Before I tell you about the new psychiatrist we met with today, let me tell you about the first one we saw.
In May, after Charlie was having some major rages, his then therapist said it was time to get a psychiatrist involved. There aren't many to choose from around here. We made an appointment with the first available child and adolescent psychiatrist. Now I know why he had an opening within a few weeks of our calling.
Our initial assessment with him was, how shall I say it, um, not good. We were in and out with a diagnosis, prescription and follow-up appointment within about 18 minutes. Granted, I pretty much needed confirmation of what it was and how to help him better, but was not thinking someone who didn't know us from Adam could decipher what exactly was wrong in about 15 minutes. Even though I totally disagreed with his approach, I agreed with his diagnosis and medical treatment. So I started him on Depakote after a long (45 minute) talk with Charlie's pediatrician and some soul searching.
Each subsequent appointment was no more than five minutes and very clinical and matter of fact. Psychiatrists aren't counselors. I know their job is to diagnose and prescribe medicine, but there has to be some kind of happy medium out there that was better than this. This was not right.
After our second appointment (and after giving the Dr. the benefit of the doubt) I made an appointment for an assessment with a different doctor that is affiliated with the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation. I figured he would at least be able to tell me without much doubt if in fact it is bipolar that we're dealing with, or simply an extremely strong willed child.
Today we had that appointment. For starters, the office is a little house downtown that's on the National Historic Register and it was so cozy and welcoming. His appointment was at 11. He came out to meet us and introduced himself to Charlie first. I thought that was pretty cool! Either he or I was in with the doctor for a total of one hour and forty minutes! Just that time amount alone made me so happy!
He was very thorough. He was kind. He was compassionate. He was validating of my parenting methods. He was very knowledgeable. He was helpful. He was positive. He was honest. He was thoughtful. He rocked!
His final verdict was bipolar-NOS and ADD. The ADD part was a bit shocking to me, but makes sense now that he explained it. The impulsivity, the lack or organization (at home and at school), carelessness in school tasks, procrastination, remembering odd pieces of info and not other more important pieces of info, etc.
We are upping his mood stabilizer for now. We are adding in Focalin and some melatonin for hopefully easier/better sleep.
Make no doubts about it, it has been and will continue to be a tough road. But I feel a little more confident now having someone who can make important, educated decisions with me about what's in the best interst of Charlie and our family.
I'm breathing a big sigh of relief!