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    Childhood bi-polar disorder
    besmith75 posted:
    Hello all,
    I've never been on this board before but I'm at my wits end. I have a 9 year old boy with some obvious behavioral issues. I had him evaluated by his teacher and school counselor and ADHD as well as any form of Autism has been ruled out. He was evaluated both by direct observation and written testing filled out by both myself and his teacher. The results came back that he very obviously suffers from depression and anxiety. It was suggessted that I take him to his pediatrician. After a thorough exam, his pediatrician suggested I have him evaluated by a child psychologist because he shows all of the signs of bi-polar disorder (as well as mental health issues on both sides of the family). His pediatrician is not an alarmist and generally the type of doctor who would refer him to a mental health expert unless he truly believes that my son has a chemical imbalance. Now here comes the hard son is violently opposed to seeing a counselor. When I bring it up...he throws a fit. Cries and yells. Tells me that I'm being mean and making him mad. Nobody else in my family seems to be on board as they seem to think that he's just 'quirky' or 'unusual'. Problem is...he's miserable and therefore everyone else in the home is miserable. His moods rule the household. Does he need further evaluation? And if do I get him to go? I am absolutely at my wits end. Any input would be highly appreciated.

    Thank you
    melly2210 responded:
    Hi besmith...welcome back!

    I am sorry to hear you are struggling through this with your son. My son is also BP and he fights the med taking as such as well.

    I would definately say that he needs to be evaluated. It will help him cope and deal with school better as well as make the family situation better.

    The thing to remember about most bipolar people and our families is that we go through a period of denial. I know both mine and my son went through that. And while it was happening, I bucked everything. Both of us reached a depression point that landed us both on a crisis center (different times, of course) due to either a suicide attempt or ideations. I would hate to see your son go through this.

    As for getting him to go...You are the parent here. Remember that. It's up to you to provide him care and access to it. He's 9. And if I were you, he would have no say at all. Period. He could throw the biggest fit and still, I'd drag him kicking and screaming (literally) to the doctor. Perhaps if the doctor sees his behavior first hand he will be able to alleviate his fears and objections which would leave you out of it from there. If he is dx bipolar or it's determined he needs medication for depression and anxiety, then you're also going to enforce that.

    What I would do with a 9 yr old is pick him up for school and take him directly without telling where we are going. I'd rush him out of the car and tell him you were late. When it's over, treat him (unless the psychologist feels he was completely uncooperative) afterwards to a favorite treat, toy, date with mom or dad night, meal out. You determine the reward. But you have to remain firm and unbudging in this matter.

    Best of luck and hope this helps. Keep us posted.


    Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all. ~Emily Dickinson
    DizzyJgirl responded:
    My youngest is now 12 (almost 13). We went through a LOT with him a few years ago. He was never resistent to evaluations or appointments though. We did find a wonderful child psychiatrist through a referral who made all the difference. She interacted great with my son. Never talked down to either of us and made such a difference in how we looked at things. Prior to that, we went to a highly recommended "play" therapist. I was never comfortable with it and wish I had listened to my insticts. I kept thinking that I was wrong since everyone else seemed to love her. It was just the wrong approach with my son. His pediatrician was all set to try him on heavy duty meds based on MY dx of bipolar. They wanted to label him bipolar because of me. I will not deny that maybe he is bipolar but I put my foot down and insisted on a proper dx. That was where we met the pdoc that worked so well with him. He learned a lot of behaviour modification.
    Truth be told...our biggest issue was our school and things that went on there (my son being bullied). Once that all improved, life in general improved for him.
    While I agree you are the parent, I also wouldn't want the whole process to start on a negative note by you having to fight to get him there. I am not above some bribery myself. We had to travel to see our pdoc and I made it into a fun day by doing a little extra sight seeing, shopping, ice cream or pizza...stuff like that.
    Good luck!
    Live Life Loud
    melly2210 replied to DizzyJgirl's response:
    Dizzy brings up a very important point. Your son HAS to be comfortable with his therapist or else you are wasting time. It may take a few visits for them to break through the wall he's erecting, and once that is done he may even look forward to his appointments. Go with your gut on choosing one and forget what others say. What works for one person doesn't always work for others.

    For my son, when he was much younger, he saw a play therapist for ADHD. She helped him learn organization and how to cut off some impulsivity. She also recommended meds to help him (and us) cope. When his dad and I divorced (he was 10 going on 11) he and his brother started therapy because neither of them handled it well. She was kind and helped them both. When he had the crisis which landed him an involuntary stay in a hospital for suicide ideations, he returned to see this therapist. She wasn't a great fit for someone with psychological disorders. He manipulated her into feeling he was doing ok when he wasn't. He basically blew smoke up her rear end. She wasn't consistant in keeping her appointments, often cancelling just hours before the weekly visit. He'd be looking forward to the appointment to discuss something specific and she'd cancel and reschedule. It blew ANY trust he had in her away, and that's when he started manipulating. She had NO clue, so she was ruled out and another found.

    As for getting him to go....maybe if you include him in the process by discussing the importance of this appointment when he is calmer and reasonable, he will be more accepting. Even at 9, my oldest was mature enough to understand on a good day that help was needed. Let him pick his reward so he has some motivation. Hopefully, he will be more open and look forward to the appointments. But it's important to remember that therapy and med management only helps him to recognize the symtoms and you as well as warning signs to use his coping skills. He will need you to keep an eye out to the swing in his moods. Even at 16, my son still needs reminders of a rough patch he is in. And we still need to fight with him to be med compliant (he believes the meds = same as recreational drugs - long story) because he doesn't want to take meds. His life gets really hard when he doesn't like school grades, peer relationships, fights with his dad who doesn't quite understand, etc. It's work no matter how it goes.

    Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all. ~Emily Dickinson

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