Saturday, October 22, 2005

Psych Eval.

I can't seem to organize my thoughts from last Wednesday's meeting. I met with the DU psychologists to go over the results of The Kid's evaluation. The important things we found out boil down to the following bullet points (I get all technical when I don't know what to say):

  • The Kid is really intelligent
  • The Kid's behaviors are consistent (VERY consistent) with ADHD
  • The Kid's behaviors and non-responsiveness to ADHD meds indicate a mood disorder like bipolar disorder

I'm not particularly frightened of the bipolar diagnosis, particularly because my boss has a bipolar son who is a STAR. It's not a death sentence. What scares me is the drugs. Lithium, anyone? YIKES! I haven't had the chance to talk to the Psychiatrist yet, but she had mentioned that our next step after Adderall would be mood disorder drugs. Because I didn't know The Kid's father for a very long time (about a month), I don't know his history. I do know that he was extremely charming, had a quick mind and was very high-energy and with hindsight can see either ADHD or bipolar attributes. I don't know about either of those things in my family history, although my dad's side has a history of alcoholism (hello, IRISH!), and who knows what they were self-medicating, although being a drinker doesn't mean that you have mental disorder other than being pre-disposed to addiction.

I need to read up about bipolar in children. I was skeptical at first, when they mentioned it. The Kid doesn't get depressed, so what I know of bipolar disorder is that there are periods of mania followed by periods of depression. Apparently, it isn't that simple when it presents in children. The one website I have counted on through this whole time, NIMH, lists attributes here. On the website, they list the manic behaviors:

  • Severe changes in mood, either extremely irritable or overly silly and elated
  • Overly-inflated self-esteem; grandiosity
  • Increased energy
  • Decreased need for sleep, ability to go with very little or no sleep for days without tiring
  • Increased talking, talks too much, too fast; changes topics too quickly; cannot be interrupted
  • Distractibility, attention moves constantly from one thing to the next
  • Hypersexuality, increased sexual thoughts, feelings, or behaviors; use of explicit sexual language
  • Increased goal-directed activity or physical agitation
  • Disregard of risk, excessive involvement in risky behaviors or activities

I am not convinced. Maybe some of these things he is too young to even show (hypersexuality, for example), but I don't see the grandiosity... But yes, he gets angry. Yes, he had never been a sleeper until he passes out, and it has taken a great deal of work on my part to get bedtime down. Disregard of risk? Just ask my mom, who last year found him climbing on the outside of a third-floor balcony at a condo we had rented for a weekend-mountain getaway.

As far as the depression:

  • Persistent sad or irritable mood
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Significant change in appetite or body weight
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Physical agitation or slowing
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

I don't see these... He doesn't get sad. Irritable, I suppose, yes. I just don't know. My boss mentioned that when his son was first diagnosed, he didn't believe it. His mother had been a classic manic-depressive. My boss told me that what he hates more than anything is when furniture is moved in his house. His mom always rearranged the furniture at home when she would start on a manic kick. He knows bipolar disorder, was raised by it and is now raising it. His son is 18, has overcome considerable odds and by all accounts will be a successful adult. At any rate, my boss was skeptical that his son's behavior was being put under the same umbrella as his mother's. He described to me a few more things that his son showed early on:

  • Need for "justice" and would lose it if he felt that something was "unfair"
  • Inability to distinguish between adults and children, in realms of familiarity and in discipline (see above, it was unfair that adults could do something he couldn't)
  • Moodiness, turning into volitile tantrums
  • Upset over imperfection (beat himself up for messing up)

So, it's all very interesting. They had me fill out another behavior survey, and I suppose I'll be hearing more about their verdict as they complete the report, which I should get the week of Nov. 7th.

On a total other, and way fun, note: The Kid and I had a pumpkin extravaganza last night. I had a pie pumkin and as yesterday was relatively cool, I decided it was okay to have the oven on for a few hours. I baked the pumpkin so that I could make one of my favorite cookie recipes (yummy, cakey pumpkin cookies that are really good for breakfast!!). I looked on line to find a recipe for pumkin bread or something else I could make with pumpkin, and came across this recipe for eyeball cupcakes. I just HAD to make them, even though they have no pumpkin in them. I think they came out pretty well, although they look nothing like the pictures... The Kid and I had a blast making them and licking our fingers while icing the cupcakes! I then invented a truly amazing side dish, mashed pumpkin and potato, w/ butter, salt, pepper and real maple syrum. Oh. My. God. It was so unbelieveably delish. I really should cook with The Kid more often, we had a blast with the pumpkin, and now we get to enjoy our spoils!!!


yer friend jess said...

My brother was diagnosed as bi-polar as well as ADHD. He does not identify with these labels. He has been able to get himself off of medication. This was really difficult for him to do, because the psychiatrists dissapproved. It is through seeing his roller coaster ride with medication and psychiatrists that I find myself saddened when I hear of another person who is being put on the track. I know that everyone has different needs and experiences.
I found these book titles that might be helpful-

The Bi-polar Child
Dimitri Papolos

Bipolar disorders-a Guide to helping Children and Adolescents
Mitze Waltz

Lithium: What You Should Know
Daniel Eshum

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