Dear Dr. Archer,
I am a 25 year old mother of a beautiful 8 year old son. Unfortunately, he's been going through many problems since he was 3. This particular age is significant because that's when I finally became strong enough to leave his abusive father.
Not only was he abusive towards me, but he was more so towards my son. Since I've left, he has not been allowed around us. He continued to harass, stalk and threaten us for about two years after we left, which resulted in charges being pressed and a restraining order issued, which he repeatedly violates.
That being said, since age 3 my son has expressed several symptoms that are concerning.
He began to show signs of withdrawal, and shortly after that he began hearing "voices" that scared him to death. He said the voices continually called his name and one in particular tried to influence him to do harm to himself and others. Yes, even at this early age. The behavior continued and worsened as the years passed.
He began seeing a psychiatrist when he was 4, and he was diagnosed as being bipolar. He was in therapy for the following year until age 5, when we moved to another state. There, we found a new psychiatrist who changed his diagnosis to psychosis and mood disorder, resulting from PTSD from the abuse.
He is now 8 years old and has not responded to any treatment or medication that he has been given over the past 5 years. His condition is worsening -- he is hurting himself, others, and even attempted suicide once. I don't know what else to do to help my son.
Please help me try and figure this out. I desperately want the bright, happy little boy that I know is buried in him somewhere. Thank you in advance.
Hearing voices is a type of psychosis and can be a symptom of severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychiatric problems. Unfortunately, Heather, I can’t make a diagnosis over the internet.
The best thing to do is get another opinion, but this time look for a child and adolescent psychiatrist. If you live near a med school teaching hospital, give a call there for some recommendations on local specialists.
I say this a lot, but the key is to find a reputable doctor you like and trust and then work together to find an appropriate treatment regimen. If he’s hallucinating, this most likely will mean a different med or a medication combo.
Also, you might be interested in "Betty Thinks Her Son Has Paranoid Schizophrenia"
. You will see links in these responses which will take you to even more letters from loved ones who don't know where to turn. You may feel like you're alone, but far from it.
They key is to not give up; your son is depending on you. Obviously he is not getting what he needs, so you need to expand your search for a doctor who will hit on the right diagnosis and the right treatments. It's out there, but unfortunately sometimes it's like searching for that needle in the haystack.
I sincerely wish you and your son success in your search, and all the best in the new year.