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12 Year Old Possibly Bipolar? (Advice Needed)
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Hi everyone. I have a daughter who is 12 whom I believe may be Bipolar. I'm hoping to get some advice on what to do from this point. I guess I should start at the beginning...

My brother was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder a few years ago. I believe my father (who has passed) may have also had it and I believe my other brother might have it, though he's never been diagnosed.

My daughter (the oldest of 4) is 12 years old. She has been different from my other children from the get-go. She was extremely clingy as a child, even when around people she knew well and was comfortable. She was extremely hyper and easily distractable. By age 6 I was having a hard time reaching her verbally as she didn't seem to understand simple reasoning at all. After evaluation from the schools and her doctor, they diagnosed her as ADHD. While she does show some symptoms of ADHD, in my opinion she was never a "clear cut" case. My son, since that time, has also been diagnosed ADD - and he IS a clear cut case.

Anyway, we did try different meds (Adderall, Adderall XR, Dexedrine, Strattera, Paxil, etc.) but there were two side effect common with all of them. First of all, her mood shifts were extreme coming down from the meds. My son doesn't experience these types of extreme moods coming off of his meds. The second side effect was that in the year she was on meds, she didn't gain any weight. The meds DID help her at school with attention, etc., but emotionally they made her a mess.

After 1 year of trying to find the right med, we took her off of them altogether. I started working with her with behavior modification and self-esteem building. We tried grape seed extract for attention (herbal), and it seemed to help. She has since not been on any meds and, for the most part, is an A/B student. She's never had defiancy or behavioral problems. As she's gotten older the distractability, figiting and hyperactivity has decreased. Either she truly was never ADHD, or she's learned to live with it and has matured some.

Because Bipolar runs in my family, I did a lot of research on Bipolar in adolescents. Some of what she was experiencing hit home. The paxil (anti-depressant) made her manic. The stimulants made her manic then depressed.

She has gone through a lot in her 12 short years of life and has had a lot to deal with. However, her inability to deal with life in general is abnormal.

Back in December she started threatening to hurt herself. I found out she had tried to cut herself before. That night, she was admitted into the adolescent mental unit for 8 days because of cutting/suicidal thoughts. After 8 days of therapy and learning coping skills, she was diagnosed with mood disorder with anxiety.

Lately she's gotten a lot worse. She's extremely angry all the time. Her expectations of what should be done to make her happy are completely unrealistic. She still thinks about hurting herself and as of tonight, threatened to run away. She is generally jealous of everyone I give any attention to, including her younger brothers and sister. She expects to be the center of attention in all areas. She has a very hard time making/keeping friends. Her outlook on life is extremely negative and when I try to talk to her about changes she can work on making, she doesn't want to hear them. It seems that everything wrong with her life is someone else's fault and she expects everyone around her to fix them.

I'm trying to determine what to do next. She is taking Trileptal (mood stabilizer) and Trazadone (anti-depressant used to help her fall asleep). The meds seemed to work for a while, but I'm not sure they're working right any longer. She's on a high dose of the Trazadone and can't go any higher. The trileptal might be able to be adjusted.

Does she sound Bipolar to any of you? Is this something I should look into? I don't want to label her and have always tried to stear away from this, but the more and more signs I see the more convinced I am becomming.

Any suggestions, advice, stories, etc. you all might have would be greatly appreciated. I'm at a loss here on what to do. I've never dealt with this before.

Thanks everyone.

Posted on 04/26/07, 09:49 pm
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Reply #1 - 04/26/07  9:54pm
" Crystal, so sorry to hear all of this...My twins are bipolar as well. My boy twin was dxed at age 6, and my girl at 9. They are now 10...What you are explaining does surely sound like bipolar. I would try to see the doc with what you have seen. I wish you the best, if you need me, feel free to message me! I am going to bed soon, but will surely get back to you a.s.a.p. Jess "
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Reply #2 - 04/26/07  10:00pm
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Reply #3 - 04/26/07  10:16pm
" I will be praying for you that it all works out for the best in the end. "
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Reply #4 - 04/26/07  10:51pm
" I definately think you are on the right track, and although thinking of being "Labeled," can suck, the help is worth it. I have struggled with this disease since as far back as I can remember. Of course I didn't understand what is was, but the choices I made in life due to this problem caused myself and others around me all kinds of pain and problems. Get her help now, and explain that this is a disease that she is not responsible for. This is a delicate age for her, I know, but the big B needs to be nipped in the bud. "
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Reply #5 - 04/26/07  11:02pm
" Hi Chords2diefor -- I have a son who is now 20 who was dx at 7 with bipolar. If the doc at the hospital dx her with mood disorder with anxiety, then he/she was headed in this direction already with the mood disorder label. Sometimes docs are reluctant to say the word bipolar with kids but, it is what it is. I'd highly suggest you read the book "The Bipolar Child" and check out the website www.bpkids.org great info. Good luck and we're here if you need help "
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Reply #6 - 04/27/07  3:34am
" Hi, sorry to hear your daughter is having all these problems. I have bipolar II,ocd,add,si and fight or flight anxiety all the time. I always knew something wasn't quite right with me as a child......but it took until six years ago to know exactly what. The fact that she's not a clear cut case......is saying something.....she could have multiply disorders like me....which is quite common. Bipolar,add,ocd are sister disorders....very similar! So, I would keep going back until you really believe that's what's she has......then you can start learning everything about the disorder to help her cope and learn tools that can help make sure live better. I've, been to so many doctors....some just want to medicate you others there style of training is to just listen.....can't stand that kind.....does nothing to help me.....as I feel lost inside this head of mine.....doesn't matter what meds or what therapy I feel like an old dog who can't be taught any new trick. My brain is at overload! I wish you luck, strength and above all hope! My, mother has been my rock,my best friend,my helper,my listener....as my four kids and my loving husband. But, for me the biggest problem is living life.....I'm so overwhelmed.....when one disorder is going that way another one starts going a different way.....how can anyone live in this madness! But, I will keep fighting......MY LOVING FAMILY! Sorry, I'm rambling take care sending hugs to you and your daughter.....and if I can help in any way i'm here. Zoey "
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Reply #7 - 04/27/07  7:59am
" I wouldnt let any one diagnose my pre -teen until they are older. hormones havent kicked in yet and some children have rougher teen years than others. I suggest treating each symptom separately and keeping a chart or journal that you leave brief comments in daily. Cutting requires good therapy not medication.
I know, Ive been where you are. Good luck. "
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Reply #8 - 04/27/07  10:10am
" Thanks, everyone, for your words of encouragement and support. I did some research last night and as frightening as it is, she certainly fits the mold. I also read that a child who has Bipolar that's left untreated can develop narcissism. I looked child narcisism up and was horrified to find how she fits into this category. I've been telling her counselors/doctors about her clinginess, separation anxiety, unrealistic jealousy of her siblings or ANYONE I show attention to. Her demands for my attention are so high. I've often told docs/counselors that I could give her 150% of my attention and it STILL wouldn't be enough. Narcissism was described as a child who you could do everything for but it still wouldn't be enough to fill the vast void inside of them. This certainly sounds like her.

I'm lost at this point. I'm going to call her counselor to see if she can refer her to a psych. Unfortunately, I only have medicaid for her and her brother at this time. Psychs are very limited in this area and most do not take the medical card. Her counselor might be able to help me get her the proper help.

I find myself getting angrier and angrier at her because of the disrespect she shows me. She treats everyone around her as if they "owe" her and they should "bow down to her". She yells at everyone. I'm trying to put the anger in its place - because I'm not certain she control a majority of this. But then, she's also extremely manipulative - so that complicates things.

I'll keep y'all posted on what transpires from here. Please keep her in your prayers. "
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Reply #9 - 04/27/07  10:18am
" You got it -- prayers your way and please keep us posted. He may be 20 now, but i've not forgotten the struggles involved getting him to this point. Good luck. "
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Reply #10 - 04/27/07  10:19am
" oops -- she/ sorry "

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