My 14 year old daughter's counselor has just suggested the possibility to me that my daughter suffers from bipolar disorder. I am not sure how to handle this info. My daughter is on Prozac at the moment for depression and I know that antidepressants aren't indicated for bipolar disorder. But it's just a possibility at the moment. The Prozac has helped immensely as far as taking away the hostile, angry, threatening behavior that my daughter has displayed in the past.
I bought a book about bipolar disorder that I'm going to read. But it seems to me there are so many overlapping symptoms between various problems that it would be very difficult to determine exactly what the real problems are. I've thought my daughter had ADD since she was young. Then I've read about different personality disorders and she fits rather well into a few categories of those.
My daughter's psychiatrist just keeps appts. very short and doesn't want to hear much from me. He just prescribes the Prozac basically. It seems to me there should be alot of communication between the counselor and the psychiatrist.
The counselor mentioned the possibility of antipsychotics to me. The thought of putting my daughter on those scares me. How does anyone ever decide for sure whether trying the antipsychotics is a good choice? It would mean taking her off the Prozac which has helped her in other ways also.
I am alone in making this decision as a single mom. My family, as much as they do help me out, doesn't seem to think that my daughter has any sort of problem other than behavioral issues. Those they tend to blame my parenting on - "you should be stricter," "you should give more consequences," etc. They tend to think that my daughter's problems at school are due to lack of motivation since she is very smart. My daughter's friends' parents think I'm too strict!!! NOone understands what thinks are like except my daughter's counselor - thank goodness she does! But it would help to have a 2nd opinion sometimes!
Do you have any advice on how to deal with all this?
Thankyou from a very, stressed out, concerned mom.
You are absolutely correct. Your counselor and psychiatrist should be in regular contact, particularly given the complex diagnostic issues with your daughter. So the best advice I can give to you is for you to INSIST on a 3-way consult where you and they chat for at least 30 minutes. If the psychiatrist is unwilling to do this, get another psychiatrist immediately. That refusal would suggest that your daughter is not getting the care she deserves.
Be sure to read up on bipolar disorders prior to that meeting. I can tell you that SSRI meds such as Prozac rarely, if ever, work well with bipolar disorders. Usually they make things worse, often even setting off full-blown manic episodes. So your daughter's case requires the careful professional thought and dialogue of professionals, and not the unprofessional (impolite and arrogant?) guesses of amateurs, no matter how well-intended. Tell these folks as nicely as you can that when you need their advice, you'll ask for it. Be less nice if you must do that a second time.
Take care and please keep us posted.
Dr. Mike Bradley
I am in a very similar situation to you. My daughter has always had emotional problems. We've been to counselor after counselor. She is now on stimulants for adhd and the counselor is now suggesting a psych evaluation. I am not a fan of medication, but how does one know if it is really necessary or not. As parents, we are completely vulnerable as we have no one to turn to except a Dr. and there are good and bad ones. We are putting our children's lives in their hands. My daughter suffers from extreme anger outbursts and often has a very difficult time controlling her emotions. She gets anxious and nervous, sad, etc. When I read Dr. Bradley's book, many of these symptoms he indicates are normal teenage behavior. So what do we do? My family also criticizes my parenting and attributes many of my daughter's problems to behavior issues and bad parenting on my part. Her friends also complain, as does she, about me being too strict. I know my child and I must keep these boundaries in place for her.
I am interested in what you decided to do with your situation.