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ADHD Parents Together
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ADHD and Bipolar diagnoses 10yr -10 month boy

I'm new here and this is my first post. I have read many and have found postings very helpful. We recently have been given a diagnosis of Bipolar to the addition of ADHD with our oldest son. Medication prescribed is Adderall XR 20MG (morning) and Lithium Carbonate 450 ER (night). After 4 nights of half doses and 5 days full dose only small results ah ha moments have occurred. Still seeing impulsive behavior and inappropriate behavior. I'm not familiar with Bipolar, he was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 6. It's been a rough, rough road! We also have a 7 year old son and the hostility in the home especially for him is overwhelming and mimicking behavior is becoming an issue . If anyone has any advice on what changes we should be seeing adding the Lithium, or any advice at all, I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you!

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Welcome EMOB and HUGS! My daughter will be 12 later this month and was diagnosed with bipolar in August and then ADHD inattentive in September. She has been on Abilify for the bipolar and Concerta for the ADHD. Her symptoms for the bipolar were a lot of mania and then depression. Both of the drugs have been a godsend. We have a great team, a psychiatric pediatric NP, a family therapist, and she sees two other therapists individually. We also have the counselors at school, her teachers, etc. involved. She just recently started her IEP, which is working really, really well for her. Her bipolar symptoms are cycles of mania with depression. Her mania/depression was pretty well controlled until December when she started rapid cycling, so we add to increase the Abilify. She's doing pretty well right now! I took away the internet completely. She doesn't have a phone at all or any access to the internet. She was going dark places.

Honestly though, we also got into therapy, both family and individual (yes, both of us). Therapy has been the most helpful thing we have done, period. At the beginning I told my daughter that she had to DECIDE whether she waned to get better or not. I can give her all the meds in the world, but unless she decided she wanted to be better, it wasn't going to work. At first she told me she didn't want to get better, that she liked being mentally ill and sad. Straight up, her words. I said, Ok, but you're still going. And we went and we went again. And I told her, you have to make a decision like EVERYONE ELSE IN THIS WORLD about how you want your life to be and I don't believe that you want to feel like this for the rest of your life. Her counselor's were great and told her the same thing. And oh yes, there was frustration and yelling and tears from both of us.

And then she made a decision. I've posted this before. I know she made a decision because she started breaking down in therapy and started changing. And then (dammit), I had to change too. And it is so ridiculously hard and it's still hard (just yesterday we had another breakdown/breakthrough). But for the past three months she smiles more, we talk (ad naseum), we do things together. She still gets mania, she still has all kinds of issues that we have to face. But we're changing and getting better together.

Yes, I worry about her future. Hell, I worry about tomorrow and whether or not I'm going to get the phone call from school that she can't stay anymore because of her anxiety. But it's working. I'm grateful that we got the diagnoses while she was young so that we can work on it, the meds, school, her life, what she loves, what she doesn't love...

You can do this, I know you can, because in a million years, I never saw this coming and I'm doing it, just one day at a time, sometimes just five minutes at a time. Just like everyone else here!

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Camos1985- Thank-you for sharing your personal journey with this new mom, I know she will find comfort, even knowing about your struggles. Please don't worry you daughter will be kicked out of school . By Federal law they must have a Free and appropriate place for her to learn, that is, least restrictive... So you can rest assure for this. I have worked with children with way worse needs and they are still in public school.

You are an amazing mother and your daughter is SO lucky to have you, even on your worse day..

Thanks...

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Thank you so much for your insight and honesty! We also are working with a therapist/doc group (just finished initial exploration/diagnosis phase). His first session with the therapist is next Monday. The following week with the doc for med check. Fingers crossed!

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Everything crossed... just not my eyes.. Take care, please keep us posted. We will be thinking about you guys.

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EMOB- Welcome to the group!! We are wonderful here and very supportive. I have a 12 year old son who has ADHD. I can't talk about Lithium, because I have no experience with this medication. But I can say we spent 2-3 years on the wrong (single dose) of ADHD medication and it "seemed" not right. We then started working with a Pediatric Psychiatrist and started to find the "perfect" dose and now when he is on the medication he is almost normal ( the impulsive behavior stops, no excessive talking, he can sit still and learn).

I never imagined we would have to take 2 different types of medication, but once I learned 1 was for impulse control and 1 is for focus. Now we have great success.

So... all I can say is that when it works... it really works... The Specialist you are working with are very familiar with changing doses to "get it right"... Also as your child grows it will have to be adjusted.

I agree with camos1985 medication is a godsent!! I also second the therapy.. it helps me because we do it together. I also don't have to be blamed for everything.. We can talk about what he needs to change.

Best of luck with your child. We are here for you if we can help. This is a long tiring journey, but we all love our kids- we are just of a different road when raising them.

Reach out if you need us.

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Thank you! Been there, done that too! If I might ask, what meds/dose is he taking now?

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I have a grandson think is ADHD/bipolar. We had to be careful with stimulant ADHD medications. We also had to add risperidone for down to do with the anger. We also see a behavioral counselor to try to teach him to deal with things. Not easy.

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Thank you for sharing. It may take some time to find the right medication and that works for your child. It will be important to pay close attention, follow the prescription, and write everything down so that you can report things to the doctor. I love the idea of doing family therapy, as these things impact the entire family system. It sounds like your home life is very stressful. You may also get some great suggestions from your therapist. Does ADHA or mental illness run in your family or your husbands family? Are you considering testing for special education/IEP?

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Thank you for your input. Therapy session today. Need to discuss med situation. He is for sure happier but it's kind of a different type happy, almost goofy and a different type of annoying. Lots more hugs though. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing yet.

Both hubby and I have ADD (we're old school diagnosed, lol). Also, mild depression. No Bipolar in the family as far as we know. He had an IEP but was released and dropped to RTI. Currently trying to get OHI under IEP. Unfortunately that is all he qualifies at this time with. Hoping all is a go for the start of the next school year as he is entering middle school. Fingers crossed!

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Therapy went well. We discussed meds and what we've been seeing on this combo. She suggested taking him off Adderall this Friday-Tuesday and upping Lithium dose to 1 1/2 pills to see if anything changes. Doc visit is 1:30 on Tuesday. Hoping to see some progress.

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