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3year old with early onset bi-polar disorder?
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3year old with early onset bi-polar disorder?

My son is almost 3/12 years old. We began having many issues at 18moths with feces smearing, destruction of toys and other things belonging to his dad and I, hitting, biting, kicking, pulling hair of other children mainly his sister who is 11months older. He showed severe impulsivity and was really hyper all the time, never slept woke up numerous times per night and refused to take naps and woke up early went to bed late, he would hit his head on the walls when angry and has a high pain tolerence he would pinch and hit himself. He is also a screamer for no reason just screams. He started seeing his doctor at 2 for behavior checks/ re-checks and was reffered to a the CDRC childrens developmental rehabilitation clinic for evaluation. The said he has conduct disorder and possible autisum (but we dont think he has autisum he has autistic tendacys but we dont believe he is autistic) And wanted him to see a psychiatrist for an evaluation. When then continued to see his regular doctor and he was diagnosed with ADHD. He is now 31/2 and is deffiant to an extreme is a daredevil has started 3 fires in the microwave by putting objects in there tells us he hates us and wants a new family is really into fighting cartoons and is obsessive with toys or a certain movie or book he hits his dad and I throws chairs and any other object he can when he is mad. He is in a specialized pre-school and sees a therapist he has been diagnosed by an occupational therapist with sensory problems in hearing and touch. He is a runner in public and if he gets away from us is hard to catch. He is super smart and scores way high above his age. He is very aggressive at times and sometimes for no know reason he is also super strong. Stronger than most kids his age. He also has an imaginary dad he calls his spider man dad. I know kids have imaginary friends but this one has been around for a couple years and he is very detailed about this imaginary dad and talks about him alot. He talks alot about pee pees and butts and is a little over sexual in my opinion. There is so much more I could write a book.But I guess my main question is....Is bi-polar likely? I mean he is so young. We are at our wits end I just cry because I dont know what to do for him nothing has helped and we really dont want to have to result to meds in a 3 year old but behavior modification is having no affect.

Just to clarify he is 31/2 now and is dx as ADHD, conduct disorder, sensory problems, has asthma, is violent/agressive, hyper impusive, daredevil, runs away, destructive, very angry, screams, hurts self (not as often as used to) ect ect

His dads father is a drug and alcohol addict but he has never had any had problems with drugs or alcohol.

I am dx manic depressive bipolar disorder when I was 15. I tried suicide 1x at 14 but have had no attempts since. I know there is a risk for my children... Our daughter is an average healthy 41/2 year old with occasional tantrums but nothing abnormal.
Does this sound like bi-polar? how do I have him tested or what kind of doctor would make the diagnosis? Thank you for any help.
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20 Comments Post a Comment
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915369_tn?1355318410
I think that might be too young to make any sort of accurate diagnosis just cause there's so many options right? Although I would like to say it sounds like me when I was 4 or 5 but much much worse, so maybe?
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Avatar_m_tn
It's really hard to diagnose this stuff in small children.  I have had symptoms of schizophrenia since I banged my head when I was like 3 years old and everyone must have thought I was pretending when I complained of seeing monsters and such.  But everyone always said it was like I was in another world.  I'm not sure what they diagnosed me with as a child but eventually I got the schizophrenia diagnosis.
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Avatar_m_tn
Not to say your kid has schizophrenia I thought I should add, I'm just speaking in terms of myself and how it wasn't diagnosed until a few years ago.  (I'm 24)
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1648124_tn?1301364223
Thank you for your comments. I am trying to keep my mind open to what might be going on with him its just hard when you do not know how to discipline or use a discipline method that works. And being hit all the time by your 3 year old or having to protect your other child from there sibling really creates tension. I know I will probably have to wait several more years before I get a more confirmed dx. Thanks again for the help.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have an autistic son, and help administrate an autism support board with hundreds of moms...

Just from my experience, your description is very, very similar (in fact a dead ringer) for several of our kiddos with autism. The poop smearing is something TONS of autistic kids do. I don't know of any 'typical' kids that do it.

I know no one wants that diagnosis, but the feces smearing, the high pain tolerance and the screaming I can almost guarantee you are from sensory issues. ADHD is *very* common with kiddos on the spectrum.
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Avatar_f_tn
Reading your original post again, it sounds almost just like my son... His sister is 16 months older, but he liked to hit her. It was really sad. Oh the screaming...

I see now that he does have OT and sensory issues... I have no idea how I missed that part.

My son is a runner with no concept of danger. He is also very smart (he has mastered the K curriculum, although he doesn't even start K until next year). While he's not aggressive so much anymore, this could have been our exact situation when he was 2-3. I don't miss those days at all.

My son doesn't have bipolar. 'Just' autism.
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1648124_tn?1301364223
Thank you so much for your comment. I guess one reason I think autisum may not be the exact dx is because he will look at you in the eyes when he talks to you and does communicate even if its not the appropriate way. He hasnt smeared feces since about 21/2 or so but stayed interested in his bottom and all aspects of that and every time he had a BM he was fascinated with it??? I mean could autisum be possible still even though he makes eye contact and does communicate in a way? He does shut down completely after the anger part of his rages and wont look at you talk to you and he just let his body go limp and lays there.
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585414_tn?1288944902
  It might be worthwhile to have a neurologist do further testing because what might be going on in what appears like anger episodes might be beyond his control and not done voluntarily if there is a potential changes in awareness after they occur and he lies down. This can happen during certain types of seizures (which can occur with autism) and other neurological disabilities but only a neurologist would understand this in full.
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Avatar_f_tn
Lots of kids with autism make great eye contact. Just like lots of kids with autism are affectionate. Each kid is so different... My little guy makes awesome eye contact normally. It's one of those things that is really common, so when people talk about the signs, it always comes up. It is definitely a 'red flag', but it's not a deciding factor.  

The communication issues vary. Some kids have issues with verbalizing at all, others with pragmatics, maybe using the wrong words, 'scripting', etc.

You definitely can't rule out autism just based on eye contact. It's one of so many criteria, and it on it's own doesn't make or break a diagnosis.

When my son melts down (unlike a tantrum, there is a huge difference) he is not reachable. There is nothing I, nor anyone else, can do until he is ready to let us in. He screams, still occasionally throws (he is in his room alone) clothes or other stuff around, and he'll kick at things. He used to bite himself, head bang, hit, bite us, throw chairs (oh yes, he did that one day in his special ed prek room... horrifying mommy moment, although no one was even around), run away, do whatever he could to destroy. It was HORRIFIC. He was so beyond the scope of out of control it was mind blowing. I had never seen a kid like that.

My guy never did the poop smearing. Not sure why, we got everything else (I am knocking on wood like crazy right now). He loved to spill stuff on the carpet and smoosh himself on it, or smash foods until it was a squishy mess (pop tarts, chicken, anything really). So, so glad he stopped... my stomach would have had a very hard time with that one.

A pediatric neurologist or developmental pediatrician would be my next step. They can start sorting it all out...
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Avatar_m_tn
Autism can be possible even with eye contact and some communication.  Not everyone shows the same signs and symptoms as everyone else.
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1648124_tn?1301364223
Thanks you for the info on autisum and about looking into a doctor who specializes in neorology. I am going to do that right away. I also had no idea autisum was so varied I do not know to much about autisum so I guess I should educate myself. I love my son no matter what his dx would never change anything I just want to know whats going on with him so I can do the best I can as his parent. Run4you what is the support board for the kids with autisum? I would love more info on this. Thank you all again
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Avatar_m_tn
Yep, everyone, no matter what disorder they have, presents with a very individualized case of the disorder.
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Avatar_f_tn
My 3 year old girl is showing some signs that are worrying me a little. She has been pulling her hair out and stratches and bites herself when throwing a fit. Her fits also can last for a couple of hours. One minute she is fine and something so little can make her mad. You cant talk to her at all, it just makes her worse. She throws stuff across the room that is bigger than her. And she is just recently bite me while throwing a fit, she has never hurt anyone else until then. Im actually meeting with a child therapist in the next week. I know there are tons of things that could be the problem, but I was thinking autism too. Shes VERY smart, and has to be in control of everything!! But very loving also. Dont know what it is, but as a mother, I know something isn't right.  
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Avatar_f_tn
It's good that  you're seeing a therapist soon.  It will help to clarify things for you, probably to a large extent.  

Our adult son was diagnosed at age 26 with bipolar type II, but we, his parents, knew something was amiss when he was only 3 1/2.  However, the signs he showed when little--hyperactivity, lack of awareness of physical consequences (what we jokingly called 'many good ideas' because he always announced what he was doing with "I have a GOOD idea!", which meant it was already too late), giddiness, and constant, unstoppable talking (what is called 'pressured speech')--are very different from what you describe.  He showed no aggressive, antisocial tendencies--none--until paranoia kicked in when he was 22.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, first of all I sympathise with you so much, I had twins when I was very young and they did the poo smearing and they have no problems what so ever, I think it was an attention thing, they also had quite severe tantrums but grew out of it when they went to school. Interestingly my stepson who has adhd did the poo smearing and was and still is a runner lol.. with regards to your sons other behaviours, there is so many things that scream at me.. with the dx of adhd he could well have oppositional defiant disorder which goes hand in hand, I'm also thinking if not autism possibly aspergers? By the sounds of it he has multiple issues or is too young to be dx. I have bipolar but no idea of the type, my doc refuses as it is also a spectrum disorder, as a child I was very well behaved until puberty when my grandmother died I attempted suicide at 11. I was a terrible teen.. was promiscuous and pregnant by 16, but I think your son is ok bipolar wise but I would definitely think the same, my children are 14 and 9 and thankfully so far so good. I hope the docs continue to reassess your son as I know what a battle it can be. The adhd meds have helped my stepson a lot, only in a educational sense really, he still misbehaves.. its a shame you have to wait til age 6 for the meds, but they aren't a magic pill, but do help. Good luck hun
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Avatar_f_tn
I tried to post this but it didn't work. Let's try again. He does sound very autistic.however, have you considered changing his diet? My son has autistic tendencies as well and we discovered that he is gluten & dairy intolerant. Once we took him off those he became a different kid. No more excessive anger, tantrums diminished, anxiety went WAY down, ADHD went away, morbid talk and weird behavior stopped. He is just a different kid! Studies show that autistic or borderline autistic kids benefit from a gluten free diet. It's worth trying. Be careful of labels though. That will stick with him forever. My sons school was saying learning disabilities, autism, ADHD, etc, but I had them hold off until we did more testing with our naturalpathic doctor, who said Food allergies needed to be ruled out first before we headed down the neurological road. I'm so glad we did that b/c our son is happy and healthy now. Not saying it's a cure for your son, but it's worth looking into if you haven't already. Good luck!!    
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Avatar_f_tn
Be careful of the poop thing too. Smearing poop and being fascinated with poop are two different things. Kids are kids. Our younger son is completely healthy but totally obsessed with anything gross. He is 3 now, but has dug his fingers into his poo and smelled it and looked at. Anything stinky and gross is his fascination. Boys will be boys, but you def has some concerns with his behavior and rightfully so. Just remember that kids are weird regardless of any diagnosis. It's not always due to illness, sometimes just a simple fascination. Our neighbos kid wanted to eat worms and talked about it all the time. He is perfectly healthy but just had a craving for worms. He finally ate one and that was the end of that. He was 4. It's easy for us parents who have kids with health problems to freak out about what's normal what's not. Just remember that kids do weird things and they will grow out of it. That goes for kids who have health issues like our now 7 yr. Old & kids who are perfectly healthy like our 3 yr. Old. Don't be too quick to compartmentalize every behavior he does or you'll drive yourself nuts! That's coming from a mom who has dealt with serious behavior issues for 7 yrs. With our son.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Totally agree! Boys are boys, kids are kids!! anything goes at that age especially! I used to worry sick about my twin boys at that age, they were terrible lol..but at nearly 14 I am proud to say they are absolutely wonderful young men, everybody says they are a credit to me. It is a hard long battle to diagnosis, I hope you get this sorted soon hun x
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Avatar_f_tn
When children play with poop and talk about sex, its usually for a reason. Such as from being touch wrongly by someone. Look into it! I have a child just like you spoke of...
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm sorry you have to go throw this I'm sure you are getting help for how you feel and how to cope with this so having imaginary super dad is that what makes him feel good maybe that's more like a imaginary friend living in a imaginary world is safer for him.definetly he sounds more ADHD than bipolar but sounds like its more genetic traits I think you are doing good by helping him at a young age.my sister and my dad just got diagnosed with bipolar my paternal grand father had lot of hallucinations .and never was diagnosed early .i believe if you can help him do it now it's a good time .
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