Throughout the last seven, almost eight years that our dd has been diagnosed with early onset bipolar disorder, we have had many medication trials. Some readers have asked about Lithium, and how our child has done on it. I would say that it is one of five "miracle drugs" that have allowed our daughter to live a mostly normal life.
Lithium was the first drug that brought real stability without excessive tiredness. Our daughter was about 10 when we tried it after Depakote made her gain 15 lbs in three months and interferred with her cognitive ability to the point that we held her back a year in school. Lithium gave her new stability and allowed her to think in school.
Abilify was the next "miracle" for Caroline, but Seroquel has done the same thing: taken care of hallucinations, both auditory and visual.
Trileptal, in the higher doses, eliminated the daily rages that she experienced for so long. Now they are rare.
Lamictal has acted like her antidepressant, especially in the fall, as she cannot take any antidepressants without inducing mania.
Amantadine has given her self-control that has been the icing on the cake. She became much more able to tolerate frustrating situations after starting this med.
The worst side effects of any of these drugs was from the Seroquel that caused weight gain again, but the Amantadine seems to have counteracted this effect, as she is back down to her normal slender self.
Lithium is the only mood stabilizer that is proven to prevent suicides.
About our Daughter
I am mother to four wonderful daughters, ages 13, 16, 17 and 20, 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. She is in the very challenging teen years, and she is attempting a big public high school for the first time. In spite of the trials, she enjoys lacrosse, running, 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.