In 1999, Broadway Books released “The Bipolar Child” by Demitri Papolos, M.D. and Janice Papolos. Many parents, like me, were thrilled feeling for the first time that we were not alone. However, many researchers had concerns that this work was pushed to the mainstream before empirical research studies could adequately vet the theories put forward. Perhaps it is the balance between professional perspective and personal experience that will achieve the best outcomes for our children? Share Your Experience
- I think it's a blessing I found this site. My 9 year old son needs help. He has been in therapy since he was 4 years old. Last year we took him to get a battery of tests done and were unconclusive. He was diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression but no adha. He has all the symptoms of it. This weekend he has been raging off and on over little things. I have been searching and searching for answers, no one can help us. I am calling a psychiatrist on Monday armed with this information. Thanks everyone for sharing you stories. I am not alone and that is a help.
- —Guest Liz
- I have a 12 year son who was diagnosed bipolar at age 10. At age 8 I felt that he was bipolar. He like most children was diagnosed ADHD at age six. The book "Bipolar Disorder in Childhood and Early Adolescence by Barbara Geller MD and Melissa DelBello MD, available on Amazon convinced me that my son was bipolar. He began seeing a psychologist at age 3 and a psychiatrist at age 6. The problem with the psychiatry field is that they feel very uncomfortable diagnoisng a young child as bipolar. What finally got my then 10 year old diagnosed was his participation in a research study for children diagnosed ADHD with mood disorders. It was through this study that the diagnosis was given. When we went to his psychiatrist when the diagnosis was given
I said to him "I respectfully say I told you so." Parents know there children best. You need to advocate agressively for you child if you believe the diagnosis should be bipolar. I am a professional advocate and it took me two years.
- —Guest Susan
Personal Experience with Bipolar
- I am now 18 years old, diagnosed at 11 years old. My childhood was exactly like these. There is hope though. I am very successful and am living a happy and healthy life. I plan to write a book on my bipolar journey to help parents understand the child's side. Children want to be good, but we get taken over by these horrible emotions. I hope that one day my book will be published. Even if I help one family, writing a book is worth the effort.
- —Guest Juliana
no bi-polar diagnoses as of yet
- I have been taking my 7yr old to the doctor for about 8 months now. Her pediatrician diagnosed her with adhd and sent us to a psychiatrist. After our first visit she was diagnosed with adhd, odd and cd. I was then sent to the psychologist and she was put on adhd medication. None of these medicines have worked. She has been showing violent behavior since age 5 where she was kicking and biting her brother to the point where dfcs was called into the school. Now she has become overly violent attacking everyone. Evoking anger at all times. Throwing things, breaking things, telling her siblings she hopes they die or she will kill them. She has cut herself several times. I now have to hide all sharp objects since the cutting and her threats of killing her siblings. I have constantly told the doctors of these actions to no avail. They continue to dismiss these actions as her adhd medication not working. I myself am bi-polar and I feel helpless! Could my child have bi-polar disorder?
Do we look at whole picture FAILSAFE
- While I don't doubt Bipolar exists in children... I wonder sometimes if the chemistry of the brain is affected by various stressors, noise, food, additives, lack of sleep, lack of genuine play experiences for kids. My son was so incredibly ODD and at times very violent.
He could have ticked so many of the signs shown in the list. I tried the FAIL SAFE DIET by Sue Dengate and eliminated Screen time. i.e. no computer or DVD. All food in our house was boring plain and even fruit veges were limited. It took 4 weeks and I had a different child. Calm & well mannered and once again I could get out the door with or without child. I urge you look up The Fail Safe Diet. Both my children are extremely sensitive to salicylates, so now we avoid berries, almonds, grapes, and eat more lettuce, cabbage, leeks celery and pears .
I'm praying for the better
- I have a brother who has Bipolar and ADHD he's 8 years old and he's pretty violent. I can see my mom can't handle him she tells him not to do those things like kicking my baby brother, eating so much junk food since he has soo many cavities, and cussing at us, talking back, and saying "That doesn't hurt"! He imitates my mom at us saying "stop or I'll spank you" or give me it in 1,2,3" etc. He hits us with his toy guns he has soo much guns I'm afraid that he will use it for violence since he actually pretends that we're dead. And he kicks the walls and doors and car. And yells angrily making this weird stare and making assaults and insults. I can see that my mom has emotional stress and is getting white hair at a bit of an early age. I just hope things get better because I miss my old brother when he was nice he would laugh never cry so much would play with us playfully and smile. I sometimes wish I could go back to the past and remember seeing him the day he was born.
- —Guest Natalie
- 24 yr old stepson dx age 9, after history of hypersexuality, cutting up things, hammering doors and cabinets, mixing up chemicals, lying constantly, setting family members against each other through lies, exposing himself to others, sexually assaulting many younger siblings at age 13. His Mom, maternal grandparents, maternal aunt, and maternal cousins all have bipolar disorder. He had to leave house age 13 after I had to report him to CPS. He was and is a tornado that causes constant chaos. I have noticed that he can "maintain a facade" for about 3 months, usually at home or work/school, but not both. The friends, girl friends last about that long, as they find out he has lied and is full of it. He feels like others have a problem and he doesn't. He was on meds until age 18, stating that my friend, the doctor, diagnosed him and that he wasn't really bipolar. He has lied and ruined at least 1 if not 2 of my husbands relationships with his other kids.
- —Guest Debbie
- my now 9 y/o d. is being tracked for bipolar disorder. she began exhibiting symptoms around 1 yr. we've had multiple diagnosis, sep.anxiety, adhd, odd, anxiety disorder, and mood disorder nos. we have found a cocktail of meds that work, except when she is manic....she won't sleep for days and her behavior severely declines. we up her meds, and it only works for a few days. she's been hospitalized 3 times in the past year. she will unbuckle her seatbelt in the car, run out of the dr's office, lock herself in the bathroom. it's frustrating, and as a single mom of 3, it's hard to keep a job when you are constantly running to school, and can't keep a babysitter. we are currently journaling everything she does daily, eat, sleep, clothing, mood, activities, which has been very helpful when we see her drs. i take specific documented info, day and time, so that we can try and keep ahead of her ups and downs. i recommend doing this to every parent with a child like this.
- —Guest sarah
help me help my son
- I have just by chance or by divine intervention come across this web site and my son ticks about 90%of both criteria for very common and common symptoms for bipolar for yeara we have been struggling with what's wrong with him as a little guy he was very irritable would scream and bite (himself) and bang his head when angry and spit st people if they spoke to him (he had a speech delay) as he has got older (10years) he has continued to be irritable and emotional bit also belligerent and not equating actions with consequences he's not able to relate the previous day's misdemeanors to the next day's learning. I am at the end of all things positive and he deserves so much more than that.
- —Guest Sharon
- I adopted my son Nick out of foster care when he was 4, about a year and a half ago. His home life was chaotic, filled with violence, neglect, abuse and confusion. We were his 7th family in 3 years. He had and continues to be prone to major tantrums and fits, self-abusive behaviors (hitting and biting), very poor sleep (insomnia, bedwetting, night terrors), crying, lethargy and apathy. He has been diagnosed with ADHD, PSTD, SPD and might have a mild form of bipolar. He's only 6 years old...I don't want all these labels stuck on him. He sees a psychologist and occupational therapist each week, and I do sensory , literacy, and fine motor work with him each day.
I love him dearly and I'm so glad he's in our family. I just get worried sometimes... I have 5 other children who also have complex needs I need to attend to. So is our crazy, but amazing life.
- —Guest Libby
I am grateful that I read this
- There are so many similarities between this article and my situation with my son. My father was an alcoholic with untreated depression. I struggled for years with depression and anxiety, and wasn't diagnosed or treated for bipolar disorder until my mid-30's.
I have seen so many symptoms in my son that it is impossible to deny, yet I questioned whether or not I was seeing them because I expected to.
My heart breaks when I see him withdraw during a depressive episode; I know from experience that it can get better. I feel so helpless because I cannot help him because I can't reach him.
I am so grateful for the trusting relationship I have with him, and I am hopeful that he will trust in me enough to accept the help he needs.
- —Guest Chester
- I have custody of my grandson, whom We have raised since birth. We also have the right to decide on visitation from his parents. One being my son who has always been moody and has a true learning disability. His Mother has CP, and depression and aggressive disorders. Reason we custody is she tried to set my house on fire when he was a baby with him on the couch, she set the couch on fire, because of jealousy of the baby. He had night terrors for years they told me he would grow out of them. In the last two years he has gone from being our sweet boy to I can't wait till he is in school again just to get away from him. It makes me cry so hard at times, I'm on my knees praying. He is rude, crude, mean. He does things on purpose. I thought he was wanting more attention but its never enough. But when he gets angry an started raising his fists to me I thought good grief what have I done to this child. He has odd eating habits too. He will fight me till I cant take it anymore when it comes to bedtime.
- —Guest Stephanie
Between Two Disorders
- My 16 year old son was diagnosed BP-NOS at age 8, BP1 with psychotic features at age 11, and Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Type, at age 14. Schizoaffective Disorder really fits, and he is stabilizing with treatment for it. But because it's not as well known - it has symptoms of both Bipolar 2 and Schizophrenia - it's hard to find information and, frankly, doctors that know how to treat it. We're lucky that we live in a big city, and had resources like CABF to help us. But what helps the symptoms of bipolar mania and depression can escalate the hallucinations and delusions of schizophrenia, and vice versa. True stabilization is something, I fear, he will never truly experience. I fear for his adulthood, trying to be a man out in the world is something he desperately wants, and I'm afraid he will never achieve.
- —Guest Chrisa Hickey
- From the moment Daniel Lee was born he was his own person. He was 6 weeks premature and was 3 pounds an 7 ounces. He didn't sleep. He would take what we all called power naps that lasted only 30-40 minutes. When he started to walk and talk early we were all thrilled, because the doctors all said he would do most things late. He was hyper and into everything. I was already getting the idea he wasn't like other children. Everyone else with the exception of my mother thought I was crazy. As Daniel got older he became more and more violent. I tried everything anyone would suggest. Nothing worked. I had black eyes, busted mouth - he took a toy and broke 2 of my teeth by hitting me in the face. One moment he was so loving, and the next for no reason he was in a rage. After getting him into a doctor who could help us we found out he had Bipolar, ODD and ADHD. He now does well in school and has fewer problems than before.
- My oldest has been diagnosed for the past 7 yrs with ADD, ODD, bipolar, and now a mood disorder. Medication has proved more harmful than helpful. After trying 9 different psychologists, she is in weekly therapy after we got a court order for her to do so- prior she refused to participate. Things are a little better. She is now 16.
Now, my 12 yr old son who has been diagnosed with ADHD since he was 9 is showing signs of bipolar. I dread going through the fighting and testing we did with my daughter - but his behavior is ruining our family. I spend days crying - wishing I could have my son back. He is an awesome kid when he is level - but I feel like I hate him when he is off. He is spiteful, hurtful, rude, abusive, and tries to lock himself in his room for days - won't come out to eat or anything. Our next step is to try to get him to agree to weekly therapy - medications have been a bad rap for us thus far.
- —Guest Pam
- My child is diagnosed with ODD, ADHD & PTSD. She is eleven and has only been in my care for 5 months (foster child). Anything can set her off. For example, I asked her to had me the remote for the living room tv that she brought in her room and she became defiant, started banging her head, knee and foot on the wall in her bedroom. It took 30 mins for her to completely descalate.
- —Guest Phyllis Stevenson