Finally, help

12 Twelve

The summer of 2000 was nothing short of chaos!! Zack was on no meds, and his behavior was at an all time worse. I had parted ways with Dr. Y because he did not seem to have my son’s best interests in mind. I was not interested in just getting medication, I truly wanted to know why my son behaved the way he did. I approached the subject of bipolar with him which he did not want to discuss. I pointed out the similarities of my son’s behavior and all of those discussed in the book, and he did not seem interested to what I had to say.

Many in the medical community still dispute that fact that young children can have bipolar disorder. It is a difficult diagnosis to make; some believe it is the current fad diagnosis to make for children with behavioral disorders. I also told him we had decided no more medication, to which he replied “Well, looks like you don’t need me anymore. I won’t schedule a follow up appointment.”

Once again I was more determined than ever to find the person that could help us since it seemed I was not able to find the answers myself. I placed a call to an acquaintance at the psychiatric hospital I was now working at again, however sporadically. I had decided I needed some kind of break from being a full time mom, so I began working PRN, “as needed”, at the hospital, which was approximately three times a month and only on weekends when my husband was home with the children. This would allow me to be up to date on new information, medications, and theories. I knew the Social Worker for the adolescent unit, so I spoke with her. She proved to be so informative, kind and patient while listening to my dilemma, my complaints, problems and frustrations. I asked her for the best child psychiatrist in my town, this is who I had decided would help my son. She recommended two psychiatrists, both in the same practice.

I made a call to the first doctor’s office, and to my dismay he was not accepting any more patients, his case load was full. He did however; refer us to his colleague in his same group. Again, I was on the phone to find out what I could about this doctor, and from everyone I was given a glowing recommendation for him. The appointment was made and the next phase of our journey begins.

Let me first say, I truly believe this doctor has saved us. These may be strong words, but this journey with our son had been so difficult, hopeless and heartbreaking, and this man has been so helpful, kind and understanding. The first visit was approximately 1 1/2 hours long.

I left feeling like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders.  This man gave us hope when we had no hope left. My husband was out of town during this initial visit so I immediately called him to give him the good news; I had found the person that can help us!!! Dr. X asked so many questions about Zack, about us, about our family, something Dr. Y. never did. He actually talked to Zack and I, he sat next to Zack and asked him questions and treated him as a person. Dr. X. was amazed by the medications that had been prescribed to Zack by Dr. Y., telling me he would never prescribe anything until any medical condition was ruled out. I also informed him that I was attempting to help Zack by all natural methods and did not want any pharmaceutical intervention at this time since our experience in the past had been so difficult.

To my amazement he agreed and said he fully supports the all natural alternative if this is what the parents feel is the best choice, and many of his patients did well on this regimen. Again, I was astounded, a doctor who was not opposed to alternative medicine. He began by telling me that there are three medical conditions that “mimic” bipolar disorder, (1) a thyroid condition (2) a streptococcal infection (3) brain injury, or a “hot spot” in the brain.  I will add, that to my knowledge, bipolar disorder has not shown up in anyone in my family or my husband’s family. Having a family member with this disorder is the most common way a person inherits this illness. Dr. X ordered the necessary tests to rule out any of the above medical conditions that might be causing the bipolar/mood swings. All tests came back normal, ruling out any medical cause for his problems. (cont)

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