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Young bipolar children

Hi. My son is turning 9 years old next month. He is a beautiful soul, but he suffers with his challenges. He got diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and depression last year. He is under the care of a medical team, and it looks like he may have early on-set bipolar disorder as he has massive mood swings ranging from being calm, to irritable, to extreme anger, to feeling very down and suicidal, to over-excitedness. This can all be in half an hour at times! My husband and I have been trying to get him the proper help since he was 2 1/2 years old. We have done courses to help with his aggressive tantrums and to help him manage his anxiety. We have gone down the alternative therapy track too. His paeditrician has referred us to a child psychiatrist who we are seeing at the beginning of August this year. Our family life is hell to be honest as our son has violent tantrums where I have to hold him down so he doesn't hurt himself, me or his younger sisters. The paeditrician has tried him on different medications but none of them have really stabilised his moods hence us going to the child psychiatrist. I have been unsuccessful with finding a support group for families going through the same thing here in Brisbane. I am wondering if anyone here is also experiencing the same thing. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.
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Avatar universal
Hi, I just wanted to say how incredibly tough this situation must be for you, your son and your family!
I can't bear the thought of this illness within a child, knowing how hard it is for us adults.
It is great that you have had some help with dealing with his aggression, but to be honest you should get a lot more help than you are getting!
You sound exhausted by the stress of constantly fighting for the support you need, which is often the case, especially regarding child mental health.
I am from the UK and over here a child with your son's problems would most likely have care from the Paediatrician, educational pyschologist and support from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. They are kind of like Occupational Therapists that see the child weekly in all different environments, they use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy type methods for children, but they also are great support to the family aswell, acting as advocates and can refer to other people if necessary.
My step son has mental health issues and we got the support above through the Paediatrician. Medication in children helps to a point but they need to learn new ways of coping aswell, which I'm sure you already know..
I would keep harassing as many people as you can and sooner or later somebody has got to listen! School can help with referrals too.
I hope somebody else posts here who is going through the same as you, as they would understand more than me and maybe be able to point you in the right direction.
Look after yourself aswell!
Good Luck! My thoughts are with you!
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585414 tn?1288941302
  Yes bipolar disorder is rare at that age but it can occur. One thing that can be of help in addition to medication (at any age but especially with children) is cognitive behavioral therapy to help find specific coping skills to regulate and manage episodes of anger in an appropriate manner. There should be therapists within that field. You could ask for a referral. This might have some information on support groups in the area:
A child psychiatrist who has a fuller understanding of what is happening and how to appropriately treat it would be of great help as well as childhood onset psychiatric onset psychiatric disabilities can be hard to address and you could discuss some of these ideas as well with them as to how they might work.
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Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your comments. We are now onto our 3rd psychologist, and she is just great. We have been doing the cognitive behavioural therapy for a year now, but the suggestions all 3 psychologists have told us to do to help our son manage his anger are not working. The current psychologist feels that until our son's moods are stabilised, then the process of using these tools are incredibly diminished. She does feel our son understands the tools and is trying very hard, but when the anger is aroused he just cannot control himself, which we agree with. The school has been supportive, but our son doesn't present these behaviours at school. His teacher can see he is very anxious and does talk him through things if the routine is going to change through the day. Our son has facial and some body tics apparently due to the anxiety. But, I often send our son off to school in a bad mood, and then when I pick him and his sister up from school, his body language is out of whack with what he is saying. He is an internaliser. So, a lot of the time when we get into the car straight from school pick up, he can suddenly be hyperactive or be in a bad mood. So, he basically lets it all "hang out" once he is at home. It concerns me that with each passing year, his behaviour gets worse........and his tantrums are more violent (I often get punched, bitten, my hair pulled).......and then I have a child full of remorse and very down to the point he hides and cries. I am hoping greatly the child psychiatrist can be of immense help to us, because this is no way for a child to live.
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Avatar universal
I had a nephew that was like that. Only he had troubles at school too. Things like threatening other children. He had temper tantrums like no other child I've seen. Holes punched in the walls. He spent about a month at a inpatient treatment centre and got put on meds. It helped him a lot.

Now he is a fully functioning adult. He still has his issues, but he is married and drives truck for a living.

The child psychiatrist will know of areas of support so ask the questions. They may even hold a support group through their own clinic.

I hope like my nephew things get easier over time.
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Avatar universal
Thank you for sharing about your nephew. That is wonderful he is able to manage the bipolar disorder. That does give me hope.

Thank you looloo141 for your comments. You are right - I am really exhausted at the moment, and this is one of the reasons I have decided to become a member here on medhelp. I don't talk alot about this to many people at all. But, I do find it hard to reach out to others as I don't like to bother people. But, I am realising that I am beginning to feel rather isolated with my son's issues as I don't know of anyone in our boat. So, while I have been proactive for my son, I now have to be proactive for support for myself and my husband.

Thank you everyone so much again for responding to my question. This has helped me more than you could ever know. Wishing everyone a great day.
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Avatar universal
You are very welcome! Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, but having a child with such difficulties is very hard for people to understand.
You are right you need support, you need to vent and I'm sure there are lots of people on Medhelp going through similar things..
I find it hard to cope with how people react towards a child with mental health problems, they are so judgemental and seem to think that its the parent's fault, that you just have a really naughty kid.
Keep us posted and take care!
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