Max Gray CHAMP Blog

Here you will find questions asked by the public or general articles of interest on mood disorders in children and adolescents

January 25, 2019

A reader asked about abnormal reactions to stimulants like Vyvanse, and whether having abnormal reactions indicate that the child has bipolar disorder.



I'm not allowed to comment on individual patients or give individual treatment recommendations on this blog.  In the general case, it is not unusual for children with inattention/hyperactivity to respond with agitation or disinhibition when they are given stimulant medications.  A proportion of kids who take...

April 23, 2016
A reader asked:

As a mental health clinician and grandmother of a 19 year old diagnosed with BiPolar at age 16, please tell me where I may seek professional training of this diagnosis/treatment, and to further my own understanding as a grandma.


There is no formal program for being trained as a clinician to treat adolescent or young adult people with bipolar disorder. Depending on where you live, you might try volunteering...

December 28, 2014
A reader asked:

"I am considering adopting a preteen with ADHD (controlled with focalin for focus in school) and mood disorder, which does not require medication, reportedly. The child is described as positive and upbeat, yet all that I read about mood disorder indicates sadness and depression. What are some typical symptoms and/or behaviors I might expect now, and in the future, especially related to mood disorder? Thank you."

December 16, 2014
Question from a reader:

This question is concerning a 20 year old male who has been suffering with depression since (at least) high school. He was prescribed Zoloft at increasing dosages of 25, 50, and then 100 mg over several weeks.

With the 100 dosage he became hypomanic and has now started Abilify along with the Zoloft. Does this mean that the person is bipolar if a hypomanic state is the result of the medication? The level of hypomania was not ever...

April 20, 2014
A reader asked:

Do you think it is common for a young person with the emotional volatility associated with Asperger's (or, as it is now included in the more general, Autistic Spectrum Disorder) to be incorrectly diagnosed with Bipolar disorder?

Dr. Dave:

Yes, we know that happens quite a bit in practice, although we don't know how often. Young people with autism spectrum often get quite angry when routines are changed - they expect...

November 6, 2013
A reader asked:

We would like to have our 11 year old daughter evaluated for BP. Her father has BP2 and my uncle was BP1, so she has family history of it on both sides. We tried to first get her evaluated when she was 7-8 years old and had no luck finding help here where we live (Las Vegas, NV). We tried three different therapists and none of them were able to help her with her issues (separation anxiety, anger, mania). Now that she has hit puberty (approx. for 1...

June 11, 2013
A reader asked:

My son was dıagnosed severe mood dysregulatıon he is 8 years old and uses Abilify 5 MG a day for about 2 years. He has side effects...lower leg pain, hyponutremia, etc. What can we do?

Dr. Dave:

First, make sure he has been properly diagnosed. Two clinics in the UCLA system that have expertise in severe mood dysregulation are the Child Psychopharmacology clinic (310-825-9989 or contact Dr. James McGough, 310-794-...

March 4, 2013
A reader asked:

My 11 yr old son has an appt on Tuesday for an evaluation. He has been experiencing profound sadness, crying, anger in the last months, and feeling like everyone hates him so be hates everyone and threatens to run away or hurt himslef. The bouts of anger has escalated when he was give. A. iPod touch two months ago for his birthday. Setting limits on its usage turns him into an angry and also very sad child. We are open to all kinds of therapy options...

February 24, 2013
A reader asked:

My son was recently diagnosed with mood dysregulation.....our biggest problem is that he presents differently in school....he is very socially anxious and mimics normal to the best of his ability (really well) unless in the comfort of someone he knows very well. My question is, Is it always necessary for a psychiatrist to see the behaviors described. We keep running into "we don't see that here". It was after I detailed out everything he was saying...

January 17, 2013
A reader asked:

My friend's daughter is 15 and was rather recently diagnosed with Bipolar 1. She also appears to have symptoms of ADD , unable to complete even simple tasks, forgetful,loses things, dreamy etc. Is it common to find Bipolar in combination with Add. Are there any articles or publications regarding this subject. I would be very thankful for more information.

Dr. Dave:

Yes, the co-ocurrence of ADHD occurs in between 60...