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    My 7 year old and divorce
    An_222018 posted:
    Ok, divorce these days just isn't as easy as we plan it to be. But to make it worse on me my 7 year old is having the hardest time adjusting to everything as a whole. His father left, moved in with another woman, and lived life for 2 years with someone else without giving either of our children time to adjust. They never had a chance to have "one on one" time with their dad to re-evaluate how life was going to be from here on out. The very first time they had visitation he brought his girlfriend along to spend the enitre weekend with them. Now, my 7 year old has built anger inside and is lashing out verbally mostly on his smaller sister. Most importantly he is not as focused in school as previously. I'm afraid that my son has developed the same bi-polar manic depression disease that his father has. How can I tell?? What can I do out-of clinic to help him?? Does he need medication?? Is this type of behavior normal? Help me pleassssseee!!! Thanks for your Reply!
    momuv4girls responded:
    Stressors can be the onset of a mental illness - and as you've described above, the break up of your home, a new person in your ex's life right from the get-go is definitely a huge stressor to a child (well, any person for that fact!).

    IMHO, the very, very best tool you can offer your son is a wonderful, knowledgeable, fantastic CHILD PSYCHIATRIST.
    Look hard, look long, but find a good one - and that is the best piece of advice I can give you, and it will be key to your son's improvement and success.

    My daughter was diagnosed with early on-set bipolar at age 6.5 and I know how hard this all is on the family, and even with a great Dr. it took time to find a good med combo, so be patient and get some knowledge under your belt so you feel more equipped on how to deal with your son.

    I would read THE BIPOLAR CHILD, by Dr. Demitri Papolos
    I suggest you join CABF (below is their link) - the website is filled with a ton of useful information you'll need for teachers, school, family members and yourself:

    And lastly, you'll need some good support for yourself, so you don't go totally bonkers trying to deal with your son. I hope you have some family to lean on, or a great girlfriend or 2 ? This illness can take a lot out of us caregivers and you need to take time out for yourself.

    Take care, and write back anytime for more help and/or support !
    micshy0205 replied to momuv4girls's response:
    Thank you so much and I will use your advice greatly!! I appreciate it soo much.
    Andrew Adesman, MD responded:
    I would be very cautious regarding a presumptive diagnosis of bipolar disorder for your 7 year old -- even if there is a family histroy in the father. Bipolar disorder is a very tricky diagnosis to make in children, and for this reason, I would agree with the recommendation to seek out a well-respected child psychiatrist. Many of your son's symptoms could just as easily be explained by ADHD and/or an adjustment disorder, and 7 is the typical age at which ADHD Or a learning disability may first present from a school standpoint. Counseling with respect to behavior management and the divorce would likely be helpful. If ADHD is diagnosed, then medication may also be very helpful. Do not rush to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder because it could be a serious mistake. I might even go so far as to suggest getting a second opinion if the first consultant believes your child has bipolar disorder. My carpenter once told me a saying in his field: measuring twice and cutting once is better than measuring once and cutting twice. I would extend this aphorism to the idea of "measuring" a child up for the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder. Good luck.
    An_222019 replied to Andrew Adesman, MD's response:
    Thanks Dr!
    I haven't yet had him diagnosed with anything, I have been throwing it all back and forth in my head. I guess because I'm afraid of the outcome. Bipolar or ADHD, the side effects and the medication is all scary to me and to know that my son might be struggling with either of the two scares me even more. So I try my best to work at it and help him through the everyday struggles the best that I can. I appreciate all of the advice and plan on taking all of the necessary steps.
    Andrew Adesman, MD replied to An_222019's response:
    Medication is generally part of the solution, not the problem. Confront the problem: neither ADHD nor Bipolar Disorder is going to go away. In fact, if left untreated, either will likely cause more impairment over time. For ADHD, there are non-medication treatment approaches, especially at age 7. Medication for ADHD is generally safe and effective. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of thousands of children on medication for ADHD -- and each of these parents continues with the medication because he or she feels it is doing more good than harm for their child and that it is worth it.
    isleangel replied to momuv4girls's response:
    My husband took my son to a child psychiatrist. My son is seven as well, he was told to keep a feelings journal and to write the best and worst things to happen through out his day. I asked him what feelings or emotions were and he was at a loss. How do I encourage him to follow the "homework" given when he does not understand one of the primary reasons for writing?
    Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff replied to isleangel's response:
    Hi and Welcome Isleangel,

    This is a great question! I encourage you to start a new discussion for more response, since this discussion is six months old.

    Looking forward to seeing your new discussion and responses from members and possibly our current experts.


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