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Avatar universal

Antisocial Personality Disorder 5 y.o.

I strongly believe, after some research and years of experience with my adoptive child (i am actually the grandparent who adopted her) is sociopathic.  She has no remorse, intentionally gets in trouble whether she gets attention for it or not, drives me to the brink as everything is a competition that she must win regardless of her punishment.  Rewards and punishments do not work! The more exciting the better.  She looks me straight in the eye and lies profusely. She tears up her toys into pieces when angry, and boy can she get angry... to the point of shaking or as cool and calm and collect as can be.  

The worse part is her charm.  It is so sickeningly sweet and scarey at times.  Right in the middle of being in trouble she switches it on, smiles and laughs. It's very odd. The worse part is she reminds me so much of that little girl in "The Bad Seed". She commits an offense then sings and plays with glee after having been punished.  It is a daily event and I now realize that to feed into anything that gets her adrenaline pumping is the worse thing I can do.  She is no way a hyper child.  She has a great attention span.  She is not add/adhd. She was neglected and abused by my daughter and those she was left with at a very early age.  My daughter, the biological mother of this child, is a drug addict and most like sociopathic herself. She had 3 children, basically sold the other 2 before I could get to them.  In addition my biological mother is "insane" and alcaholic and was institutionalized when I was 9.  She also was adopted at birth. She, to this day also has no conscience or remorse and is also very manipulative just as this 5 y.o. child of mine.  I am no doctor, but I am certain that my child is a sociopath.  

In addition she is very mature and intelligent, can stand in a corner for up an entire day without moving (this was not done by me).  She can take any punishment, lose any toys or rights without a bat of an eye, but gets you back later.  I read where biologically, the problem may be a need for them to higher their adrenaline (thrill seeking) and dopamine does this... how do I lower her dopamine level while increasing the serotonin and norepinephrine levels?  I don't want her on meds, that day will surely come soon enough, but for now she is 5 and I need to be able to teach her how to cope in society regardless of this condition.  And, I need to be able to cope myself.  Any leads to diet help, support groups, information, treatment and parenting skills for parents of sociopathic/antisocial disordered children would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you. Pat
4 Responses
242606 tn?1243786248
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Dear Pat,

The very early years of a child's development are crucial. Good parenting in the first couple of years lays the foundation for trust and security. When children receive inadequate parenting during their early years, they are severely compromised in their ability to trust other people, to let themselves be dependent on others, to experience happiness and satisfaction.

Your granddaughter has had a difficult beginning to her life, and she will require a significant degree of help. She appears to display an attachment disorder - i.e., a deficit in the ability to form trusting relationships with others, particularly with those in a parenting role. It'll be important for her to receive professional services, and for you to avail yourself of such help as well. You are facing a daunting task, and you are correct in seeing the need for some support. Please, as quickly as you can, get to a pediatric mental health professional. That person can both provide direct therapeutic services for your granddaughter and arrange the types of supports you'll need. One significant feature of help will be to develop a plan for managing the behavior within the home.

It's unusual to consider medication for a child so young, but it's not unheard of by any means. Part of the mental health evaluation can be directed toward consideration of whether pharmacological treatment should be a componenent of the intervention package.

Try not to get caught up in adjectives like antisocial or sociopathic - those are scary words, lead to pessimism and, in any case, are not appropriate to apply to a five-year-old. Try to focus on the behavior, positive and negative, and respond to it with a reasonable, systematic plan.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your response doctor.  I should probably add that I am a nurse who has worked extensively with mentally retarded children and adults, and also within the prison system.  I have already been through this with my daughters who are grown and my biological mother... these problems have encompassed most of my life.  I, too, hate to apply such terms as sociopathic to my grandaughter, but after a life time of this I just can't afford to pull any punches where this child is concerned.  I have lost 2 children to drugs and alcahol and I simply want this child to have a chance and honestly facing this seems to me to be the best route for my daughter/grandaughter.  I cannot sugar coat it as I did with my other children and no, I too am not in favor of pharmacology, but am still interested in finding diets that may apply to this disorder.  Thanks again, Pat
242606 tn?1243786248
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Dear Pat,

I certainly don't want to encourage you to go down a path that will be fruitless. I know of no dietary approach that will make any appreciable change in a child who displays attachment disorder. The brain chemicals you mentioned, all neurotransmitters, can be altered, but chiefly via prescription antidepressants and anxiolytics.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your response doctor.  I should probably add that I am a nurse who has worked extensively with mentally retarded children and adults, and also within the prison system.  I have already been through this with my daughters who are grown and my biological mother... these problems have encompassed most of my life.  I, too, hate to apply such terms as sociopathic to my grandaughter, but after a life time of this I just can't afford to pull any punches where this child is concerned.  I have lost 2 children to drugs and alcahol and I simply want this child to have a chance and honestly facing this seems to me to be the best route for my daughter/grandaughter.  I cannot sugar coat it as I did with my other children and no, I too am not in favor of pharmacology, but am still interested in finding diets that may apply to this disorder.  Thanks again, Pat
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