Wednesday, November 12, 2008

You May be his Mother

Perhaps you know a child like Sam.

You may be his mother.

Neighbors, relatives, friends, co-workers, teachers and administrators at school judge you because of his uncontrollable behavior.
You hear them talking behind your back and they all have suggestions.

”She needs to beat that child then he would behave.
He is so out of control.
He told my daughter he would kill her.
All of a sudden he just gets mad.
Sam is always the first one to hit.
He is the most stubborn child I have ever known.”

There will also be positive traits. He may be reading at a sixth grade level in second grade, spend hours building a Lego set, have incredible sensitivity and insight into others character traits at a very young age.

You know he needs help and you begin your treasure hunt for a diagnosis and a cure.
The series of doctor’s visits and phone inquiries to pediatric specialists (neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, your pediatrician, occupational therapists, counselors, child behavior specialists) deepen your wildest fears.

You are first told he has ADHD, agitated depression, Oppositional Defiant Disorder. You are also told your parenting is to blame. Although teachers, school administrators and psychiatrists suggest Dexedrine and Ritalin I first opted to seek help with a homeopath. The remedy lessened Sam's impulsive behaviour but over a short time the hyperactivity, rages and sadness returned.

A Pediatric Neurologist prescribes a sleep deprived EEG to possibly detect seizure activity in his brain. Seizures could be causing his angry outbursts. When no seizure activity is detected the MD prescribes Paxil.

"Your son has agitated depression that is why he is angry and states he wants to die".

The Paxil revs Sam up to the point where he cannot attend school and when I turn my back he runs out of the house and climbs on our roof. The MD switches Sam to Zoloft. The second antidepressant creates the same result.

The Pediatric Neurologist refers us to a child psychiatrist. When I ask about a diagnosis I am told child psychiatrists are not indoctrinated to believe Bipolar Disorder can manifest in minors. I don't know why I feel Sam is Bipolar because no one in our families is diagnosed but the research I have found leads me to feel it in my Mommy gut. I just know he is. And I want someone to help us! I am still told it is my fault as a parent that my son feels and acts the way he does.

The year is 1997. The World Wide Web is a slow moving dinosaur, books are not available to describe this condition in children and every MD specializing in brain disorders admits to me "We know very little about the brain".

next The Long Road to Diagnosis

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