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Could it be bipolar disorder?

My 6-year-old daughter is single-handedly destroying our family. Her blood-curdling outbursts that go on and on, triggered by something as trivial as what's for dinner, are draining my life force.

My ex-husband, her father, was diagnosed with bi-polar about 15 years ago, but then decided, he didn't have it. (I can honestly say, YES HE DOES.)
His sister is medicated for manic depression.

All this said, my daughter doesn't have the explosive behavior in school. Her last parent/teacher confrence was uneventful.
Could this still be bipolar disorder?
ANY insight would be greatly appreciated. I am having her evaluated soon, but in the meantime, I'm coming unglued.
11 Responses
505907 tn?1258369340
  I do not have enough scientific data to back it up but this sounds much more like BPD  or Borderline Personality Disorder. This impression on me is because she seems to be able to control it - to turn it off and on. We have a BPD forum here and I would suggest you run this by them. Hopefully someone here who has a wider psychological background than I will write more useful information. Hang in there.
607502 tn?1288247540
You need to take her to a doctor.

I would advise extreme caution before medicating a child this young despite what a doctor says- most psychiatric medications are NOT tested on children and indeed the whole paediatric bipolar diagnosis is incredibly controversial relying on interpreting behaviours which are the opposite to adult symptoms.

You need to take her to a doctor - I do not think this is a psychiatric problem I think she has other issues - she is acting out in the home and not in the school which is a big hint - how long have you been divorced?
574118 tn?1305135284
I heard my pdoc say we don't diagnose children rather adults because of hormonal imbalance and immaturity, etc... Of course you can consult a doctor but in your case i would advise to direct yourself first to a GP and he can decide whether you should address a pdoc or not. My only advise try to walk very slowly and with extreme care. This BP business is very easy to get into but very difficult to get out of it.
best of luck
ezz
539694 tn?1434565947
I dont think its as extreme as Borderline personality disorder from what youve said.. have you considered autism spectrum disorder or adhd?
723341 tn?1232338253
Since your husband's family has known bipolar disorder, and bipolar is definitely genetically passed down, the chances for it are greater with your daughter. The more members of his family (or yours) that have it, the greater chance that she will have it. Nonetheless, this doesn't mean that she has it or is going to get it, but from my research it seems that the earlier you can get help for this disorder, and the quicker you get effective treatment, the better off you'll be.

I have bipolar disorder, and I have a daughter, now 17, who has emotional issues sounding similar in nature to your daughter. I have been unable to figure out what she has going on exactly, even though I've been observing her all her life. She's been totally resistant to therapy, like screaming and running out of the room and slamming the door, so it's been extremely difficult to figure out exactly what's going on so that we could get appropriate help for her. Meanwhile, I've been dealing with my own crushing depression for years and years, unable to give her the help that I would have liked to give her because I have been energetically and emotionally emptied.

My daughter did much worse things at home, at first, and eventually it ended up really bad in school as well.

She got worse as she got older, and it was really bad for a long time, but it seems that she may finally be starting to turn the corner to look in the mirror instead of blaming everything on everyone else. Not that there weren't issues in the house mind you, because there were lots of them, but she would take zero responsibility for what was happening in her life which meant that she had zero chance of turning it around.

My suggestion would be to do whatever you can to get her help now, while you still can and before it gets worse. Psychologist, therapist, counselor, whatever makes sense for you and her. I feel kind of like I have PTSD from having to deal with all of the stress of everything related to this. I would suggest that you get therapy for yourself and for the rest of your family as well, the sooner the better, while you still have wits and energy enough to do it.
Avatar universal
Having a challenging child can be very draining.  I would be wary of pinning a mental health issue on a child so very young.  This could be tantrums caused by her inability to express her feelings.  My second son was always very well behaved out of the home but terrible within it - he is now 12 and has "grown out of it".  A friend of mine has a 6 year old who is running her ragged - her and her husband split nearly 2 years ago.  Her little boy is an "angry little man".  She is seeking help through her GP.

As the others have said this needs to be discussed indepth with your Dr.  All the best.
723341 tn?1232338253
I agree with bulldozer. Who knows what it is or isn't? Nonetheless, if it's as bad as you say it is, it is a signal for somebody to get help.

My daughters regular MD doctor, who we both really like, was completely useless for my daughter in regards to these issues, even though we brought it up with her regularly. And she even saw her behavior outbursts in the office.
607502 tn?1288247540
I think a serious word of caution needs to be sounded here.  There is VERY little information to go on so its a bit premature to be making diagnoses on the forums on this situation.  There are numerous reasons why a 6 year old child can act out and most of them are not mental illness related and from whats been said I dont see this being super bad behaviour.

I worry deeply when I see the words assessment and 6 year old in the same post at any time - its the sort of thinking that has made Ritalin the most abused and over prescribed drug in the world and is seeing 4 and 5 year olds on anti psychotic medications and anti depressants.

Take the child to a doctor and get a psychiatrist appointment then sit down and be honest with the psychiatrist about EVERYTHING that is going on in the house and the family and the relationship.

I would resist to the death giving a 6 year old ANY form of psychiatric drug without a second opinion by the way - sure these drugs can work, hell Ritalin works on anyone ADHD or not - but they have side effects that are dangerous to adults whom they were designed for - children..

And do not think the medical community will prescribe safely either - Ritalin causes heart attacks in children and its still handed out.

Honestu is vital here with yourself and doctors lest a child who is having some emotional problems becomes a heavily medicated child on horrendous drugs.
Avatar universal
Thank you all for your insight. I am definitely against medicating her unless there is a concrete diagnosis by more than one doctor. Even then, I would seek out an alternative to medication first.
I did give very little info about her. It isn't just her tantrums that has me concerned. It's her obsessive behavior. (Example: If she misses a meal. Say it's Saturday and we were out doing something and missed lunch, upon realizing this, she will "lose it" and will not accept the fact that we are combining dinner and lunch. Just one example.)
She's got a very short attention span. She's extremely hyper. She's aggressive. She normally yells when she talks, even though she's reminded to use her indoor voice. That IS her indoor voice...The list goes on....

Again, I thank you all for taking the time to respond. It is much appreciated,
Alison
607502 tn?1288247540
Emotional issues will do that.  

The important thing to remember is that symptom lists are not complete and the more worrying thing is the people who push paediatric bipolar do so with a different set of symptoms to adult bipolar with sad to say very little actual research to back it all up.

Its only the last 5 years that the diagnosis even existed - until then 12-14 was the earliest onset age.

I just advise caution when the doctors try and put her in the box as they will and prescribe something.  Id make a bet the first diagnosis is ADD or ADHD and they reach forn the Ritalin.  Come back and confirm that ok..

I wish you luck and pray that there is something here which does not need meds - the thought of a small child on the sort of meds we take is terrifying to me in every way...
Avatar universal
I too have a six year old son that would have outbursts over the littlest things, would not sit still, hard to keep in bed as there was always somthing he wanted, jump from painting to building to something els and always wanted my attention, always had to be around me, as he would just mentally drain me through out the day. Me and my partner were sick and tired of it and heard about a book called "Fed Up" which is about a preservative, colour and a flavour enhancer free diet which has helped a lot aswell as putting him on fish oil tablets which i would recommend to anyone. We don't belive in medication and the fish oil is a natural substance that helps with his concentration. Hope this helps, take care stay in touch.

Benny.
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