Bipolar Disorder Community
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709415 tn?1229284553


My son was given the diagnosis of bipolar by a psychiatrist on his first visit.  He has depression, anxiety, panic attacks and hears auditory voices which want him to hurt himself or others.  He has lost the ability to feel the cold and complains of a constant tingling and burning sensation all over.

He has been given ct scans, blood tests, etc when at the emergency room or at his pediatrician.  He is now back at a psychiatric hospital for the 4th time in 5 weeks waiting for a new combination of meds to hopefully work.

I'm still not totally convinced that there isn't a physical cause for this.  Despite his being on 3 different meds so far,  with an accompanying low dose of Zoloft, he still can't feel the cold weather and continues to have the constant burning and tingling sensation.  Should he see a Neurologist, Endocrinologist or someone else? His in-patient psychiatric benefits expired today unfortunately as well.  

I live in Tennessee and could use some sound advice please.  

Thank you.

11 Responses
698408 tn?1256961948
BP is a physical illness that manifests itself in mood.

BTW how old is your son?
709415 tn?1229284553
My son is 14 yrs old.  He hid his depression for about 4 months and then started becoming very withdrawn and would just break down crying from time to time for now reason.  He was having stomach problems and at first  he was leading us to believe that his stomach med, nexium was causing the depression. They switched him to prevacid and the depression continued.  He finally admitted to having felt very depressed for months.

When he first started having his episodes of extreme sadness, he would say that it felt like he already had died inside and that his soul was gone.  He would break down and say he was feeling suicidal, we'd end up at the emergency room, mobile crisis would come and he would then have to go to the psychiatric hospital.

He hasn't been to school in 5 weeks and has social phobia where he doesn't want to be around others.  They tried him on risperdal  for 2 1/2 weeks, which made him have insomnia and visually hallucinate as well.  He then went to someone who prescribed Seroquel.  He was on it a week, during which he once again ended back up at the psych hospital and the doctor there took him off Seroquel and put him on Zyprexa.  The doctor said that to work as an anti-psychotic he would have to give him like 700mgs and he would be in a zombie-like state.

We're in a terrible syndrome.  As you know it can take weeks for meds to start working.  The insurance kind of rushes things to make his stay short along with the fact that my son sugar coats how he's feeling sometimes after he's been there a while.  The time before this was a 10 day stay in which nothing really positive came from it, other than he was kept safe.

He gets released, comes home still hearing voices 24/7 .  They're not always distinguishable , but when they're really bad they drown everything out telling him to hurt himself or anyone else.  The voices are becoming stronger  and his resistance is wearing down.  Just as of last week for the first time, they told him it made them happy to see blood and he started biting his lip.  Then for the first time, (after other non harmful attempts in the past," he used a house key to cut up his arm.  He then ran out of the house and to the shopping center that we live behind. He went into a business and asked for help and then ran out. He then went to a construction site and borrowed one of the worker's cell phones to call the police and tell them where he was.

These episodes usually last 20 to 30 minutes and he says it's like he's outside himself watching and has no control.  Afterwards he's totally coherent and expresses extreme remorse and sorrow. He sees all this going on and is seemingly helpless to do anything about it.

We cannot pinpoint any event or happening in the past that might have triggered this specifically.  There is a history on his mother's side of this however and his half brother is very bipolar.  His mother is as well, but not to as great a degree.

Does his symptoms seem typical to you out there?  

And has anyone else experienced the in and out of the hospital syndrome while waiting for meds to work if indeed they ever will?

698408 tn?1256961948
Yes the meds do eventually work. Unfortunately its not always as simple as take pill A and you will feel better. Sometimes pill B and C are needed as well as Therapy. Sometimes pill A is totally wrong.

Above all BP is manageable. Probably your son has always had this illness but it has only just manifested itself. Maybe because of changes in his body, as he is at a crucial developmental stage.

Also it does sound familiar. He could be rapid cycling.

The best advice I can give you is to educate yourself about BP. Read everything you can get your hands on. There are also some very good websites out there in cyber world with sound information. I recommend going for the ones that are associated with a University or something reputable. Not sure about personal blogs. I would stay away from them.

It is important to keep him safe. The suicidal tendencies are hard to control in ones self. Don't leave him on his own when he comes out of hospital. Re assure him and tell him you love him no matter what. He needs your support. Also I would grill his docs for information and the reasons they put him on certain meds, what is the prognosis etc etc. Don't let doctors bamboozle you with technical terminology. Keep asking questions.

My son also became suicidal at 14 and subsequently was diagnosed with OCD and depression. It's heart breaking when your child says they don't want to live anymore. We got my son through it eventually but it took time and a lot of perseverance on my part. I was like a dog with a bone. I wouldn't let it go until I knew he was receiving the best possible care.

Sorry if I seem to be rambling. I get quite passionate when it come s to caring for the mental well-being of our children.
709415 tn?1229284553
Thank you so much for the information and encouragement.  

Unfortunately, when my son comes home he has to stay alone quite a bit.  I have missed a half a month's pay from days I've taken off to meet with doctors, therapists, etc.  His mom and I are divorced and most of her time is taken up with her 9 month old baby and she has recently lost her job.  She really doesn't have a positive effect on him.  

My elderly mother and sister live across the street, but are afraid that they can't handle him if he has an episode.  My sister witnessed one where I was having to hold my son down while 911 was called and is now fearful of that occurring.  He was going for a knife in a drawer. (They have all since been locked up.)

On top of that, I'm a UPS drive and having to work long hours during this holiday season.  So as you see, I'm at wits end.  

On a positive note, my son and I are very close and have a great relationship.  He knows I love him and will stand beside him through thick and thin. I am very supportive and try to reinforce positive affirmations and visualizations.  The voices just are overpowering him at this point. =(

I'm looking into residential care facilities in which he would live there, catch up on his schooling and have close monitoring of his meds.  I'm just getting underway in seeing if I can find any supplemental insurance that can make this possible.  As I stated earlier, ours just ran out of in stay hospitalization.  

I feel so helpless and it seems like just when i see a ray of hope, it all goes up in smoke.  I"m praying harder than I ever have, without God I don't think I could hold up through all this.

If only I can get him into a place that gives quality care until they figure out the right combination for his meds.  They've set a tentative release date for Monday.  Unless something drastic changes between now and then, I really don' t think he's safe to be home.  I'm going to speak with his therapist when I visit with him tomorrow.

It's so sad, he's spent Halloween in the psychiatric hospital, he was there for Thanksgiving, and might be in one for Christmas as well.

Prior to 5 weeks ago, I can't remember the last time I even had to call him down for anything. He's kind, sensitive, caring polite and now the victim of all this craziness that has turned our lives upside down.

One last thing I might share....  He told me the other day that when he gets better and is of age, he wants to go into the mental health field and become a psychiatrist  so that he might help others who are need of help.  That really warmed my heart. =)

698408 tn?1256961948
There is a wonderful book on the market called "An Unquiet Mind" by Kay Jamieson who has BP 1 and has dedicated her life to research into mood disorders. She is a pdoc and writes about her experiences with the illness not as a clinician. Your son might like to read it.

You sound like a great dad! I wish mine had been as loving and caring as you are.

Take heart that a solution will come. God moves mountains for us even if we sometimes think he's a bit slow on the uptake.
505907 tn?1258372940
  Wow. I just wanted to tell you that many of us are in similar situations - as hard as that may be to believe. I'm so touched that you are taking such great lengths to get the right answer for your kid. My 12 year old is about to get diagnosed (we're expecting ADHD, OCD, and possible BP) in a week and has also told me many times he wants to be in the medical profession. Our children are the most difficult and the most surprising. Hang in there.
709415 tn?1229284553
Thank you for your encouragement as well.  And I do hope things turn out okay for your son as well.  

I'm finding there to be a shortage of good child psychiatrists.  When my son was discharged initially from the hospital, they had his first after care appt. set up for 2 weeks later.  He had just been prescribed new medication, this was absurd!  So technically he was still under the care of the Hospital psychiatrist.  He'd start having side effects, I'd call and leave a message and hardly ever received a timely response within a days time.  I have made my dissatisfaction VERY known to the hospital.

After being released once again from his 3rd stay on December the 5th, his after care was set up for Jan 15th, This was absurd!  He was hearing voices that were suggesting homicidal actions and he was supposed to wait weeks for med management adjustment!!!  I think not.

I contacted the head of our local mental health association and plead our case.  He in turn got in touch with the head honcho in charge of this hospital's outpatient services. I was wanting an appt with one particular Doctor who is know for his expertise in adolescent medication management.  I was initially told the first thing available would be an intake evaluation on Jan. 8th, once again, not soon enough. So the head honcho placed a call and got us an appointment for this coming Tues. December the 16th.  I'm so pleased. In talking with this Doctor's secretary, they really had to jockey their schedule all around to accommodate us.

Granted it's in another city about 40 miles away at another clinic he serves, but as I told this gentlemen, " I'd travel to Hong Kong if need be to get my son GOOD aftercare treatment.

But the fact remains the same. How many parents have been in this same boat?  Their child is having severe symptoms that are a danger to their selves and others and they are being told they have to wait weeks for an appointment.

And if you are new to this ballgame, Heaven forbid.  Your 2 week wait might get you in to see a quack. We encountered this. My son's first aftercare psychiatrist that the hospital set him up with had a terrible reputation.  3 different people within the mental health industry had negative reviews of this man I found out after our  first visit. He was known to mix up the biggest cocktail in town and have his patients like walking zombies.  This wasted a week's time from his awful medication management.

I shutter to think of some of the horror stories that might exist out there with some even loosing their kids to suicide due to situations of this nature. I think one of the problems is that so many parents don't care and this in turn affects the care that the kids receive.  One of my son's therapist commented on how it was refreshing to actually deal with parents who really care about their child. I appreciate their compliment, but the reality of this is just terrible.

There needs to be more insistence of accountability for these institutions. Every child on this planet is of value and deserves TIMELY competent treatment!!!

607502 tn?1288251140
Is not just kids - the state of mental health care is a global problem compounded by family doctors and GP's being first line care and prescribing based on little knowledge and less skill in many cases.  Many of them mean well but meaning well does not mean prescribing well.

I think every person on this planet deserves competent treatment.

There is shortage of good psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists full stop.  Child or otherwise.

However I see you live in the USA and your medical system is a profit business now and concerns like patient care and adequate treatment come second to profit in most cases - what social services you have left are so under resourced and under staffed that they are on the verge of collapse and mental hospital beds are hard to come by unless wealthy.  The US health care system does not so much need treatment as a total rebuild from the ground up - people are dying every day due to it.

That being said for those of us in countries with socialised medical systems its not remotely perfect either - waiting weeks for appointments is not unusual and it took me 6 months to find a private pdoc but then again I am in a smaller city and you cant grow them on trees - its 10 years study here to be a psychiatrist

I really commend you for the care you are showing your son and the desire to help him, not all families are this supportive.
Avatar universal
I am also from Tennessee but reside in Alabama now. Hello Neighbor!!! Always remember, you are not alone on this journey. I just found out 3 days ago I am bipolar and suffer from Sleep Apnea. It did not surprise me because I have known for the last 9-10 years there was something wrong (crying for no reason, depressed, nervous, stressed out, sore all over, although I do not hear voices)  but I could not put my finger on it and never went to seek out professional help. Everyone around me already saw the changes in me, but I did not. I thought it was everyone else, when  in reality it was me. I went to see a wonderful therapist who is now helping me overcome my illness. I am taking it one day at a time by taking Wellbutrin for my overall depressed state as well as it helping me to quit smoking and I am also taking Trazodone to help me sleep. I have severe insomnia and the Trazodone works wonders. Good luck to you and your son.....you both can beat this, it just takes a little time and  A LOT of patience and LOVE!!! Hang in there!!!
607502 tn?1288251140
Hearing Voices (aural hallucinations) and Delusions are not something everyone gets - they are often symptoms of severe mania and or psychotic symptoms but not exclusively.

For example I tend to hear things when I get manic, normally just voices whispering and odd sounds - but for some people it can be terrifyingly real and far more dangerous.

Welcome to the site by the way, isnt it nice to finally have a diagnosis and a way forward, sounds like you have a good treatment plan there but make sure your psychiatrist discusses a mood stabiliser - for many Bipolars Anti Depressants without a corresponding mood stabiliser can cause serious problems.
709415 tn?1229284553
"Hi" right back at ya neighbor! =)

Thanks for your encouragement and I do wish you the same.  I'm so glad to see that you are getting help and very happy that you have found a good therapist .  That is so crucial! And with the meds helping, it sounds like you're on the right track!  :)

Monkeyc was right on the money about the voices, as not everyone will experience them, thank goodness.  My son didn't let anyone know for months what was going on and by that time they kind of had taken on a personality of their own,so to speak. He currently hears them 24/7 and they say and tell him to do terrible things.  Most of the time he doesn't act on them, but there are episodes when they overtake him and it gets scary. He is on some new meds that might just do the trick, so please keep him in your prayers.

As you said, "we are not alone on this journey" and that speaks volumes!  Having other people in your corner who can relate to the ups and downs that you're going through and offer you encouragement is priceless.  I'm so thankful to have found this site.

May you continue to get better each and every day my friend! =)
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