my son is 12 yrs old & is showing a lot of signs for depression and bi-polar disorder. i am a 39 yr old woman who was diagnosed with both, 6 yrs ago. the signs he is showing are poor hygiene, massive weight gain, has no contact or very little with anyone other than me, poor grades, staying up for days at a time, always full of ideas in the middle of the night, and he absolutely refuses to go to school. it's gotten so bad that i have been dragged into court and charged with contributing to the delinquincy of a minor, for not making him go to school. if he misses anymore school without a doctors excuse, they will throw me in jail for 60 days. i do try to make him go, but at 12 yrs old, the boy weighs 200lbs and could do me harm, if i physically tried to make him. i've asked for help from the school and they told me to try the truent officer. i tried this and the third time he gave me problems going to school, they filed charges on me. in addition to these symptoms for bi-polar and manic depression, he also has severe asthma and almost always ends up in the hospital at least once or twice a year. the last attack he had, he reported to his teacher, but was ignored. by the time he was admitted into the hospital, his lungs were so tight and the attack so progressed that a pulmonary specialt was called in and he was almost life-flighted to a nearby childrens hospital. i am at my witts end. i know he loves me very much and doesn't want to see me in jail. but i also know that if he is bi-polar, without medication, it is almost impossible to handle as an adult. i can't even imagine his turmoil, being a 12 yr old boy , who has also just started puberty. he seems to also be very self destructive, ie: hitting himself or threatning to cut himself or kill himself. i don't know how much is him trying to get my attention and how much is a mental illness or normal adolescents. one thing i know i can count on as not being normal is that most 12 yr olds aren't thinking about suicide. i love him very much and am really scarred. can anyone help, please????!!!!!
I can say that I developed schizoaffective disorder at age 13 at the direct onset of puberty and withdrawing from people and engaging in anti-social behavior were part of my disability then before treatment and recovery. I did have occasional suicidal ideations but nothing I would act on. I did not start medication until age 18 and no one knew what was going on until I was diagnosed then. It was rough to say the least. The school should help you by refering him to counseling services not the truant officer and if he does have a psychiatric disability which seems likely a referral to a psychiatrist. Each thing is one step at a time. If he does end up on medication and what's required is a mood stabilizer Lamictal is the least likely to cause weight gain. Its a problem with the others and all of the antipsychotics are likely to cause weight gain and put a person at risk for diabetes and they are sometimes used as mood stabilizers. I bring this up especially because you say he is quite overweight already. But the first step if have the school guidance counselor get involved and have him see a therapist and then as needed a psychiatrist after that but if he has active suicidal ideations then that would be needed sooner rather than later. Let the school know what's really going on so they are working with not against you.
I too have a 12 year old son with severe asthma and exhibiting strange and much worse behavior since he started jr. high. I have a diagnostic exam scheduled at Mayo in a week and I can hardly wait! As soon as he is diagnosed (and I know he will be) with o.c.d. (which he says he has), bipolar (I was diagnosed a few years ago), Tuerret's or whatever I will get him on an i.e.p. at his school which will allow me to pull strings to get him the help and understanding there he deperately needs. He's on Adderall and has been for years for a.d.H.d but I'm wondering if his extreme hyperactivity may have been a symptom of something else. Poor hygene, 0 organization skills, bouts of of hysterical weeping, and behavior such as peeling all the labels off of jars and odd facial tics are some of his problems. Jr. High was a steep decline for me and he seems to be far more out of balance than I was then. Tell the school to stop the blame game and help you get him to a proffessional that will find out WHY he won't go to school!
just wanted to say thanks for the advice. i called his pediatrician and explained what has been going on with him and they took him in right away. she spent quite a bit of time with him asking questions and just listening to what we had to say. she has prescribed lexapro for him for the depression. she also referred us to a phychiatrist & psychologist that are in the very next office building beside hers. they made all the appointments and arrangements and gave him a month off school. she wants to let the medication start working before he goes back, since it has been so traumatizing for him. i also went to his school and spoke to his guidence counsilor. when i explained what was going on with him and why he has been missing so much school, she was more than willing to help. they have made arrangements for him to be home schooled since he's in the iep prog. i explained to them that i had been trying to handle the situation myself up until this point. they have excused all of his absences for the year, so thank god i don't have to worry now about being thrown in jail over this. i just wanted to say thanks and will keep you updated.
Wonderful! I'm so glad you're seeing some light at the end of the tunnel! One thing in your original letter diturbed me though - that was he was a big kid and you might be afraid if him. Has he ever done anything to make this a valid feeling? If so the home schooling sounds problematic. If he hasn't ever really threatened or hurt you don't give him the impression that he holds any power over you this way by letting him know you fear him.
Puberty can screw with a kid's head, but this doesn't sound like just puberty. It does sound like he may be suffering from some sort of mood disorder. The insomnia and flight of ideas does point to bipolar, and since he's so young, his mood cycles may be faster than they are for adults, making it harder to recognize.
I would take him to the doctor and see if he can get assessed.
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