessed about how much he hated it. We finally gave it to our older son---who loves it.

He wants me to buy him new clothes everyday and yells that I am going to hell for being selfish if I don't buy them. He says he is bored all the time and wants to go hang out with his friends so he won't be miserable. If I say no, he goes crazy and pitches a fit---I have had to call the police on him twice, now.

He won't sleep at night and I can't get him to wake up in the morning. He told me that he sneaks out of the house and smokes pot after his "meltdowns" because it is the only thing that will calm him down. He says he hates his life and wants to kill himself.

Currently he is taking Resperidone, but it isn't helping, either. They have finally decided to do testing for bipolar disorder. We start next week. He doesn't seem as depressed as he does violent and manic. Can this really be Bipolar Disorder?

By the way, my ex-husband was diagnosed with a "mood disorder" after we divorced---but I don't have any specifics.
Certainly some of the symptoms you are describing are consistent with a mood disorder, however, if your son is using drugs, it may be that those are contributing or causing his difficulty. It’s nearly impossible to make a diagnosis when someone is using substances. It is important that he gets a full evaluation by a qualified professional.

Response

Hi Janet

Requesting you buy him expensive things could certainly be a form of mission moding behavior which we see often in kids when they are manic. The again it’s difficult to tell because of the substance abuse.
I am so sorry about the difficulty you are having with your son. I know it can be heartbreaking to see your child transformed in such a terrible way. It is important for you to know there is a strong genetic component to bipolar disorder, and mood disorder is often bipolar disorder.

I would also suggest that you get him a full medical exam, as a thyroid condition can often be underlying some mood issues. I hope you are able to get the help you deserve, and your son can grow up to be a successful and productive member of society!

Sincerely,

Kristen McClure

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Sep 22, 2011
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I know how you feel
by: Belinda

My son has been struggling with depression and mood disorders since middle school and it is getting worse despite many doctor appts and different medications. It really seems like it started in school when he began to be bullied in middle school. He has been on/off medication because we think he is better and then BOOM, here it comes again. He started hanging around one friend only and we became suspicious of drugs and we were right. Thank God we caught it early and he is now clean be still has depressive disorders. I'm at a loss of what to do for him. I feel bad like its my fault this happened. I pray that anyone who has a child in distress gets the help they need. I will continue to find a way to help my son so he can live a productive life and for once know happiness.

May 13, 2011
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please help...
by: Anonymous

i think my 16 yr old son may be bipolar. he has explosive anger,and usually directs it at me. he is failing in school,lacks motivation,he could be very scary when angered. he usually stays in his room. he hangs out with kids that are known to get high.but then again,the following day he could be the nicest person. i already asked him to go to a therapist but he got very defiant and said he`s not going. when he was young, he was the sweetest little boy-i know that boy is some where deep inside of him. please,some one out there, any advice ? i heard a lot of horror stories about putting the kid`s on bipolar medication. any help would be appreciated....

May 13, 2011
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starstarstarstarstar
please help...
by: Anonymous

i think my 16 yr old son may be bipolar. he has explosive anger,and usually directs it at me. he is failing in school,lacks motivation,he could be very scary when angered. he usually stays in his room. he hangs out with kids that are known to get high.but then again,the following day he could be the nicest person. i already asked him to go to a therapist but he got very defiant and said he`s not going. when he was young, he was the sweetest little boy-i know that boy is some where deep inside of him. please,some one out there, any advice ? i heard a lot of horror stories about putting the kid`s on bipolar medication. any help would be appreciated....

Oct 01, 2009
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Thanks for the response
by: Janet

Just to be clearer, I wanted to let you know that the pot smoking a few times over the summer (or so he told me).

Please note, I have been drug testing him at home, and all the tests are negative. He plays sports in school and gets tested there as well. All tests have been negative for drugs---but the crazy behavior still continues.

He has also done weird things like burn himself on his arms because he is "bored".

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