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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4286
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My son is 16 and was recently IVCd, we now have him in a substance

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My son is 16 and was recently IVC'd, we now have him in a substance abuse rehab facility due to chronic drug use. He was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 8 and life with him has quite honestly been a nightmare, the older he got, the worst the problems became. Long story short the doctor at the hospital has diagnosed him with Cyclothymia. Everything I have read leads me to Bipolar Disorder, which would actually fit him to the letter. My problem is how can a doctor that has only spent a few days with him come to this conclusion when we have been seeing doctors for his behavior/mood problems for years
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

I agree with you that it would be difficult for a doctor to make a decision of a diagnosis after only a few days of observation, it is possible, but it is difficult.

Dr. Z :

Also the ADHD diagnosis, the medication use, and drug use also can make a diagnosis difficult as well as these can all compound and present with symptoms similar to Cyclothymia

Dr. Z :

In fact Cyclothymia is considered a milder version of Bipolar Disorder, where a patient has episodes of Hypomania and a mild-moderate depression

Dr. Z :

Here is a good link explaining Cyclothymia in more detail for you

Dr. Z :

But if you want a more accurate diagnosis you can request for an assessment psychologist (or go to one yourself with your son) to do a thorough evaluation on your son to confirm diagnoses.

Dr. Z :

An assessment psychologist runs a battery of tests on your son, then writes a full report in which will be explained to you and your son in full detail about the diagnoses and treatment recommendations. Also a copy of that report will also be given to you.

Dr. Z :

This is considered the best method to get a firm diagnosis for your son that is considered objective

Dr. Z :

I can also recommend a good assessment psychologist near you if you would like as well

Customer:

We have been to psychologist for years. We live in NC I have been from Raleigh to Greenville, but I have heard that it is very difficult to get a bipolar diagnosis for a child. Is that true and if not why hasn't someone mentioned that before now

Dr. Z :

For younger children it is usually difficult to get a Bipolar Diagnosis, but not for someone who is 16 years old. In fact over half of Bipolar Diagnoses occur before an individual reaches the age of 25, so most adolescents and young adults are accurately being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder

Customer:

I have read books on bipolar disorder for years and everything I have read fits him to the letter, this diagnosis why it does seem the answer to my prayers, I guess so that I can pinpoint the problem to he is not just a rebellious teenager what are the treatments for this should be able to get him properly diagnosed.

Dr. Z :

An assessment psychologist are not common and typically not cheap and this is why they are not often recommended to patients. Also most diagnoses can be straight forward, but I feel that your son has a lot of variables that can impact his diagnosis, which is why a specialist in assessments may be required

Dr. Z :

With the Cyclothymia diagnosis, is your son being treated with mood stabilizer at all?

Customer:

No, he was using prescription drugs, which is what got us into the drug rehab. When I discharged him from the hospital they sent him to the rehab with no meds at all. The social worker told us that it was really strange to see that usually they come to the rehab on all types of meds. He has taken Prozac and Lexapro in the past but other than his ADHD meds which he refuses to take that is all I know that he has taken. Also, how to I go about finding and assessment psychologist?

Dr. Z :

You did not mention it with the other medications, so I just wanted to make sure.

Customer:

It seems that doctors have always been quick to label him, am I assuming that there is some sort of stigma for someone that has bipolar disorder. I know it is a disorder but can people not go on to live productive lives?

Dr. Z :

I can find an assessment psychologist for you, I would just need your zip code or the name the nearest major city you would want to go to. So with a Bipolar Disorder, antidepressants may make him worse actually and can trigger Mania episodes, which I am sure you are aware of the symptoms associated with mania. This is why an antidepressant should not be given to someone with Bipolar disorder, unless they are on a mood stabilizer as well. The same rule goes to stimulant medications associated with ADHD as well. I am surprised that he was not put on a quality mood stabilizer with the Cyclothymia diagnosis

Customer:

We are in Eastern NC between Raleigh and Greenville

Dr. Z :

There should be no stigma to the Bipolar diagnosis, it is a disorder that causes these symptoms at no fault to his own. They may be labeling him and dismissing him because of substance abuse. I have seen that unfortunately by some professionals.

Dr. Z :

Okay I will look up assessments psychologists in Raleigh and Greenville for you and compile a list, give me a few minutes please

Dr. Z :

So I saw one psychologist that specializes in testing and evaluation, mood disorders, and ADHD in Greenville

Dr. Z :

And I believe that three psychologists in Raleigh are good as well because they specialize in testing and evaluation, mood disorders, and ADHD as well

Dr. Z :

I think the psychologists in Raleigh are a better fit for your son

Customer:

Thank you so much I feel like I am closer to having this nightmare come to an end or this may be just the beginning. Life has been such a roller coaster for the past 9 years. Again thanks for your information

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4286
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
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  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
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