About our Daughter

I am mother to four wonderful daughters, ages 17, 19, 21, and 23, and wife to the greatest husband on earth. God has given us a special child to raise one who was diagnosed with early-onset bipolar disorder at the age of seven, though she showed signs of it from the age of fifteen months. She also has ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder (sensory seeking), Dyslexia, and Non-Verbal Learning Disorder-NOS, all typical comorbidities for a bipolar child. In spite of the trials, she enjoys lacrosse, running (finished her first marathon in October of 2014!), and reading and writing her own books. I will share with you the many joys and sorrows we have faced and will face in the future with the hope that you may find better understanding about this mental illness caused by both chemical and structural abnormalities in the brain. I desire that you will be encouraged by this blog if you are also dealing with a bipolar child. Thank you for reading and sharing in our journey.

How Did You Know She Was Bipolar So Young?

I wrote a long explanation of how we came to this bipolar diagnosis in a child so young under my post of March 19th of 2009. If your child or a child you know bears similarities, please seek out a good psychiatrist and don't wait for "things to get better." Often they will simply get worse, and the longer a child is unmedicated, the more damage their brain can accrue. Early diagnoses and treatment are key to providing these children with a chance at a successful life later as a teen and an adult.
Never change, start or stop a medication without the approval of your child's physician!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Reader Question About Intuniv

Someone just asked me if Intuniv is still working for our ADHD daughter. I can't find their post, but I wanted to reply and say that 4mg was too much, and 2mg was too little. 3mg seems to be the right dose, but we felt that while it helped with her outbursts it didn't do as much for the focusing part, so we did add Vyvanse to the mix, at a very low dose. I am told by our psychiatrist that this has been a common finding among parents, that Intuniv doesn't help with the inattention as much as the explosivity.


millersara said...

Thanks for the information on Intuniv. My son will start it Friday. He was diagnosed ADHD three years ago, Bipolar in March, and ODD today. The psychiatrist doesn't know if the Intuniv will help at all, but I'm willing to try just about anything at this point. He's already on Lithium and we haven't been treating the ADHD for the last three months. We desperately need some peace around here. At least this evening has been calm. It seems that the psychiatrist scared him a little bit by supporting us.
My son just went to bed saying tomorrow will be better. I keep hoping it will.

Megan said...

Hi Sara, I hope your home will experience some peace soon too! I know that feeling when you are just desperate to help your child. Intuniv is probably a good med to try since stimulants would likely exacerbate his problems. The ODD is a part of bp disorder. When the bp disorder is treated with the right mix of meds, the ODD will definitely decrease. Hang in there!

J said...

Hi Megan. I know I'm asking about an old post - but do you recall how you knew that 2mg was too little and that 4mg was too much? Particularly since you later needed to add Vyvanse into the mix, how did you judge what the "sweet" spot was with Intuniv for your daughter? Thanks! Jackie

Megan said...

Well, there wasn't a big difference in her explosive behavior until we got up to 3mg. We did go up to 4mg for a while but when we added the Vyvanse to increase her focusing ability, the 4mg was too much, so 3mg was better. I think it comes down to behavior: if your child's irritability and intolerance to frustration is not significantly reduced by 3 or 4mg of Intuniv, it may not be a good monotherapy for him/her. Just my opinion! Hope this helps!

J said...

Megan, I'm sure my brain is foggy this morning and it's me, not you - so could you clarify one point for me? What specifically gave you the sense that the Intuniv was too high at 4mg? Thanks again for your wonderful blog!

Megan said...

Sorry J! I should have been clearer. At 4mg, she seemed too dopey in the daytime, and not necessarily more focused. The 3mg did the trick with curbing temper tantrums over everything, so we knew it was working, but she wasn't too groggy during the. The Vyvanse made her better focused.

mich said...

While my son was better focused on vyvanse with the intuniv and his grades did improve, so did his short temper return and his meltdowns. He is on 3 mg intuniv(4 mg made him sleep during school) and 30 mg vyvanse, 3 mg risperdal and 10 mg prozac. He is back to daily explosive behaviors and overreacting to people. This week he was kicked off the bus for striking the driver. Stimulants don't seem to work on him but he has bad adhd. Any suggestion?

Megan said...

Mich, has your son ever been evaluated for bipolar disorder? I ask because, as you might know, a child who is put on antidepressants and/or stimulants and has a bad reaction (irritability, outbursts, meltdowns, mania) can have latent or undiagnosed bipolar disorder, mistaken for bad adhd. The adhd would then be addressed medication wise after the child was stabilized with bipolar meds first. He may not have early onset bipolar disorder, but with his reaction to Vyvanse, it needs to be looked at. Vyvanse can produce bad reactions in kids who arent' bipolar too.