Wednesday, January 9, 2008

PBS Frontline Bipolar in Children Special

Well, here I go again. I am going to vent about another special that was just on about bipolar in children. Tonight PBS aired a special called The Medicated Child on their Frontline series. It was an hour special that talked about a lot of the different aspects of the controversy over this diagnoses in children and about medicating them. While there was no new information given I once again finish the program feeling worse. It just seems to magnify all your fears and then leave you with a big question mark hanging over your head. Wouldn't it be refreshing to watch a program like this and leave with a feeling of hope and have been given some new information to help in our daily battles against this disorder?

Jeremy came home half way thru and we were talking after and came up with this conclusion about Lorenzo; We know he has a problem, we know he has had a huge HUGE improvement over the last few months on medication. The other thing I am painfully reminded of frequently is the fact that there is the factor of our "genetic loading". I know what life was like with my Dad growing up. He has never really been treated for an extended amount of time and he is worse now then ever. That is a constant motivation for me to do everything in my power to help Lorenzo. On a positive note there was a whole min. or two devoted to research being done that may show if they catch children young, before the disorder has shown its full fury that it may be possible to prevent it from becoming full-on bipolar. I hope this proves to be true! I was in such denial after the doctor told us he thought Lorenzo had bipolar, never did i think that my Dad's problem would transfer to my Child. To be honest, once I moved out and started College I never event thought about bipolar unless it was wishing my dad would stop and get some help.

They did end talking about cancer in children 30 years ago and how in order to be treated back then they had to be part of the clinical research study so that you had 100% of patients involved in the study. Due to this they were able to go from cancer in children being a virtual death sentence to have a 90-something % success rate. I have been saying this for the last 2 years!!!! When are they going to do something about this?


Squirrelsmama said...

Great post! When people discuss medicating children as a theoretical discussion, it is frustrating for those of us living the reality.

Although we all have reservations about side and/or long-term effects, it's important to remind people that they need to consider the long-term and side effects of NOT treating a disorder. To be filled with shame about your behaviors, thoughts, feelings...

There's no price on that, and being able to function is really just the best thing. People who don't live it don't appreciate that.

Anonymous said...

I have a son who was diagnosed at the age of 12 with Bi Polar disorder. It was a relief to have something to hang our hats on.
Most parents know the horror of living through this.
Our lives changed when we found a doctor who was on the cutting edge, fearless and without ego. We always discussed the risk vs benefit of medications. We all understand the risk. I also understand that it is entirely possible that if treatment begins early, so many pathways are not developed making this disease worse than it has to be. Experientially when the children are in control , everything is better. We all understand that.
The problem is not with our children, but with doctors who do not really know what they are doing and do not properly test and diagnose children. The wrong meds can be devastating.. that is where all the bad raps come from. Misdiagnoses and improper medications.
My son , who 7 years ago was curled up on a couch.. is now 18 and in his first year of college. He manages his meds, his school work.. This is what we are all fighting for.
There is of course the real possibility that all these years of stability may indeed allow for the eventual discontinuation of his meds.. and well.. who knows

Jessica said...

I had no idea that Lorenzo had been diagnosed with bipolar! I can defintely attest to the genetic factor with depression and bipolar. Depression is strong on both sides of my family and I myself have dealt with it.

I don't think most people can even begin to understand what it's like to deal with. I can't imagine having to deal with it as a child. I'm glad to hear to medicine has been helping Lorenzo.

It bugs me that some people are so quick to judge when a parent choses to medicate a child with a mental illness. Would they refuse to medicate their kid if they had diabetes or asthma?

I think there just needs to be more awareness on the issue and definitely more clinical trials tailored to the needs of children.

Briana Ward said...

I have used the same arguments about medication. It is to bad that mental disorders still have such a stigma and some people still choose to look them like they are not a "real illness". People are so quick to jump to conclusions and judgments. I was going out to the car once with a bagger at the grocery store and Lorenzo had been having a bad day and was still in the middle af one of his long meltdowns and she actually hit him lightly on the backside and told him to stop and them began to tell me it was how I was parenting him wrong and what I needed to be doing. It was so hard for me to keep my mouth closed. I just kept telling my self you are an idiot and know absolutely nothing about what he is going through. I wish I would have talk to her supervisor but that day I was just so focused on getting thru Lorenzo that he inappropriateness took a back seat.

Anonymous said...

Cutting edge, give me a break.

When it comes to childrens brains it is better to be cautious and not cutting edge.

I was one of those kids that was medicated.

My father had me medicated because I was upset that my mother was sent to a nursing home and he was shacking up with her former live in nurse. He didn't want to change so it became my problem and they put me on anti-depressants. I was fourteen and I got worse.

That is when I had my first manic episode at fifteen.

Now I have to live with this disorder for the rest of my life. I probably would have been triggered at some point down the line but fourteen was too young.

That special had me in tears and spitting mad. Kids have tantrums and parents want to put them on more medications than I take now as an adult. And seriously dangerous atypical antipsychotics.

Maybe some children do have bipolar, but the way the medical establishment and parents are going about it just isn't right.

Anonymous said...

Very nice and intrestingss story.