PDD, Autistic, Bipolar Disorder in 7 year old?
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Q: Hello, Family history of depression, my son age 17 bipolar. One of my nephews age 7 was diagnosed about age 2 with PDD and autistic-like symptoms. He is doing quite well after many interventions and would probably now show more of an aspbergers syndrome - but he seems to have periods of time (weeks) when his mood is unstable, has major rages, attacking anything and anyone (particularly family) or cries and says his "motherboard" is malfunctioning or he wants to die. (he is very into computers and electronics). Could we possibly have such a mixed bag in one child? I guess of course we could with our family history!! Could he also have a bipolar disorder?

Dear Blair --

"Could he also have a bipolar disorder?"  With the family history you describe, definitely yes.  With the symptoms you describe, and particularly their cyclic course -- yes again.  Is this "such a mixed bag"?  I wonder about that.  There may be more of a direct connection between the two than we really grasp now, as they occur together more often than one would expect by chance.  In any case, trials of "mood stabilizers" for this young man might well be wise.

Dr. Phelps

Published October, 2000

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