The Bipolar Child Blog

Research studies carried out with the support of the Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation have resulted in the identification of a specific subtype of pediatric bipolar disorder termed Fear of Harm that is estimated to affect at least 1/3rd of children diagnosed in the community with the condition (Bipolar Child Newsletters and Journal of Affective Disorders imgres).

This work has lead to some remarkable new insights into this condition; a clear definition of the condition that is easily identifiable (see Child Bipolar Questionnaire), a physiological marker that is associated with some deficit in thermoregulation imgres, and somatic treatments that have dramatic and enduring effects on the illness.

This blog will be devoted to the experience of parents and their children diagnosed with this subtype of the disorder.

Parent Response – Case 3

Pre-Ketamine and Post-Ketamine are almost the difference between living and being dead. As I look back at a mere 6 weeks ago, thinking that our daughter was “at the top of her game” I am utterly in shock. We were so thrilled that she was going to school and coping. We were thrilled that she…

Details

Child Response – Case 3

Before the Miracle (Ketamine) Before starting this miracle medicine, I had no idea what I was missing. I was afraid of everything that my mind could make seem like it was a threat. I had uncontrollable heat flashes, trust issues, sleep issues. My family actually thought I was at the top of the climb, doing…

Details

Parent Response – Case 2

I certainly hope that I am able to portray in this blog what a difference ketamine has made in George’s life. I believe it would be hard to accurately convey how profound this change has been, without providing some history about my son’s life. So, I hope you can forgive the length of this writing, but I also hope that it will be informative and helpful to anyone who reads it.

Today is George’s 21st birthday. Now, 21 is certainly a milestone for any child, but I can honestly say that in George’s case, I was really terrified for most of his life that he would not be around for his 21st birthday.

Of course I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back now, I believe the earliest symptoms of George’s bipolar disorder were actually felt in the womb. When I was pregnant with George, he moved constantly. Elbows and feet would come bulging out of my stomach. You would actually see my stomach roll. My husband used to ask if I was carrying a baby or an alien. As a baby, George had a terrible time settling to sleep. He would cry and cry and no matter what I did, I could not get him settled. He nursed ravenously and was startled by the slightest sound. He ultimately had to cry himself to sleep every night.

As a toddler, George was extremely curious. He was speaking in full sentences by age two and could have conversations way beyond his years. However, by the time George was 3 years old, I knew in my heart that there was something terribly wrong; but no one, not even my husband, really believed me. I would speak to relatives about how I could not control George. I would explain that he would fly into these temper tantrums just by my telling him no to a request. I would get advice about time-outs and effective parenting and everyone told me it would be fine. I tried working on my parenting skills but nothing helped; things only got worse.

George was drawn to things that were not typical for a small boy. He was very interested in movies but not Disney stories. He would be drawn to violent images and would want to watch movies that were not appropriate for a small boy. When George was told he could not do something, he would fly into a temper tantrum. The scariest times were when he would get what I referred to as “the look” on his face. His eyes would glaze over and I knew my child was no longer there. He would smash things, hit, kick and curse and there was no controlling him. This would go on for hours at times. You would walk on eggshells all day long because you never knew what would set him off. When my husband would come home at night, George would be waiting by the window for him. He would be ready to play and spend time with his Dad and my husband did not really believe me when I told him what went on during the day.

Details

First Child Case Treated with Intranasal Ketamine – Mother’s Report

I am happy to share our experience with the ketamine Therapy, and I hope it will be helpful to those of you considering it for your child.

When my daughter Suzie (now 9) was in preschool she had oral surgery and, after much discussion with Dr. Papolos and an anesthesiologist, the oral surgeon decided to use ketamine to sedate Suzie.  Two previous sedations for ear tube surgeries and one tooth extraction had shown us that Suzie experiences paradoxical reactions to many of these meds, often derailing her mental stability, taking months to get back on track.

Well, God Bless this oral surgeon — and Dr. Papolos for deciding to try the ketamine!  Not only did it work effectively for the surgery and NOT derail her stability — it actually gave us back our daughter for a few days!  It was an accidental discovery.  Suzie woke up from that surgery and it was as if someone had taken away her bipolar disorder.  No separation anxiety, no sensory issues, increased clarity of thought and speech, affectionate, and more mature than we had ever seen.  It was truly amazing.  Unfortunately, it wore off after a day or too, but we made note of it for any future oral surgery, etc.

A few years later Suzie went for a sedated MRI.  With a great deal of coaxing, the anesthesiologist agreed to use ketamine to sedate her.  He was convinced that she might hallucinate, and experience other negative psychiatric side effects.  But, once again, Suzie woke up seemingly bipolar-free — with clarity of speech and thought, affectionate, and calm-bodied.

Details

Parent Follow-up – Case 3

C. B. – 8/27/11 I am following up with further comments about the progress we have seen since my previous post. Awe, amazing, a miracle…these words come to mind when I think of our daughter Aly. She is 15, and is in a metamorphosis of sorts. We have always known that inside Aly was a…

Details