QUESTION:

Dear Dr. Heller,

HELLO!  IN THE LAST WEEK I HAVE NOTICED MY SON BANG HIS HEAD ON THE GROUND.  AT FIRST IT WAS ONLY WHEN HE WAS UPSET OR TIRED, BUT TODAY HE SEEMED TO DO IT FOR NO REASON AT ALL.  I’M NOT SURE IF ITS BECAUSE HE KNOWS HE GETS THE ATTENTION WHEN HE DOES IT, BECAUSE WE AUTOMATICALLY SAY NO OR PICK HIM UP SO HE WON’T HURT HIS HEAD, BUT IT IS A CONCERN TO ME.

IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT! HE IS A VERY HAPPY ONE YEAR OLD AND I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT COULD HAVE BROUGHT THIS ON!?  I WAS TOLD THIS COULD BE A SIGN OF SOME DISEASE, IS THIS TRUE?

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR RESPONSE!

ANSWER:

The most likely diagnoses are childhood onset bipolar disorder or depression – which may be psychotic.  http://www.BiologicalUnhappiness.com/BiPlrKid.htm can give you information on bipolar. I take this problem very, very seriously.  Risperdal is a great first medication while other possibilities are being worked on like depression or bipolar.  Depression is far more common in children than was previously known.

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