My son just turned 6 and has a 9 yr old brother and a 7 month old sister. He adores his sister, but Im wondering if any of the behavior he has been exhibiting lately is related to her birth. He has been washing his hands incessantly but wont dry it,if the towel has touched his penis. He refuses to hold his penis when he pees (this has been going on since before his sister was born) because he says its dirty (germ dirty). He has no problems with me bathing him (and his penis), but he wont wash it himself (he usually showers by himself, but the past 3 baths were with his sister (novelty of bathing in the tub with a sibling). He has been extremely moody. One minute he is at the top of the world and the next minute he is very angry at whomever has "wronged" him at that particular time (me, my husband, his brother, his cousin, etc). I hug him and reassure him when he feels wronged and tell him to take a bit of time to himself but he says that he doesnt know why he is so angry and upset (crying). Usually, after some "alone" time, he is more at an even keel, but then something else might set him off. At some point every day he is in a "mood". I should also tell you that he is extremely bright. He taught himself to read at 4 yrs old. he is very talented as an artist and has recently written 2 stories (fruits vs. vegetables in soccer and fruit vs. meats in bowling) - things that a 5 yr old doesnt normally write. I am having him evaluated for giftedness within the next month to see whether he should move to 2nd grade vs being in first grade (he just graduated kindergarten). Im thinking that the hand washing and penis non-touching thing is a phase. but the moodiness concerns me as there is depression on both sides of the family (on the paternal side it is medicated with Zoloft and/or paxil). Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
You are correct in wondering about the presence of a mood disorder. The positive family history places your son in the at-risk category for displaying such a condition, and it may well be that you are witnessing the signs of a juvenile-onset mood disorder. There is no need to seek immediate help and it would be prudent to wait a few moinths and see if the symptom picture changes. You are handling the situation well. If your son continues with these symptoms or the situation worsens, arrange an evaluation with a child psychologist or psychiatrist. The fear of contamination he displays in relation to touching his penis may be a transitory thing or may be the sign of obsessive-compulsive syndrome. Is there a family history of anxiety disorder as well as mood disorder? Both are bilogically-based emotional disorders, so genetis factors are very important.
His aunt takes ATIVAN and ZOLOFT - the ativan when she gets panick attacks and the zoloft for general depression. His uncle takes paxil and has been on and off it for years. His maternal side (my mother and grandmother) are anxious in general but nothing has been diagnosed. I have recently weaned myself off of Wellbutrin as I was taking it after giving birth this pregnancy and when I gave birth to my 6 yr old I took it for a few months after childbirth also. Does that help?
God forbid, but you may also inquire about anyone touching him funny. To be so adverse to his own organ (not even washing his penis- sort of disassociating with it), feeling dirty, doing obsessive things ( a way to feel in control) and the mood swings are also symptoms of being violated. Perhaps another kid at school? Hopefully just a long shot, but I've read about tons of kids with these symptoms that had been touched inapropriately.
Well this sounds like school may have effected him.
Its a logn shot but its possible that they were talking about hygene and he got scared of the things that could happen to him if he didnt have good hygene.
Your additional information regarding medication suggests that there is a family history of anxiety as wella s depression. Now this does not in and of itself mean that your son is displaying an anxiety disorder, but it merits consideration.
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