All Our Trials Seem to be Errors
[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:  All Our Trials Seem to be Errors

My 8 y.o adopted daughter shows textbook signs of early onset bipolar. Her birth mom was dx'd bipolar, schizoaffective disorder among others. My daughter is under a psychiatrist's care. Risperdal was very effective for about 5 weeks, the severe weight gain and progressively less and less results prompted us to switch to zyprexa. She continues to eat like a horse and gain wt. and this med doesn't seem nearly as effective as the risperdal was in the beginning. I am at my wits end....extremely tired, no social life, always walking on egg shells around her and just an nth away of taking her to a residential tx facility. My other children are exasperated also.  My heart won't let me do the residential thing just yet. My sanity says "do so"! Question: any good results with antianxieties such as xanax, klonopin, etc. (not for me....for her LOL). I'm feeling like these antipsychotics may be messing up her brain chemistry even more. I know it's trial and error with this illness....however, all of our trials seem to be errors.  : (   Your professional opinion is greatly appreciated. Disrupting the adoption is absolutely NOT an option. We love our daughter tremendously. We're just tired, as i know she is.

Thank you, in advance, Doctor.

Dear Ms. Lí --

Sorry to hear you're going through this.  A couple of thoughts: make sure the psychiatrist knows how burned-out you're getting.  With young children, there is always a desire to go slowly and cautiously.  At this point, if I understand correctly, you have tried two different approaches.  Standard treatment of this illness includes many, many more options.  So my first point: even though you are already really tired of this, you are really actually at the beginning of the medication approaches. 

And the second point: overall, your daughter may benefit from a more aggressive approach, moving through medication options more quickly searching for good symptom control and fewer side effects, if you factor in the need for the rest of the family to see better outcomes quickly. In other words, if she starts losing you because you are so tired of dealing with this -- losing you in the sense of emotional distance, for example -- that is a risk for her, to be considered alongside the risk of giving a medication and inadequate trial because you're in a hurry.  Sorry, this is kind of a complex issue. A good psychiatrist should be able to factor the needs of your family into the decision-making process, although it is not easy for anyone involved.

There is a lovely book about Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, by Julie Fast.
It is written primarily for spouses of people with bipolar disorder, but I'll bet you can find some useful material in there. Likewise, the website of the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation ( ) may provide some support for you and your family as well as great information.

Your devotion and dedication to your daughter is extremely admirable.  I hope that you get some breathing room soon.

Dr. Phelps


Published October, 2008

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?