“December '07 my son tried to commit suicide twice. Hard to believe, huh? Well, it happened.” The poor boy is seven.
Angela posted this in early March. She reports that she had to hospitalize her son. There, the doctors diagnosed him with depression and anxiety, but one of the meds they put him on raised a red flag with her. The med was low-dose Risperdal (they also had him on the ADD med Adderall). After what must have been pointed questioning from Angela, the psychiatrist came clean. As Angela reports:
“He explained that in layman’s terms my son has bipolar, but they don’t want to give him that diagnosis until he is a bit older.” (Angela later mentions that the boy is also currently diagnosed with ADHD and OCD).
In addition to meds treatment, Angela’s boy is receiving weekly counseling.
Angela notes that whereas her oldest son has no problems, her youngest tries to “harm himself in ways that are unimaginable.”
“I am so hurt and crushed,” she concludes. “I can’t tell my husband his diagnosis cause he will go off on me. He won’t even come to the counseling sessions to help our son. Any advice?”
No one likes to see a kid suffer, and Angela’s call for help attracted 48 replies. The diversity of the responses reveals just how difficult it is to hit on a cause and effect and solution when things go wrong with your kid. One responder asserted the boy is “a different type of normal.” Another, in light of the boy harming himself, raised the possibility of early-onset borderline personality disorder. Another asked about whether sexual abuse may have occurred. A number of people questioned the dad’s role in all this.
There is merit to all these and other responses. Kids simply don’t fit into easy diagnostic categories. And there has been a lot of negative press lately about psychiatrists being too quick to label kids with bipolar disorder. Nevertheless, the response that resonated most with Angela was one from Lynn. Lynn’s boy also suffered in a way similar to Angela’s, but it was age 18 before a psychiatrist finally diagnosed her boy with bipolar. Now on the right meds and able to sleep,, he is now “such a really nice person to be around even the next day. God, how I wish that it could have happened in the beginning.”
A few days ago, in another post, Angela gave us an update. After four months of treatment and therapy, she reports, her son is improving. But in a therapy session, her son’s mood went from cheerful to highly distressed in the space of a nanosecond. Angela’s husband just happened to be there. Both he and the therapist, she reported, “were in shock.”
In reporting on her boy’s extreme mood swing, one senses Angela’s relief. Finally, one feels, her husband gets it. So does the therapist. There is clearly something going on with the boy. She is not making things up. Others believe her now.