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Can My Daughter Be Bipolar??

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I have a 4 year old daughter that has more mood swings then an average adult. Her biological father is bipolar and so is his sister and mother. Is there a chance my daughter is bipolar? I want some advice before I go to her doctors about my questions so I know what to ask and everything. Can anyone help?
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replied December 23rd, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
Bipolar being a blood deficiency could be genetic. I think Georgia59 would best to answer that. Me personally, I as a mother would probably take her to see someone to be tested.
Mood swings are nothing new at that age, but you have a family history of the disorder and might not be a bad idea to rule it out anyway. At age 5 it is sometimes hard to see what you think may be normal and may not or vice versa.
Just go and tell them exactly the way she has been acting. If you find there have been cirtain times this happens more then others, mention that too. Just let them know her daily domeanor and that should do it. Then they will decide whether it mimics bipolar and if indeed it warrents being tested. Good to get it early if it is true.
Does she act out her anger alot? And then all of a sudden she is happy go lucky?

Good Luck,
Carrie
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replied December 23rd, 2007
Her attitude changes all the time lately... I thought at first it was because I'm pregnant and the baby is getting closer and closer to being here. But when me and my fiance were talking about her mood swings and her attitude changes he mentioned something about bipoler disorder and that triggered my memory i guess you could say. I remembered that her father and his family are bipolar. I remember wondering about if she would be bipolar but I haven't had it checked.
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replied December 23rd, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
Now that you have mentioned you are pregnant, this is a whole new ball game. Of course I still would not rule out biplar disorder by any means but, she my instead be going through the normal stage of "Hey, I not going to be the princess anymore' type deal and this is very normal at her age. She very well could be acting out as a precursor to the up coming event. Remember, she was your only little girl till now. Some take new siblings very well, others ( well we won't go there). Just keep a close I on her after the baby comes and don't leave her along with it untill you know for a few months what her actions will be. She may feel as someone is now taking her place. All I am saying is be vidulant.
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replied December 23rd, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
MsCarrie wrote:
Bipolar being a blood deficiency could be genetic.

Good Luck,
Carrie


Confused...what do you mean by blood deficiency?
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replied December 23rd, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
Bipolar is the lack of Lithium in the blood. You body is natually supposed to produce Lithuim. For those of us who are BP means there is no Lithium being produced by the body. As I wrote in another thread. A base blood draw needs to be done. Then the patient is givin a small dose of lithium. If the result comes back (I think it is) .05 or less after that dose, that means the person is not producing it on it's own which causes bipolar and needs to be treated with a lithium medication supplement.

Hope that made sense. I was a .05 or lower and was given the test which brough me up to a 0.9 after my second dose. That is a perfect level. I won't go into detail but the doctor wanted to see me a bit higher after I told him it felt like a brick had been taken off my shoulders. He then put me on a third does. It just did not work out well at all. There are more up to date safer medications out not that most here on the board are one I have heard. I just take my Klonopin which has a componient for BP in it.
BTW: I was diagnosed back in the mid 80s. I am no 60 years old a doing fairly well if I say so myself, for all that is wrong with me. Smile


Carrie
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replied December 24th, 2007
Experienced User
Bipolar in children? Very possible. The only problem you wil see is that most will not diagnose it as such in children because they think it is not possible. They often get diagnosed ADHD and treated for that. This does not help at all with bipolar if any is there. It is genetic so having a parent with it does boost the chance a child may have it.

I got 4 young ones and suspect one of girls may have BD soley on the fact that she will go a couple weeks at a time with hardly any sleep and function fine. She has no hyperactivity out of the norm but is calmer than normal for her age group (7). I see no trouble from the school side so I have done nothing to confirm suspesion. Will just see what time brings.

One of my boys definantly has ADHD. I have to use the same teniques on him that I use myself for concentration. Does not always work but at least I am famililar with it. Unfortunatly he is to young (6) for anyone to even consider diagnosing him with ADHD. Have not seen much of the bipolar realm in him yet.

My oldest girl (12) is just now starting to show possible signs of BD. Very minor but no telling what a traumatic experiance will bring out.

The other boy (10) is deaf and mild CP. Because of that it is very difficult to see any signs of either BD or ADHD. I think he may have gotten lucky and is free from both. Just his physical limitations are showing in behavior.

I really wouldnt worry much about it unless you see trouble at school or with scocialability. Other than that just let em be kids. You want to let them go as long as they can without diagnosis of anything. My youngest will have to be diagnosed soon and start the ADHD treatment. His is getting in the way of school and scocialability. The other three don't have me concerned at the moment.

Just for the record. I am BD 1 (Almost borderline.) Also have real bad ADHD. Interesting fact I found. Those with ADD often also have tinitus (RInging in the ears)

-Del

One more thing. A major change in family routine can change the behaviors in children. She may have realized how big a change it is going to be with baby comming. She could be becoming insecure in ways that she will no longer have all the attention (Assuming your second is on the way). Or maby Baby is almost here and you cant physicaly give the attention you normaly do. This will cause some acting out as there is an attention gap now present. Negative attention is still attention. Im not saying force yourself to give adiquate attention. You cant help what your body is going through and how it responds to it. Your daughter will adjust in time and be back to her old self again.

Just be patiant and try to assure her that you are not "Putting her off". I know your not. When baby comes try to keep her invovled somehow (Age appropiate) in the baby rotines. Simple things like Grap a diaper, bring me the bottle, If old enough help change baby. As long as she still feels wanted she will go back to normal. I could just be that she fears you wont give her as much attention as you normaly do.
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replied December 24th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
Hmmmm
Odd that you should mention that Mr_Del. I also have trouble with ringing or sounds in my ears. Usually very high pitched.



Carrie
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replied December 24th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
MsCarrie wrote:
Bipolar is the lack of Lithium in the blood. You body is natually supposed to produce Lithuim. For those of us who are BP means there is no Lithium being produced by the body. As I wrote in another thread. A base blood draw needs to be done. Then the patient is givin a small dose of lithium. If the result comes back (I think it is) .05 or less after that dose, that means the person is not producing it on it's own which causes bipolar and needs to be treated with a lithium medication supplement.

Hope that made sense. I was a .05 or lower and was given the test which brough me up to a 0.9 after my second dose. That is a perfect level. I won't go into detail but the doctor wanted to see me a bit higher after I told him it felt like a brick had been taken off my shoulders. He then put me on a third does. It just did not work out well at all. There are more up to date safer medications out not that most here on the board are one I have heard. I just take my Klonopin which has a componient for BP in it.
BTW: I was diagnosed back in the mid 80s. I am no 60 years old a doing fairly well if I say so myself, for all that is wrong with me. Smile


Carrie


I have never heard of that at all. Sounds pretty interesting. Are you sure the information you have stated is a fact?

Please state where you found this information. I would like to read the actual research conducted in this area. I am not stating that what you say is false, I just want more information.

My understanding is that they actually don't know what causes bipolar. Researchers are still in the process of trying to determine what exactly causes bipolar disorder. The answer is not as simple as a shortage of lithium in the blood. If it were, then the world would be a much easier place for people with bipolar and they would easily be treated with how much lithium they are lacking in their body.

Some other possibilities include, but not limited to:
An imbalance in the neurotransmitters, especially dopamine
Abnormality in certain parts of the brain
Unusually high cortisol levels
Size of hippocampus (unusually large)
People with bipolar disorder have a superfast internal clock
Specific viruses such as Borna Virus and Herpes Virus

I don't necessarily believe in some of those listed above. They are just currently being studied as having a correlation to bipolar. I believe quickly listed some other theories out there with bipolar. I don't believe there is a single cause for everyone.

Sorry to the original poster. I veered off of your original topic.
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replied December 27th, 2007
Are You Serious?
Bipolar is the lack of Lithium in the blood. You body is natually supposed to produce Lithuim. For those of us who are BP means there is no Lithium being produced by the body. As I wrote in another thread. A base blood draw needs to be done. Then the patient is givin a small dose of lithium. If the result comes back (I think it is) .05 or less after that dose, that means the person is not producing it on it's own which causes bipolar and needs to be treated with a lithium medication supplement.

Hope that made sense. I was a .05 or lower and was given the test which brough me up to a 0.9 after my second dose. That is a perfect level. I won't go into detail but the doctor wanted to see me a bit higher after I told him it felt like a brick had been taken off my shoulders. He then put me on a third does. It just did not work out well at all. There are more up to date safer medications out not that most here on the board are one I have heard. I just take my Klonopin which has a componient for BP in it.
BTW: I was diagnosed back in the mid 80s. I am no 60 years old a doing fairly well if I say so myself, for all that is wrong with me.


Carrie



Carrie,

A doctor really told you something weird and unusual. Your body produces an extremely tiny amount of lithium, that doesn't even show up in the blood, only urine, which no test actually exists for the urine. You're not supposed to have a theraputic lithium level, unless you are on the medication. No one knows why we have bipolar disorder, it's still being researched. Also, lithium is not a supplement. And, lithium is very safe, and effective, for a lot of people. Of course not everyone (obviously you), but for the most part, it's a life saver. Also with other meds combined, klonopin, risperdone, abilify, zyprexa, etc, etc.

Anyway, who told you this stuff/where did you get it from? SO curious.
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replied January 9th, 2008
I have no doubt in my mind that it's possible. My dad and me, same thing. But I don't know if it's a good idea to bring a 4 year old to get help.... you do have to remember that 4 year olds are KIDS... and I don't know if medicine is the right thing.... I could be totally wrong, but that's just my opinion. I know if I had a kid, I wouldn't try to drug them up right away.... I would wait till their preteen years to see if they're still the same or not. It's a tough call, and I wish I had the perfect answer for you. I would just be very careful with her, it's something you should wait and see if it gets better or worse. I wouldn't decide right away what I'd do about it... time tells all.
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replied January 9th, 2008
Experienced User
bipolar in children is, indeed, entirely possible. My son was diagnosed at a very young age with ADHD and a mood disorder. his psychiatrist had always thought that it was bipolar, due to his symptoms and his family history with the disorder. I was told that they don't like to diagnose bipolar in young children because that diagnosis will stay with them and could have career limiting consequenses in the future. My son was finally diagnosed formally with bipolar (along with the ADHD) at the age of 9. He is now 10 and is managing quite well. Some things to consider are that bipolar looks (or may look) a lot different in children than it does in adults. A website that I found helpful for learing about bipolar disorder in children is at http://www.bpchildresearch.org/juv_bipolar /index.html
As to whether there is an imbalance or lack of lithium in the bloodstream, I can't say, however, my child is not on lithium at the present time. He has currently being treated with Strattera for ADHD and Risperdal for the mood issues. It seems to have worked rather well for the time being so we have no need to explore the use of lithium at this time. I hope that I have been some help to you. Please feel free to contact me via pm any time.
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replied January 10th, 2008
Experienced User
Been Through This!
I can totally relate. I have a son that's had this problem since that age and his diagnosis took forever. Basically, his doctors say that bipolar disorder is very rare in children, but children like yours and mine are at a greater risk for developing it later either during puberty or maybe in their early 20s. The big issue is that no drugs are available for children for bipolar that have been approved by the FDA.

So, here's what they did for my son. (And we go out of town to the best specialist in our state--so listen up.) My son's psychiatrist said that, FOR NOW, we're treating it like ADHD. He also has traits of OCD and anxiety disorder. He's highly perfectionistic and extremely intelligent. He has a LOT of mood swings and anger issues, too. Some of this, at his age, can only be treated through intensive psychotherapy.

As far as ADHD goes, there are several different types... not just the one where you can't focus. My child can focus. He has the type where he's very impulsive and has mood swings. The doctor has prepared us that this may be very early onset of bipolar, but we won't know for sure and can't treat with bipolar meds until he's older. The meds he takes are Focalin XR, which slows him down and helps with his racing thoughts, impulsive behavior, and "motor mouth;" Strattera, which helps with the same thing, but is a different type of drug. I don't think it works well by itself, but it seems to help when mixed with the Focalin. The issue is that the side effects cause sleeping and eating problems. To address that, he's on 1mg of melatonin at night for sleep and a med called Periactin for appetite that also makes him drowsy, so he takes it right at bedtime. He also drinks a Pediasure every night before going to bed. It's hard to keep his weight on. He just started the Periactin; I'm hopeful that he will gain soon. He's a tiny thing for his age.

There's no telling exactly what your daughter needs because everyone is different and everyone reacts to different meds in a different way. It was hard to diagnose my son because his academic grades are perfect. Most kids with ADHD suffer in school. His problem was conduct, from being hyper one minute, mad the next, and crying sometimes for no reason. The meds are helping a great deal, but he still has a long road ahead of him.

Your story just struck close to home because your daughter's behavior sounds so much like my son's before we sought treatment. I would advise you to use much caution with a doctor who is quick to medicate a child as young as yours. My son is a lot older (he's 8 years old). Most importantly, get some good references before choosing a child psychologist or psychiatrist. It could make all the difference in her progress.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.
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replied January 21st, 2008
Especially eHealthy
Bipolar disorder is genetic, in the sense that your daughter is more likely to get it because you have it. Because of that, it is considered to be partly genetic, but also caused by other influences. I think the common idea now is that a person has a biological predisposition for it, and certain environmental or psychological factors can bring it out (or sometimes it's inevitable, in my opinion)

I think definitely take your daughter to get checked out. Get a few opinions.

Carrie- when you are taking lithium, doctors definitely have to monitor lithium levels in your blood to make sure that they are at the correct levels to medicate you (and not over medicate you) but I've never heard that our body naturally produces it.
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replied January 21st, 2008
Especially eHealthy
However- childhood bipolar is less common, usually it doesn't present until later, right? I agree with Carrie, perhaps it has to do with the pregnancy. But only you know your daughter, keep an eye on her and seek help if you need it.
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replied January 27th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Bipolar disorder in children
I am the mom to two children that have bipolar disorder (bpd). Bpd can and is diagnosed in children. Back in the late 1800's a german psychiatrist, Emil Kraepelin, devised the DSM for mental disorders. He was the expert of his time and his word was law. Kraepelin did not recognize and therefore dismissed the possibility of bpd in children. Since the late 1990's much of the psychiatric world has revisited the thought that children can have bpd. It is now accepted that children can and do present with bpd but the signs and symptoms differ from that of an adult.

Children can present with bpd very early in life. It is diagmosed by symptoms reported by the parent(s) of the child (or care giver). A pediatric psychiatrist would take a very detailed history and interview from the parents. The child will be observed and interviewed, if appropriate, by the psychiatrist. Usually this occurs over 2-4 visits to the doctor.

Pediatric bpd has many symptoms. They range from extreme separation anxiety, raging, night terrors, unusually high energy hallmarked with silly, giddy behavior, agitation, irritable moods, anger outbursts, unable to accept the word "no" which often results in a "meltdown" and raging tantrum, sensitivity to stimuli often displayed in being very sensitive to clothes - ie socks, shoes, tags in clothes, the weave of a sweater or shirt, pockets, the stictching on clothes, etc., complaints of feeling too hot much of the time, "sugar addict" and craving carbohydrates and sugary foods. This is just a brief list.

My older son with bpd can be difficult. He is often agitated, highly irritable and becomes irate when he is frustrated. He is easliy frustrated by tasks he can't perform on the first try. Prior to being treated he would go into what I call a meltdown if he was told no. This IS NOT just a kid being a brat. This is extreme behavior. It would result in him falling on the floor, screaming, crying, flailing arms and legs and running blindly in anger and distress. He was very sensitive to clothes. Getting him ready for school was a nightmare. I literally had to tie his shoes 10-12 times before I got the tension in the shoelaces "right". He refused to wear socks that had a seam across the toe because it bothered him. He had night terrors that would wake him screaming in fright. He told finally was able to tell me and his doctor about the dreams. The content was gory and usually involved him being attacked and maimed in some way. I could go on and on. Each child has their own twist on bpd but some things are very common. "The Bipolar Child" by Papolos and Papolos is a well written book by a psychiatrist and his wife, a psychologist. It gives great detail into pediatric bpd symptoms, treatments, the pathophysiology of the disorder and tons of other information.

I knew there was something wrong with my 3rd son. I had other children and they never acted like my 3rd boy, even on their worst day. I am an RN so I started to question his behavior and moods. I took him to be evaluated by a social worker. I did not agree with what they said. I continued to research and read and learn. I didn't look at bpd at first. Why? I was frightened. I finally started to read about the disorder. Wow! The authors of many articles must have been spying and looking in the windows of my house! They were describing my son to a tee. I sobbed and felt sorry for myself, for him, for his future. Then I found a pediatric psychiatrist. After conducting the interviews and taking the history she asked me what I thought was wrong with my son. I told her I believed he had bpd. She told me that was her conclusion. Later, she told me that was the easiest confirmation of a diagnosis she had ever had. I didn't get angry, cry or go into denial. I just wanted help for my son. Treatment varies for each person. It is often trial and error. Some medications work for some people and not others.

You suspect there is something wrong with your daughter. You KNOW her better than anyone on the planet. Go with your gut instincts. Get her evaluated. Perhaps it is bpd or perhaps some other disorder. Early intervention is usually best in most disorders. Medicating children is not taken lightly, however, no intervention leaves the child and family in chaos.

Lithium is a alkaloid that is produced in small quantities in the body. It has been used for treating the manic episodes in bpd for many years. It is currently used in this application with success. Blood tests are done to check the serum levels of lithium for theraputic range and toxicity. Bpd is not a lithium deficiency. It is a treatment for bpd. BPD is a mood disorder and it is currently believed to be a chemical imbalance in the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine and perhaps others. Serotonin and dopamine are targeted with medications to try to bring balance and thus stability to the patient. There are structural differences in the brains of people with bpd. The pre-frontal cortex is smaller with fewer glial cells compared to those that do not have bpd. The hippocampus shows structural differences as well. There is more and more research within the neurobiology field and science community is trying to gain greater understanding into the pathophysiology of bpd and other mental health and neurological disorders.

I hope this helped.
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replied May 31st, 2012
I'm bipolar, and if that many of your daughters family members are then it could make sense, but normally bipolar doesn't show symptoms till that person is older than 4. But there are always possibilities
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