from Cupertino, CA

My son, 16, is bipolar.  Starting in kindergarten, we saw him disintegrate before our eyes; he became suicidal, explosive, impulsive, etc.  Many medications and doctors were tried and he only worsened.  Then when he was in third grade, I mentioned to his new psychiatrist that his behavior reminded me of my dad, who was never diagnosed but behaved in a classic manic depressive fashion.  Bingo!  That doctor really listened to me, and from then, on we started making progress.  Others would tell me that bipolar disorder is rare in children and wouldn't believe my son had it.  Even when my son was in a therapeutic school, his counselor discounted my belief that he was bipolar.

Looking back, what could have been done at the time to improve the situation? Treatment, medication, a different approach, or understanding from others around you?

I would've liked for some of the previous doctors to listen to me and also take a health history from me and my husband.  I have found out that mood disorders run in my dad's side of the family.  Also, there just wasn't a lot of info about mood disorders/bipolar disorder and children period. Also, as mentioned in the program, it would be good to educate the public about this disorder in children.  As parents, we are blamed for our kids' erratic and destructive behavior.  It makes us feel very isolated and shunned.  Plus, we are already dealing with exhaustion from dealing with our kids.   

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