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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD mixed bipolar disorder II

02/23/2010

Question:

My son is 15 years old and he was recently diagnosed with ADHD and Bipolar II disorder. We would like to know how we can give him the opportunity to have as normal of a life as possible while he grows and learns how to live with both of these disorders.

Answer:

There are psychoeducational groups where families can learn more about the disorders and how to live with them. Check with your local mental health center or university child psychiatry clinic for psychoeducational psychotherapy. Also see Dr. Mary Fristad's book Living with a Moody Child. If your local library doesn't have it, they might be willing to order it.
 
Good habit formation will help avoid problems. Good habits are important for everyone, but especially for someone who has trouble focusing attention. Once you have a good habit, you don't have to pay attention to that anymore. Both disorders involve difficulty with impulsiveness, so learning to stop and think before acting will be important.

Medication helps with both disorders, but has side effects ranging from nuisance to dangerous. One of the worst side effects for the bipolar medicine is excessive appetite and weight gain, possibly leading to diabetes if not controlled. Hence, the need for good eating habits with a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, lean meat, wild ocean fish, low-fat dairy, and whole-grain cereal (no deep-fried food such as chips or fries).

One of the bipolar medicines causes great thirst, which should be slaked with water, not sweet beverages. Because many of the mood-stabilizing drugs cause a wasting of vitamins, it would be advisable to take a multi-vitamin/mineral.

For more information:

Go to the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder health topic, where you can:

Response by:

L Eugene Arnold, MD, MEd L Eugene Arnold, MD, MEd
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University