A Mother’s Plea – Pediatric Bipolar Disorderby Shaheen E Lakhan, MD, PhD, MEd, MS, FAAN | August 25, 2006
I am a mother of a biological son (grown 33 years old) and adopted boy/girl twins (10 years old). I am an R.N. of 30 years still working full time and exhausted human being. My dilemma is as follows:
My adopted 10 year old son has most recently been diagnosed with pediatric bipolar disorder. This of course is after 10 years of a page long full diagnoses on this child. He has been on more medications than a CAD/COPD Renal patient!! I get conflicting statement after statement, article after article and I am exhausted! Have I done worse to this child by trying to believe all the “expert” advice to the point that it is tearing our family unit apart. It is mind boggling that SO MANY diagnoses are intertwined with so many others. No one can seem to draw lines in the sand. I know we call it “practicing medicine” but what if all that practicing causes a young life to go amuck? Currently he is having much trouble in school following directions, staying on task, easily distracted, very smart, sweet soul, exacerbating behavior vs. family/teachers exhausted from diligently working with him to complete tasks from the simple of brushing teeth, reminding him of body cues, ie need to urinate vs. dehydration.. go get something to drink vs. matching colors correctly. He is 10 years old going on 11. He doesn’t act or “feel” like a 10 year old, he is more like a 3 year old in care.
Fact: He was born to a teenage mother (3rd pregnancy, 17 yrs. old at birth) who tested positive for methamphetamines/alcohol/smoking. Term infant, ROM greater than 30 hrs. He was Twin B, respiratory difficulties, NICU x 24 hrs. antibiotic therapy, rallied well placed into temporary foster care along with his twin sister (no complications with her). In and out of foster care first 1 year of life, parents rights terminated. They have been in my heart and life since 1 year of age. Came to me with “attachment disorder, anxiety disorder, ongoing ear infections, staph infection on skin from scratching of lice and fleas in the first year of life. Lived in a “crack house” with a diagnosed narcissistic grandmother, teen mother and unknown adults for first year of life. Adults did not meet male childs needs consistently, nurtured twin girl though. These are the beginning facts:
They both had PE tubes at age 3 after I adopted them and they were taken out of “the system” and placed on my insurance after repeated ear infections. Bottle drinking was discontinued at appx. 16 mo. a very strong self soothing habit on their part. We just did water for months just to self calm them. They were very leary of strangers, especially my boy twin. I have video of him falling to the ground at 15 mo. of age when the DCF driver came to the house to take them to weekly supervised visits with biological parents. I took him to occupational specialists, I did “brushing techniques, proprioceptive exercises, balance theory, audio theory, drug therapy started around 4-5 yrs of age. We have experienced sleep deprivation to audio vs. visual hallucinations vs. emotional meltdowns vs. rage to being able to hug us as parents finally. A total gambut of emotional, physical, mental stress that is totally incomprehensible by most. There has been few normal peaceful days in our lives in the past 10 years. I love my children with all my heart and soul and at this point I am no more encouraged over what is going on physically vs. mentally with my young son.
Fact: He has some kind of “odd temporal lobe misfiring noted time” and again on EEG’s from the age of 6 1/2 to today. My psychiatrist is wondering with the neurologist along with the pediatrician if we have him on the correct recourse of drugs, presently Risperdal and Lamictal. I on the other hand would like to run down the road screaming at this point as they don’t always remember his correct name after treating him for a year and a half. My gut feelings are telling me to taper off everything and try absolutely nothing.
Would 4 months be long enough to detoxify his system of all the drugs?? What about the rebound effects??? What if it’s something as simple as a “milk allergy”?? He loves milk. Insurance groups don’t do testing anymore for allergies. Everyone is just into prescribing drugs. Okay all you physicians, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers…..take this to the blog.
Dr. Seus, “What would you do?” Thank you for listening, thank you for your time, thank you for letting me ventilate.
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