What is Bipolar?

According to the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundations' website, Bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depression) is a serious but treatable medical illness. It is a disorder of the brain marked by extreme changes in mood, energy, thinking and behavior.

Unlike adults whose cycles tend to be made on a predictable cycle of maybe a couple times a year, children tend to suffer from more rapid-cycling, maybe even multiple times with in the same day, and hypomania, showing signs of both mania and depression at the same time.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Medicines

The doctors understood. I was correct, something wasn't right. After the checklist and the family history, we knew we could possibly be dealing with a child that was Bipolar in addition to his Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Where to begin though...

Michael had been seeing a therapist for several months to help him through the trauma he had already experienced in his short life. She, too, agreed something wasn't right. Something more was possibly wrong.

The decision for meds for him was a tough one. An eight year old on medication, something can't be right. I thought about it though and debated with myself. We couldn't go on living this way. I had left the abuse behind to keep us all safe. I didn't need for it to be from him now.

So the long trip down the road to stabilization began. We began with Seroquel hoping it would be a long term help as even though his body was larger than the average kid, it was still only eight years old.

The Seroquel didn't stand on its own for long as the homicidal and suicidal ideations came along. An eight year old with a plan to kill. Scary...

We have tried many medicines since the beginning and still have to adjust regularly due to growth spurts. Here is a list of some medicines we've tried and our results.

Seroquel - worked well; wore off as Michael aged
Depakote - worked well; wore off as Michael aged
Wellbutrin - seemed to work well for awhile, needed something stronger
Zoloft - did not help with depression/suicidal ideations
Trileptal - made ADHD-like, could not even focus on his soccer game
Geodon - did not work
Invega - when started at a higher dosed caused him to be almost comatose, at the lower dosage seems to do well
Trazadone - works well for helping to sleep, hasn't had any Night Terrors since starting
Abilify - tried at earlier times in life with little success as higher dosage seemed to cause agitation, seems to work well in current combination of medications
Lithium - adjust as needed for therapeutic Lithium level around .9

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