Q: All Our Trials Seem
to be Errors
My 8 y.o adopted daughter shows textbook signs of early onset
bipolar. Her birth mom was dx'd bipolar, schizoaffective disorder among others.
My daughter is under a psychiatrist's care. Risperdal was very effective for
about 5 weeks, the severe weight gain and progressively less and less results
prompted us to switch to zyprexa. She continues to eat like a horse and gain wt.
and this med doesn't seem nearly as effective as the risperdal was in the
beginning. I am at my wits end....extremely tired, no social life, always walking
on egg shells around her and just an nth away of taking her to a residential tx
facility. My other children are exasperated also. My heart won't let me do the
residential thing just yet. My sanity says "do so"! Question: any good results
with antianxieties such as xanax, klonopin, etc. (not for me....for her LOL).
I'm feeling like these antipsychotics may be messing up her brain chemistry even
more. I know it's trial and error with this illness....however, all of our
trials seem to be errors. : ( Your professional opinion is greatly
appreciated. Disrupting the adoption is absolutely NOT an option. We love our
daughter tremendously. We're just tired, as i know she is.
Thank you, in
Dear Ms. Lí --
Sorry to hear you're going
through this. A couple of thoughts: make sure the psychiatrist knows how
burned-out you're getting. With young children, there is always a desire to go
slowly and cautiously. At this point, if I understand correctly, you have tried
two different approaches. Standard treatment of this illness includes many,
many more options. So my first point: even though you are already really tired
of this, you are really actually at the beginning of the medication approaches.
And the second point: overall,
your daughter may benefit from a more aggressive approach, moving through
medication options more quickly searching for good symptom control and fewer
side effects, if you factor in the need for the rest of the family to see better
outcomes quickly. In other words, if she starts losing you because you are so
tired of dealing with this -- losing you in the sense of emotional distance, for
example -- that is a risk for her, to be considered alongside the risk of giving
a medication and inadequate trial because you're in a hurry. Sorry, this is
kind of a complex issue. A good psychiatrist should be able to factor the needs
of your family into the decision-making process, although it is not easy for
There is a lovely book about
Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, by Julie Fast.
It is written primarily for spouses of people with bipolar disorder, but I'll
bet you can find some useful material in there. Likewise, the website of the
Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (www.bpkids.org
) may provide some support for you and your family as well as great information.
Your devotion and dedication to your daughter is extremely admirable. I hope
that you get some breathing room soon.
Published October, 2008