6 year old daughter just diagnosed with a "mood disorder" and starting Abilify

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New Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/28/2008 11:15 PM (GMT -6)   
My daughter just turned 6 years old a month ago, she was prescribed Abilify last week - I am VERY VERY nervous about starting her on this med, but my pediatrician fully belives it is the best treatment for her.  In researching the med for kids under 10 - I found this posting, and the website.  I feel like I am getting ready to undergo a very long, hard, mysterious journey with her and I feel I need all the support and information I can get.  My daughter was diagnosed with severe ADHD in May of 2008, and now recently my pediatrician suspects she has a "mood disorder".  I took her to a pediatrict pshychiatrist last week, who pretty much confirmed this, and prescribed Abilify.
She has raging fits at school and at home- not often but are triggered by about 3 scenerios (transitions, losing, not getting a certain color, seat, prize, etc.).  These fits are not "typical" for her age - she screams, kicks, scratches, bites, swings her fists, throws her body, hits whoever is near her, etc.
She was put on 2 different stimulant meds for the ADHD that have not worked, she was switched to Stratera 3 weeks ago (a non-simulant), and upon the recommendation of a phsychiatrist is now put on Abilify, along with the Stratera - 2mg daily of Abilify.  My head is spinning- I am not sure if it is the right thing, if she is being mediacated too quickly, etc.  My mother is bi-polar - she refused to take any medication - that is another story for another day...  So it would not be far-fetched for her to have  a mood disorder
Any insight is greatly appreciated

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 12/29/2008 2:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mom_of_2,

I truly wish I had some insight for you. You are in a tricky situation. I can tell you that Abilify has worked fine for me as an adult, but that's nothing to say of a six-year-old. And as a mom I imagine I would have the same reservations. There are plenty of stories out there about children with mood disorders, and if you'd like I'd be happy to do a little research and recommend some books for you.

In the meantime, welcome to HealingWell, welcome to the bipolar board, and hopefully someone else will have something more useful to offer.

Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1081
   Posted 12/29/2008 6:18 PM (GMT -6)   

Well, as a mom who raised two boys both diagnosed with ADHD and ADD, older was supposed to be ADHD, younger ADD, I sympathize. From a background in Adolescent and child mental health, it seems to me that there are trends, such as the very large number of children who had been diagnosed ADHD, who have been reviewed and it was determined to actually be Mood Disorder.

Preferrably, a day program (Child Outpatient Services) could assist in sorting out what is what.  

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 12/29/2008 8:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mom of 2 - I do not usually post here but rather on the Crohns board. When I saw your title in the log in screen I just popped over here to read it. Now, I am no doctor and don't even play one on TV. But I just wanted to give you a heads up about something I have read about. I am allergic to Red Dye number 40 - I break out in hives and my tongue swells up. While researching Red Dye allergies I came upon many websites about kids who have violent reactions to red dye. They have poor frustration tolerance, outbursts, violence, etc. My mom is a preschool teacher and had a kid with this in her class. As long as red dye was removed from her diet she was fine. If she ate anything w/ red dye she went bonkers. So, I am not saying your daughter doesn't have the diseases your doctor says she has. But, I would do a trial of no dyes or at least no red dyes and see if it helps. Try google'ing it. Lots of websites out there about it. Best of luck!
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/29/2008 11:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks everyone for your quick replies!
Response #1 - My pediatrician belive Abilify is a very good med out there, and a good "fit" for my duaghter - her belief is we treat her now, and her disorder will be less severe when she is an adult.  ANY recommended books would be helpful...I am currently reading "the highly spirited child", it has some helpful things in it...but I think my daughter is more than just "high spririted".  The whole "mood disorder" diagnosis just came into the picture a few weeks ago.  I am just now starting to "dive in" to my research on this front.
Response #2 - that is a very interesting point that her ADHD could be the symptoms of a mood disorder...I have neevr thought of it that way...she is really all over the place - the phsycologist that diagnosed the ADHD told me she basically is going through life like her pants are constantly on fire...she just goes goes goes...now she is having major manic fits that are basically triggered by her ADHD "quirks" - transitions, fixations, she has other "spectrum" behaviors as well - she does not look anyone in the eye, she lines up and sorts evreything - like she is OCD.  She has some audio processing issues - she cannot follow more than 2 step verbal directions - and has problems verbalizing her feelings. I am having a hard time sorting out what symptoms are what...what is the ADHD symptom? what is the mood-disorder symptom? what is a spectrum symptom?  They ruled out Aspergers - because she has social awareness, just not proper social queuing.  I am wondering if a nuerologist may give me more insight?  What is a "day program"?  I live in Florida - I have not really heard of anything like that. 
Response #3 - regarding the red dye - we did a full battery of blood tests for allergies over the summer - she showed up as not allergic to ANYTHING - I will look intothe "red dye" thing...that is interesting - I am wondering - could she still have an allergic reaction even though it did not show up?
Thankyou Thankyou again for reponding - it is good to know people are out there listening.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 12/29/2008 11:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes it is possible to be allergic without it showing up in tests. My allergist said there was no real test for a Red Dye allergy except for double blind placebo. (Basically you eat a food without knowing if there is dye and see if you react.) Here is a blog about dye allergies. Many of the people that contribute are parents of children that have behavior problems due to dyes. http://red40.groups.vox.com/library/posts/page/3/
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2268
   Posted 12/30/2008 1:37 AM (GMT -6)   
So sorry to read about all your struggles. I'm sure others can share much better information about bipolar. There were a few thoughts that occurred to me, though. I am not a professional in any way, but I used to teach early elementary school. I have worked with special needs students & one of my research foci was ADD/ADHD. Here are a few ideas you might consider:

1. Yes, definitely try to get your daughter in to a neurologist or possibly a neuropsychiatrist.
2. If the neuro tests come back okay, ask for a referral to an educational psychologist. If you are fortunate enough to live within driving distance of a university, you can maybe even be particular enough to request a psych who will use non-language based testing. Since your daughter struggles with language & literacy, the regular tests will be skewed. A good psych can take the skewed results into account, but alternative testing would be more exact. If your little girl is either overchallenged (low-IQ, LD, etc.) or underchallenged (gifted) often that can result in extreme outbursts & aggressive behavior.
3. Ask to spend a day or two observing your daughter in school (sit in the back though so you can observe her interacting with her teachers & peers). If you can videotape her that would be even better, but that may require permission slips (some schools send out generic media permission slips at the start of school, so it might not be necessary to send out another). If possible, ask if the district has a psychologist or psychiatrist on staff who can also observe her in class. Try to see if there is something or someone who is precipitating her "fits" and whether there is something that helps her to calm down & refocus. Also, try to learn her strengths.
4. If she isn't already seeing a social worker at school, find out what groups might be available to help your daughter work on social skills. You should get a copy of her IEP & try to implement some of the same techniques at home to help with consistency.
5. Besides an outpatient psych program, you might consider special recreation programs through your county park district. Special rec can provide structure & a fun way to improve social, language & motor skills. Usually you can Google "special recreation district" and "(your county's name)" to find the nearest program.

As for the terms, maybe this site will be a bit of help:
It has info on spectrum disorders as well as co-morbid ADHD & bipolar.

Sorry for so much information. My heart just breaks for you & your daughter. I think it's really commendable that you are so invested in learning about & trying to help her. Keep at it & remember that you know your daughter better than anyone else. If something doesn't seem right, keep asking questions until you feel comfortable. Best wishes!

living with BPD
New Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 12/31/2008 1:13 AM (GMT -6)   
I just wanted to tell you that you are not alone. My son is 9, and we were told about 2 months ago that he was bipolar. (I am as well). He was put on Abiligy. He is taking 10mg daily at bedtime. I was probably the post that led you to this website if you looked it up. I have to tell you, I was extremely nervous as well, especially when I looked up children <10. I can tell you this though: It has been wonderful. My son is returning to being able to function as a normal 9 year old. He too suffered terrible tantrums, was angry all of the time, cried and got depressed, and wrote us notes telling us that he was running away because we didn't love him and we weren't his family. We tried everything to reassure him, to calm him, and to help him, but to no avail. Finally, knowing that children of bipolar parents are at a higher rate for suffering from it themselves, I took him to a child psychiatrist who diagnosed him as bipolar as well. His dosage has already been upped once, and I fear it may have to be again, but he has done a complete 180. His grades even came up dramatically in school! I know that you are worried and unsure, and as a parent you should always question these things, but I wanted you to know from another parent that has experienced this situation that Abilify has made a positive effect on my child, as well as the whole family. Whatever you decide will be right for your child, but know that it has worked for my son, and it has brought him back to me.

Wishing you the best,
Diagnosed Bipolar I in 2008
Diagnosed IBS in 2000
Son Diagnosed Bipolar in 2008

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 10/24/2010 11:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Mom of 2. I don't know if you are still reading these post any more since it has been awhile, but I am curious as to how things are with your daughter two years later?
I can strongly empathize with you. My daughter is now 9 and is much better. Few "melt" downs and we had a wonderful teacher conference this week. We did behavior modification therapy.

Trying to Understand
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 776
   Posted 10/24/2010 10:44 PM (GMT -6)   
I think you have come to the right place for informal/everyday advice/input.
Did you see that at this time, 1192 people have read your post?
Pls post back, we are interested in your journey.
Best of luck
Severe depression

Respect baby steps. Most work gets done an inch at a time. Just break ground.

Some get annoyed that people are so odd; lucky folks know that's the fun part.
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