Is it ADHD and Bipolar in my grandson who is 3?

by Lisa
(Surprise, AZ)

My daughter, who has bipolar, had my grandson when she was 16. He is now 3. At 6 mo. old he started having night terrors. Irrational screaming & crying lasting as long as 15 to 30 minutes. He seemed oblivious to our attempts at comforting him. Since then he developed sleep problems. Abt a year ago he had a time where he stayed up nearly 36 hrs. straight with only 2 catnaps of an hour or so! He would wake up in the middle of the night and behave as if he had a full nights sleep and was ready to start a new day. His dr. diagnosed him bi-polar but was hesitant to put him on any medication. Out of sheer exhaustion on our part, he prescribed him o.1 mg of clonidine which calms him down enough to fall asleep. However, this does not mean he will stay asleep for a full nights rest. He may go to bed at 8:30 and wake up in the middle of the night and want to watch a movie or something on tv. We try to get him to just lay back down and relax but not always successfully.

He is extremely intelligent. He never baby talked. Had full out conversations from abt. 1 1/2 yrs old. He also started taking off his pants and humping the floor. Sometimes he would do this while watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or just in the midst of playing with toys. He will put his clothes back on and continue playing. He may do it at naptime or bedtime and fall asleep naked on the floor. Not sure what to do about it or how to react to it? He seems very sexualized for a 3 year old! (No, there has never been sexual abuse or any other kind done in front of him or to him.) He has a short attention span, except when it comes to coloring. He will sit for hours working on a picture if he chooses to. He colors extremely well for his age. This is the only activity he has ever showed an ability to focus. He has amazing balance since 10 months old he can stand on toys, the arm or a couch or chair.

He is now displaying signs of OCD. He will get extremely upset about a door being open or certain things out of place. When he gets mad at his little brother he will shout a combination of swear words and racial slurs that the adults in the house would not put together, shocking everyone.

He is outgoing and will speak to anyone who will listen to his non-stop questions and observations. He will cry easily in frustration when trying to complete a task. This frustration will quickly be taken

out in aggressive behavior toward anyone in the room adults and or his little brother, yet he is exceptionally careful near his new baby sister who is 3 months old.

He is very hard to discipline. My daughter's boyfriend will discipline him but I feel it is out of fear that he listens to him. Is it possible that fear of him spanking him, would override the bipolar behavior he normally displays? Do these behaviors sound like Bipolar alone or ADHD as well?

We recently moved to AZ and as yet don't have a dr. for him. Can you recommend a dr. or how to go about finding one?

(a bit of background)My husband and his whole family (6 siblings) have bipolar disorder. Undiagnosed but believe me they are! My 22 yr old son has ADD and takes concerta so he can focus. Yes my daughter is 19 with 3 kids under the age of three! She has a bicornuate uterus and birth control has not proven effective for her. :( Bipolar meds and combinations of them never worked for more than a month or so. She stopped taking all medications at her Dr.'s opinion that none of them worked for her. She now takes Klonopin 0.5mg twice a day as needed for anxiety. So far this has helped her.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Hi Lisa

I can say with certainty that it sounds like your grandson has more than adhd going on. I am unable to make a diagnosis online with the information you provided me. However, please consider calling the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation or the Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation and asking for a doctor who may be familiar with treating bipolar disorder in your state.

Regarding your question of fear, yes children with bipolar disorder can control their bipolar symptoms sometimes when they are afraid, especially when they are younger. In fact one of the most common issues I have seen in my younger kids is their ability to keep it together in school in the early years and then lose it at home. Usually as they get older this shifts into all environments.

It isn't good for mentally ill children to be afraid or subjected to things that will scare them though. This exacerbates the illness adding to the issues later on

Good luck in your search for help for you grandson.I hope one of those agencies can help you locate a doctor!

It also might make sense to see a sleep specialist. Of course, with his loaded genetic history you know he is at a high risk for bipolar disorder.

I am posting your story on my website and pages. I would think other parents will see this and comment and provide you support.

Kristen McClure

Comments for Is it ADHD and Bipolar in my grandson who is 3?

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 09, 2012
3 year old getting up middle of night NEW
by: Anonymous

Took her to the dr, said not to feed her before bedtime, seems to work great. Very happy!

Jan 05, 2012
3 year old gets up middle of night gets in everything NEW
by: Anonymous

My 3 year old grandaughter gets up in the middle of the night and brakes things, climbs on top of the cabinets really high, puts all the toys in the baby bed with the baby, had a knife under her bed,have no ideal when she put it there, don't really think she had any intentions with it, but just gets into the silverware and all the cabinets, she is really a very sweet kid and loves her baby sister, not sure if she is asleep or awake when she is doing these things, other than this she seems very normal just like any other 3 year old. Please let me know if this has or is happening to you and what to do about it. Thank You

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions and Stories about Bipolar Disorder.

Check out our online facebook support community for parents of kids with mood disorders 

Search my site with google custom search!

Medical information obtained from our website is not intended as a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you have a problem, you should consult a healthcare provider.