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Old 03-14-2011, 08:08 AM   #1
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Anyone with a child with a chemical imbalance/behavioral problems?

Very long post...sorry

I am wondering if anyone here has a young child with a chemical imbalance/severe behavioral problems? My nephew, who I care for a lot, is 7yr and has some very major emotional/behavioral problems. My sister has been to so many specialists and tried so many things but no one can seem to pinpoint exactly what his problem is. Everyone wants to treat him for ADHD which we're sure he has but that's not what worries us as much as the depression, anxiety, mood swings, anger, self loathing, defiance, aggression....I could go on and on. He is seeing a child psychiatrist at Shands right now. Thery've been going every 2wks for maybe 6-8 wks so far. My sister really likes this DR but again she(the DR) wants to treat the ADHD first and then try to work on the other stuff. We are so frustrated because while he's started a new RX for ADHD and he's calm and making good grades ALL of his other problems are MUCH worse. It is heartbreaking to see someone who should be enjoying life and playing pretend and making mudpies but instead he is completely miserable. I feel so bad for my sister. She is so concerned for him and feels like they are getting no where fast. He's been this way since he was born. He was not ever a happy "normal" (for lack of a better word) baby. I am going with her tomorrow for their next appointment to try to give her some reinforcements when she talks to the DR. She is a single mother nad has no real support person besides me.

My nephew has undergone many tests and they feel like he has many problems (we new that) but they are very hesitant to diagnose him with anything in particular. He has 99% of all the symptoms for childhood bi-polar. Bi-polar runs wild through our family so we have always been concerned about that. He also has most of the signs for asperger's, ODD, OCD, PDD and he difinitely has a sensory disorder.

We have a cousin and a close friend who have had very similar problems with their sons and the Dr's have only treated the ADHD and because their other problems have been overlooked their other problems have spiraled out of control. My cousin's son now hears voices telling him to kill people and my friends son has killed 2 of their pets.

Do any of you mamas have children with similar problems? What have you tried that has worked? Do any of you have any good resources or suggestions? I know that every child is different and the Drs seem to think it's easiest to treat the simplest problems first but we are desperate. My nephew said over the weekend he didn't deserve to live. We are frantic to find him some help before anything really horrible happens. Any advice will be so greatly apprecciated.

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Last edited by badhayrday; 03-14-2011 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 03-14-2011, 08:34 AM   #2
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Re: Anyone with a child with a chemical imbalance?

I don't have children with a chemical imbalance (LO is due in June, keeping my fingers crossed he'll be healthy as my largest issues can be passed from mother to son), however speaking as an adult that has had a chemical imbalance, paranoid schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, auditory and visual hallucinations, etc since a very early age, I can at least offer you a viewpoint from at one time being a child with similar issues.

While I'm glad he's getting ADHD help, and your sister enjoys that doctor, she needs a different one if they won't focus on his largest needs. What is easiest is not always a good starting point.

I went through hoops with various doctors over my trivial(in comparison to others) issues, and all it did was make me more frustrated, and worse. I can honestly say that had someone addressed my more complicated issues early on, I would not have ended up in nearly as bad of shape as I did down the line. Your sister needs to find someone that focuses on what newphew's particular greatest needs are, not what is easiest to treat. Would you accept a doctor that decided to focus on your splinter while you're slowly bleeding to death with a head wound? I would hope not.

That being said, how does newphew react to the doctors thus far? Once I found a psychologist and psychiatrist that I felt comfortable with, it made things much easier for me. Not all doctor's click with each individual, and though he is young, this still applies. It's hard finding the right one for you and your child and their needs, but something as simple as being comfortable does wonders in helping a child learn to cope with their issues.

Don't be fooled into believing that medication is the only, or best, option either. When it comes to things like this, certain learned behaviors have to be taught to the child and the family to avoid plateauing with only medication. Don't forget that.

There is no quick fix, it's a permanent problem with long-term coping. I still to this day have to walk myself through some things slowly and carefully to avoid an episode. I highly suggest you find a psychologist that is willing to work with nephew, mom, and everyone involved in nephew's life. You will all need this support, and while diagnosis is important, it doesn't always provide a solution in chemical imbalances.

My best advice is to find someone that will work with nephew on what's best for him. The fact he mentioned his life is a HUGE red flag. He's frustrated, tired, feeling inadequate and broken, and many other things. He needs someone to help him understand he does not have to live this way, and while different, he is not defective, and can do things to make it easier on himself and his loved ones. Children more than anyone blame themselves for so many things beyond their control, especially when it hurts those around them.

And your cousin and close friends' situations are not uncommon. No one wants to diagnose younger children with anything; whether it be because it's so hard do so when so young and growing, they don't want to be held accountable if incorrect, or whatever the cause. They don't like to do it. It's hard to find one that will be open to exploring all avenues. But it is well worth the effort.

I have nothing but good thoughts and hugs for you mama. If you ever need to talk to someone that can understand it from nephew's point of view, or just to talk in general, please feel free to PM me. I'm wishing you the very best.

Last edited by Hillargh; 03-14-2011 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:41 AM   #3
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Re: Anyone with a child with a chemical imbalance?

Thank you for your encouraging words. It is so hard to find a Dr who will see little kids for things like this, at least where we live. The Dr they're seeing currently is about a 2hr drive from where we are. My sister is glad I'm going with her tomorrow. We have decided that we will do whatever it takes to get this Dr to understand we have some major problems that need to be addressed right away. If she doesn't get it we'll have to find someone else. The thought of that makes us both want to throw ourselves in the floor and cry. We live in the capital of Florida and there are NO good specialists here for children with any kinds of problems physical or mental. It's so frustrating. We are praying that with both of us ganging up on the DR, so to speak, that she will agree to try some other options that she mentioned during their last visit.

Thanks for the thoughts and hugs
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:53 PM   #4
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Re: Anyone with a child with a chemical imbalance?

Not a chemical balance, no. But my son is diagnosed with ADHD and ODD, has sensory issues, and we strongly believe he has Aspergers. He was/can be angry, defiant, and anxious. What worked for us was a variety of things. The biggest was indeed getting the ADHD under control, followed closely by getting the sensory issues under control. We found a medication that worked for him (and the difference in him when it is working is night and day... it's like he's an entirely different child). We found an OT that worked well with him (and that part was huge for my son). We started karate at an awesome dojo that was familiar with kids like my son. They work with all the kids on so many different things, and take a whole life approach to what they teach. The Sensei kept telling me - just wait, you'll see it. Honestly I doubted her, but she was right. I have seen a huge improvement in him. And lastly was finding the right therapist for him. I say all this just because it may not be the same, but it is similar. I truly believe that ADHD, ODD, OCD, Aspergers and all those other similar disorders are not so cut and dry. There is a big overlapping gray area that a lot of kids fall into. My son still has a ton of anxieties, and it hurts to watch at times, and he can still be defiant, angry, ets (and today was a horrible, horrible day), but he is so much better today than he was 2 years ago.

I hope you can find the help your nephew and cousin need. What do the schools say? Are they offering any help at all? I'd talk to the OT there (or request he be evaluated) as well as the guidance counselor. You can also request social skills/behavior therapy through the schools as well.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:26 PM   #5
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Re: Anyone with a child with a chemical imbalance?

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Originally Posted by ralenth View Post
I hope you can find the help your nephew and cousin need. What do the schools say? Are they offering any help at all? I'd talk to the OT there (or request he be evaluated) as well as the guidance counselor. You can also request social skills/behavior therapy through the schools as well.
The schools are not a lot of help. So far he has been to a different school every year since he was 4 and he has been told he couldn't come back to any of them. All of his teachers except the one he had last year, start off being very hard on him and always sending notes home and calling my sister when problems arise but then about half way through the school year it's like they realise he's not going to change and they give up and just do what they have to do to get through the school year and get him out of their class.

He's on the waiting list to start occupational therapy but he has to wait about 6 more weeks for an opening. I'm not sure what that will consist of but it's supposed to help with the sensory disorder. I feel so bad for my sister. There are many nights after he goes to bed and many mornings on her way to work that she calls me and just cries and cries while explaining how horrible things were that day. I'm not going to be able to sleep a wink tonight I feel like because of the anticipation about our trip tomorrow.

Thank you ladies for the good advice
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Last edited by badhayrday; 03-14-2011 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:04 PM   #6
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Re: Anyone with a child with a chemical imbalance/behavioral problems?

I can't address the other issues but if the sensory issue is urgent she can call the OT and ask if they can suggest some exercises to start before the evaluation. I had great luck with pediatric therapists helping and offering suggestions when there is a long wait list. Also I don't know how the therapy services are set up there but here you wait to get an evaluation opening and then you go back on the wait list for an actual therapy slot opening so if they operate similarly to the therapy clinics here it could be longer then six weeks before she lands a regular therapy spot for him. Hopefully the wait isn't as bad but I know in the Birmingham Metro area there is a huge shortage of pediatric therapists.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:06 AM   #7
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Re: Anyone with a child with a chemical imbalance?

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Originally Posted by badhayrday View Post
The schools are not a lot of help. So far he has been to a different school every year since he was 4 and he has been told he couldn't come back to any of them. All of his teachers except the one he had last year, start off being very hard on him and always sending notes home and calling my sister when problems arise but then about half way through the school year it's like they realise he's not going to change and they give up and just do what they have to do to get through the school year and get him out of their class.

He's on the waiting list to start occupational therapy but he has to wait about 6 more weeks for an opening. I'm not sure what that will consist of but it's supposed to help with the sensory disorder. I feel so bad for my sister. There are many nights after he goes to bed and many mornings on her way to work that she calls me and just cries and cries while explaining how horrible things were that day. I'm not going to be able to sleep a wink tonight I feel like because of the anticipation about our trip tomorrow.

Thank you ladies for the good advice
One thing you can try with the schools is to request an evaluation for IEP services in writing. The school then has to meet (with the parent) to discuss the request. It won't necessarily get him an IEP, but it might help. And if you can get him an IEP, there are things they can do to help him at school (behavior plans, OT, sensory breaks, etc). If you try going the IEP route, see if his doctor or therapist can write a letter requesting an IEP, and the modifications that might benefit him in the classroom.
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