Does my son have bipolar disorder
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Does my son have bipolar disorder?

Q: Hello I just wanted to know the likely hood that my son may have bipolar disored,my older brother has been in a mental hospital for about 4 yrs now he has 11 personality,or so he has been diadnosed with such, my 17 yr old son can't handle anything that isn't run smooth, he worries about thing that he shouldn't be worring about, he think about thing like this all the time he can't seem to keep his mine thinking straight, he can't keep a job, it is always something he calls from work I can handle it here they make me so bad,he yells at the drop of a hat, Like today I woke him up to go to school late, he had blow out he yelled screamed, he said this is all your fault, I hate it here, I'm moving out. (this happens atleast 2 times per week) My mother had told me that the Dr's where my brother is at say that yes I should have my son tested,we have had him in to see a Dr. they just gave him Aderal, he takes it 1 time a day,it dosen't seem to be working that much anymore..So my ? is there a test my son can take so that he can see for himself that he needs help???

Dear Wendy

Ow, what a difficult situation.  Try asking your son's doc' "could he have a bipolar variant?" What are the risks if we tried a mood stabilizer?  I wouldn't be certain from the stuff you describe, but I'd be wondering.  See if you can find out if your brother was ever thought to have bipolar disorder, & did they ever try giving him lithium or Depakote?

Or, here's a different approach:  you can try printing the "mood disorders questionnaire" and taking it with you to your son's doctors.  You might want to take the abstract of the article that is supposed to be the "proof" this questionnaire might mean something, also -- doc's usually respect that kind of info' (usually).  So you walk in and say something like "here's an article from the November American Journal of Psychiatry validating the latest questionnaire approach to detecting hypomanic symptoms  [hand 'em the abstract];  I'm told the authors are big names in bipolar disorder diagnosis.  I understand that tests like this don't prove anything all by themselves.  But in case you're interested, my son has taken it and here are his results for your interpretation, and a copy for his chart" [hand em' his results; you might best print out the scoring page from my site too].  Be really polite, maybe just a bit too much so, and say something early on about how you appreciate what they're trying to do to help your son.  You get the idea; doctors are pretty human, sometimes more so than other humans.  Good luck.

Dr. Phelps

Published December, 2000

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