I'm not sure how to ask this, but we have reached a point where our entire family is at a loss.  My son is 7, but has had severe headaches since he was old enough to tell us about them.  He has also had digestive problems (much of which manifest as severe constipation) since he born.  We have been to doctors and still, no answers.  An allergist was unable to get a good test because he did not react to the control.  This past winter he had his tonsils and adenoids out after a sleep study and some specialists.  Even after putting him through all of that, he is really not any better. 
All of this comes together and turns into these crazy rages.  He screams at the top of his voice, says terribly hateful things, throws and kicks things, crys and generally just melts down until he has been alone for awhile.  When he was little he would give himself time outs to feel better, but he seems to be less in control as he gets older.  The worst part is that he seems to understand that he is behaving this way and feels helpless to stop himself. 
We are not spoilers, I promise and most of the time he is very sweet and funny he is a very affectionate child and has many stuffed guys on which he dotes.  We have tried everything from talking to punishment (though we do not spank, another big argument between us parents, it is just not something I find useful) 
Has anyone ever seen this type of behavior?  I don't know where to begin in speaking to his doctor, I'm pretty sure he things I'm exaggerating his behavior, but we really don't do that.  He is a very bright child and, like the begining said, we are all just at a loss, but want to help him. 
Thank you all for any suggestions you might have for where to look for more information or how to attack this issue with him.







Tags: anger, behavioral issues, rages, tantrums

Views: 184

Replies to This Discussion

I would urge you to take your son to a psychiatrist; if you could videotape a few of his rages that would probably help tremendously with a diagnosis. I would be very skeptical of anyone who claimed your son's behavioral problems were caused by allergies. When I was a kid (years ago) my mom was convinced my behavioral problems were caused by food allergies and she spent thousands and thousands of dollars taking me to see a food allergy doctor who turned out to be a total quack. I'm certain that there's nothing you've done as a parent that has caused these problems. Also, when I was a kid I had severe digestive problems and stomach aches. There were times when I'd spend an hour or more curled up in a fetal position on my favorite couch because my stomach hurt so much. Years later, when I was in my late 20's, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease.
Thank you Rob, I don't think it is food allergies, I have severe seasonal allergies and it was more of a question of seasonal allergies causing headaches that lead to temperament issues. He seems to have migraines, but John has some great points too. It feels like we have a 13 year old girl, not a 7 year old boy. Of course, it has felt that way since he was 3.
Hi Michele,
Sorry you're going through this with your son. Our son is 8 and is currently being treated for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Much of what you describe in your son is the same with ours. He's the sweetest, most caring kid, but he has out-of-control rages that actually scare me sometimes. We finally started seeing a therapist last spring and learned about GAD. Turns out that rage is a common symptom. For our son, he's perfect in school, but it stresses him out so much that when he gets home, one wrong look or word can send him raging. He feels safe at home so he's comfortable letting it out.

We've tried some different meds with different results, but we seem to have found the right mix for him. I know not everyone believes in/approves of medicating kids, but for our son, the meds in addition to regular therapy is the best solution. The ultimate goal is get him the coping skills he needs to deal with the anxiety and wean off of the meds.

Please feel free to email me if you want more specific info. For my son's privacy, I'd rather not share more details on here. robynshopsalotgmailcom
I think the idea of seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist is probably the best put forth. All I can add is my sympathy---my oldest daughter used to have terrible night terrors/rages where she would scream and scream, sometimes for hours (this is when she was 6). Holding her didn't help, talking didn't help. Sometimes we were so desperate we would put her in the basement just so my husband would be able to sleep for work---I felt terrible about this but actually the change of scenery seemed to help, startling her or calming her down somehow. She didn't do this every day, but several times a month. Eventually a friend suggested talking meditations/visualizations, which helped, calming her down much faster than anything else I'd tried. After seeing a psychiatrist for other problems she was having (she was diagnosed with ADD), one suggestion we got was to increase the amount of sleep she was getting at night. Apparently 10 hrs wasn't enough... at that stage she needed 12! She's still volatile and has some anger issues, but the night terrors ended and the morning tantrums decreased a lot. It's hard not to get mad back at her, but it never actually helps---giving time outs is my usual best response, but that doesn't work when you're trying to hustle them out the door to the school-bus (which remains our hardest time). She often says she suppresses her anger so hard at school that when she gets home, she just has to lash out. I admit we still haven't really found a solution for that. She's 10 now... I'm not looking forward to teen years ;) ) And as others have said, every child is different. If your son is in pain from his stomach and/or head, it could well turn into lashing out or irritability... or it could have nothing to do with that. Having a child in pain and not knowing what to do is the worst part, I think. :(
He is going back to his ped. tomorrow. I think the reason for the headaches and stomach aches has a great deal to do with the weather. He had night terrors until about 3 years of age. They were awful. Tomorrow will be a good time to talk about seeing a neurologist and a head doctor. Thank you for your helpful response.
It may be some kind of seizure activity too. There are a wide variety of seizure related symptoms and some seizures are (in some people) triggered by certain foods. I worked with a guy who couldn't have high fructose corn syrup because it gave him grand mal seizures.

Or.

It could be a form of migraine. Do you or the father have migraines that run in your families? I have mild migraines that I have been able to control by diet, exercise, and avoiding certain triggers (bright lights).

Have you kept a journal and tracked his meltdowns? I would do that. Whenever he has an episode write down what happened before the episode (what he ate, what his behavior was like, any other possible triggers).

I would focus on building up his strengths too. My boy (8) has a very mild disability and we (my wife and I) have him in a variety of activities that he enjoys and is good at (swimming, karate).

Good luck and please give updates!
Michelle, Crohn's disease is a possibility. Dairy products and bacteria associated with milk may be culprits. There is a test called the elimination diet that can point out which foods a person cannot tolerate. One starts with very few items to eat. These foods are those which are rarely eaten. If there are no symptoms, then one adds one suspect food. Then, when the symptoms recur, you know that item causes them. The most common foods in the diet are the most likely to cause trouble. Even the favorite foods are likely to cause problems. Milk, wheat (yeast, gluten), peanuts, etc.
There are so many websites with info on this diet, which is also called the exclusion diet, that I suggest you just Google “elimination diet” and read them. When replacing cows milk, don’t try another mammal’s breast milk, try Rice Milk. Soy is now common in our diets so avoid soy milk at first, too.
Good luck.
I read some of the comments and I have to agree with most of what's been said. it is *so* hard to have a child go through this. You are doing just fine, I second the video tape idea. As for allergies, the most common ones for migraines are wheat, dairy, & citrus. My best friend in high school had migraines (severe) and those where what triggered it the most often. Also, food sensitivity tests can be really inaccurate, even if you do actually have a problem. You could try to keep a food journal to see if you notice a pattern, you could even include #hrs of sleep. Even then you still may need medication. Do whatever works for you & your son and don't let anybody tell you that it's 'wrong' in some (usually vague & dogmatic) way. Keep calm and carry on. Good luck.

It could be a Complex Partial Seizure  With the sleep issues I suggest you try to get the CPS checked out first since it's one of the hardest things to spot and fix if it's not a full blown seizure.  A regular sleep study is not enough. They need to wire him up all over to a machine that will follow his brain wave patterns.  Even then it can be missed on rare occasions.  If he has FCPS then he will be treated with an anti seizure drug.

 

If he has Childhood Bipolar he will need medicationS.  This will take awhile to fix up the cocktail that will work and it's fluctuating dosage.  If he needs the meds they can actually rewire him so his future life will be much much better.  However- these drugs need to be respected and monitored. The side effects can be unreal.  Make sure they have fully ruled out FLS before they move on to Bipolar.  Childhood Bipolar is the popular diagnosis these days and it's more likely to be diagnosed than FLS which needs to be ruled out.

 

Go to a really good Pediatric Neurologist.  Drive hours if you must to get the guys that work with the hard cases.

 

Migraines could be a cause.  http://mentalhealth.about.com/cs/familyresources/a/kidmigraine.htm Migraines can even cause the tummy aches.  Abdominal migraines http://headaches.about.com/od/migrainediseas1/a/what_abdom_mx.htm

 

If your doctor isn't taking you seriously Get Another Doctor.  If you are loathe to do that right off the bat- try videotaping one of his rages.  In fact- video tape one of his rages.  There may be signs of the cause in the tape that one wouldn't normally know to look for.

 

The drugs used to treat this stuff can be really messed up but they offer you your best hope.  Read up on them as they are tried.  If your child had diabetes you'd give them insulin.  Don't think that these issues are any different.  Feel free to contact me if you have continuing issues.  I've been there and done that 3 times.

 

I am not a medical professional- this is just an example of personal experiences.  Yeah me

An update.  Due to the grouping of the symptoms we have a referral to a childhood psychologist and will have an appointment as soon as they are open again.  I'll share more when we know but the concerns are generalized anxiety, childhood bi-polar disorder or autism.  When he said he wanted to kill himself because he didn't want to do homework (seriously, homework) it was just too much.  It did not seem serious, but it is not a risk I'm willing to take.

A mental health clinician should make sure that there are no physical causes (migraines, seizures, etc) of the problem before diagnosing someone.

Yes, we have looked at all physical causes first and found nothing.  We will do an MRI if we have to, but it would require mild sedation so we are waiting to see what the mental health guys suggest in that direction.

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