Son Dx'd ADD,Now Bipolar?
[Home] [Bipolar News] [Bipolar Disorder] [Medications] [Treatments] [Bipolar Disorder/Job/School] [Disabilities] [Ask the Doctor] [Ask David] [Self-Injury] [Personal Stories] [Graham's Column] [Steven's Column] [Storm's Column] [Columnist Archives] [Suicide] [Community Support] [Family Members] [Expressions] [Greeting Cards] [Books] [Awards] [Links & Rings] [About Us] [Contact Us]


Q:  Son Dx'd ADD, Now Bipolar?

My son is 17 and under a psychiatrists  care.  He had been diagnosed with ADD with with Hyperactive tendancies about 2 years ago.  First he was put on Ritalin, then switched to Concerta (about 9 months ago).  As of late he has refused to take his medication and has been become quite angry and violent.  His doctor has now mentioned that he feels my son is bipolar.  How am I to be sure?  He says that lithium will be the drug of choice and I am apprehensive about starting this unless the diagnosis is concrete.  Please help.


Dear Jody -- 
I just talked to a friend of mine who's a child psychiatrist.  We were talking about your son -- or rather, we were talking about how much harder his job is than mine because of decisions like this.  We still don't have a good "concrete" method of diagnosis.  You will find
this essay of interest though, because it makes the distinction (ADD or BPAD) look a lot clearer than it sometimes sounds. 

There are several alternatives to lithium.  Since I don't treat a lot of 17 yr. olds, I am not following any new news re: what is regarded as "1st choice" amongst these alternatives, but I can tell you that in adults, Depakote (the new ER version has less weight gain) and Trileptal (it basically replaces Tegretol because it doesn't cause the blood problem; and it doesn't seem to have the liver problems that often make child psychiatrists concerned when using these drugs in kids -- although again, I haven't followed the discussion re: whether Trileptal is known to have low liver risk in kids too) are used very frequently as first-line alternatives to lithium.  You'll find a basic run-down on these meds on my site

Dr. Phelps  

Published October, 2001


Bipolar World   1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Allie Bloom, David Schafer, M.Ed. (Blackdog)
Partners:  John Haeckel, Judith (Duff) 
Founder:  Colleen Sullivan

Email Us at Bipolar World


About Us  Add a Link  Advance Directives  Alternative Treatments  Ask the Doctor   Ask Dr. Plyler about Bipolar Disorder   Ask The Doctor/ Topic Archives  Awards  Benny the Bipolar Puppy  Bipolar Chat  Bipolar Children  Bipolar Disorder News  Bipolar Help Contract  Bipolar World Forums  Book Reviews  Bookstore  BP & Other mental Illness   Clinical Research Trials & FDA Drug Approval   Community Support   Contact Us  The Continuum of Mania and Depression   Coping   Criteria    Criteria and Diagnosis  Criteria-World Health Disabilities,  DSMV-IV   Dual Diagnosis  eGroups  Expressions (Poetry, Inspiration, Humor, Art Gallery, Memorials  Family Members   Getting Help for a Loved One who Refuses Treatment  Greeting Cards  History of Mental Illness  Indigo  Job and School  Links  Manage Your Medications  Medications   Medication and Weight Gain    News of the Day  Parent Chat  Pay for Meds  Personal Stories  Self Help  Self Injury  Significant Others  Stigma and Mental Health Law  Storm's Column  Suicide!!!  The Suicide Wall  Table of Contents   Treatments  Treatment Compliance  US Disability  Veteran's Chat  What's New?