Could My Son Have a Sleeping Disorder
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Q:  Could My Son Have a Sleeping Disorder

At the age of 10, my son was diagnosed with ADD and prescribed ritalin, at age 14 he was diagnosed with GAD, OCD and depression and we tried adderal, dexadrine, wellbutrin, and zoloft, at different times, in different combinations.All through his life, he has also had a lot of problems getting to sleep at night and waking up in the morning, although the problem was always treated like a symptom of one of the other disorders. We have tried clonodine but that scared me and tylenol pm, but that make him too groggy.    When he went away to college last fall, he had been having problems with mood swings, but seemed anxious and ready to start his own life. He made the decision to stop taking his zoloft (because he thought it interfered w/his sleep and he wanted to see if he could handle himself without the meds). Soon the depression and anxiety was in full bloom along with the insomnia, of course. We got him back into therapy and after 3mos. finally found a psychiatrist for him. The diagnosis was bipolar II with depression. He is currently on 150mg of zoloft and 600mg of neuronton. His mood has stabilized nicely and he no longer seems to have the mood swings or the depression, but the insomnia is almost as bad. I know that he has missed classes,and appts.  with both his therapist and his psychiatrist. At home it takes an hour of constant prodding to get him up and an hour for him to come out of the fog he is in! Even when he is in bed at a decent time, he is still a total zombie!  I can only imagine the problem he is having at school! I have also noticed a bit of moodiness at those times, but perhaps he forgets his zoloft at times.  He also has problems keeping track of days. He may think he took it, but in actuality he may be thinking of yesterday or the day before.
   My questions:
      Do you think he could have a sleeping disorder as well?
      Should we look into a sleep clinic?(My husband was recently diagnosed with sleep
         apnea) Motivation is also problem...putting his intentions into action. 
      Any suggestions or websites?
Finally, he seems to have so many things wrong with him and I realize that many of them overlap, but is there any way to narrow these issues down?  Everytime I try to research any of these problems online, I am totally overwhelmed...I don't know which disorder is causing which problem and it's hard to find any answers.  He is a bright kid, with a lot of potential, but I wonder and worry that his years in college will not be as productive for him as they should. The last thing he needs, is to feel like a failure.
   Any suggestions?

Dear Jean -- 
First read this set of
basics on bipolar disorder.  Then read this site on bipolar II per se. Then read this site to confirm your understanding of routine expert recommendations about bipolar disorder treatment with medications. 

Then you'll be ready to start trying to figure out the sleep story as potentially a separate problem, which on the whole it sounds like it's not. 

Dr. Phelps 

Published May, 2002 

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

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