My son has tried all sorts of medications, the first process with our now five year old son was at age 2 to start figuring out what would assist him in sleeping. Never having slept through the night and being up for hours on end unable to slow his brain down to sleep, we were reluctant to take on any pediatric diagnosis without first getting him ample sleep. Any human being would be aggressive, irritable and slightly off with lack of sleep for days, but this child had gone all of his life with lack of sleep.
The first step was to try melatonin, a natural remedy for sleep problems but it only worked short term. It seems my five year old son, Aj, is able to metabolize things quicker than your average child. After melatonin was unable to work for sleep, we were suggested to try Benedryl, well that worked for a few days but never worked consistently and of course this wasn’t something we wanted our son to live on for sleep. The last medication used to assist in sleep was clonidine, this is an adult hyper tension medication that he took at a dose of .5 mg at first and eventually increased it a couple of times through out the years he was on it. Clonidine did not work consistently either, there was something about Aj that the pediatrician was missing and so we went off to see a counselor.
After seeing counselor & having the counselor work with us on parenting techniques to ensure that Aj’s behavior was not a learned behavior through lack in parenting, the counselor had advised that Aj may indeed be ADHD, although we are leaning towards bipolar, so let’s try something called intuniv. Aj was placed on intuniv in June 2011 at 2mg. Just recently the pediatric psychiatrist increased the intuniv to 3mg and our little boy went from being somewhat controllable to being irritable, aggressive and just flat out angry all of the time. Aj started seeing things that were not there, he started being consistently irritable and any small thing would set him off.
I am not talking about a boy who is getting set off by instigation’s from siblings or the word no or not getting whatever it is he wants, Aj was flat out irritable and explosive over almost anything, even an odd look would set him off from time to time. We knew increasing the intuniv was a horrible idea and could not wait for the remaining 3 weeks to pass so we could see the pediatric psychiatrist again. Thankfully we went into the pyschatrist’s office and I lost my cool.
Usually a strong woman, I do break down in tears, especially when I have known for many years that my son quite possibly may be bipolar. Supposedly bipolar is a less common thing but it runs so heavy in my family and I know many diagnosed with it whom I am not related to that to believe it’s a rare condition just didn’t make sense to me. Thankfully my tears, my pleading to help my son worked!
Aj shows enough signs of children bipolar, a diagnosis not fully certain yet for not many children are diagnosed with bipolar at such a young age, but the psychiatrist is sure enough to try out a mood stabilizer medication called Risperdal. So we worked all last week on weaning Aj off of intuniv, which was close to a nightmare. Aj has been so extremely hyper that we can not contain him, no longer possible to ride in the car my week had been pretty challenging.
I feel so bad for Aj, but at the same time weaning him off of intuniv made us see that the intuniv was truly the wrong medication for him. We have had to deal with Aj’s energy level increased and him not being able to sleep until close to 12am each night, but during the daytime hours he has found his sense of humor again and you can joke with him. I even snuck a couple of hugs from him without being hit or pushed away. Although the week was trying, the positives were amazing. He clearly has bipolar or some condition that doesn’t allow him to lead a life that would be fulfilling at this time without medication but for now, I am happy that he is being taken off of the medication that made him lose the sense of humor and ability to love his family, although Aj had never been the loving, huggy dovey sort of child, he used to at least tolerate nice words from us before ever having been on medication.
I started rispderal for him last night … an update will come once I weighed the pros and cons from this medication. I am nervous, I am sad but hopeful about having a bipolar diagnosis, you see these days you can’t seem to find the right counseling and parental advice without having a clear label on your child; which is sad and certainly says something about the society we live in.