HELP severe behavior problems with a 10 year old!

My younger brother was diagnosed with ADHD when he was about 6 and epilepsy (absence seizures) at age 8. He is on concerta for ADHD and depakote for epilepsy they change his doses constantly. He has always had strange behavior issues that shock me and mostly everyone but my mother. I am the oldest child and also have a younger sister that is normal. No child is perfect obviously and I can understand bad behavior but the things I am seeing with my brother is severely disturbing.The strangest thing about his behavior is complete disregard to anyone and anything. He listens to nobody is extremely manic and talks to himself. He absolutely cannot remain quiet for any period of time. He clicks and whistles and makes strange throat noises compulsively. He is also extremely overweight. Now that he is getting older and soon going into middle school these things are becoming more and more disturbing to me because I see other kids his age acting nothing like him and well with him looking like a mental patient im worried about ridicule from peers and even worse progress in school (hes always had horrible progress in school). The worse thing is neither of his medications seems to be helping with either of his conditions and hes on a stronger epilepsy medication than I am and I have grand mal or whatever they call them now. I guess what im getting to is does this seem at all normal? Should I suggest to my mom that he see a psychiatrist?


Re: HELP severe behavior problems with a 10 year old!

Hello avenged,

I am not a doctor so the statemnts below are not medical advice, simply my one cent opinion:

Although I can imagine it must be difficult for you see your brother be so different than most, is it possible that being incredibly different is not a "bad" thing?
What if there is nothing to "fix"? Do you really truly deep down believe your brother is somehow "broken" and needs to be fixed or made normal? What makes normal, normal?

Think about this possibility-- the strange behaviors that are shocking and severely disturbing to you, the behaviors that you wish to fix so that he won't soon be possibly seen as a mental patient by classmates, what if these strange behaviors are extremely comforting to him because of how awkward and isolated he feels? What if these strange behaviors are more than just comforting to him, what if what looks like a total and complete disregard is in actuality your brother showing you what is truly important to him? Is it possible he does not have the same interests as others and does not care to be fake and pretend he does?

From the sounds of it, he does not seem interested in listening to others tell him to be different than who he is.

Isn't that just being genuine?

What if he constantly feels awkward and isolated and alienated because he feels very misunderstood by the most important people around him, his family? What if everyone around him looks at him like he is strange and different, and treats him as strange and different? Is it possible it is more comfortable for your brother to click, whistle and talk to himself than it is to show an interest and talk to others, much less listen to
what they have to say?

I do not think your brother is acting any differently than a young baby acts, seemingly totally indifferent to others and "lost" in their own world. Babies are indifferent in the most beautiful sense. Babies are very much totally engaged in the moment. The difference between a newborn baby acting indifferently and how your brother acts indifferently might be that your brother may act indifferently as he feels extremely confused as to the conflicting messages about who he should be.

Here is what I understand from your post- you love your brother and you are wanting your brother to be normal, you are wanting to fix your brother (through medication) because he seems abnormal when comparing him to others his age. I would consider reexamining the situation from each angle, from the medication on up.

What if concerta is doing exactly the opposite of what you want it to be doing to your brother? Have you looked into the side effects and drug interactions of concerta? Among other issues like "increasing" symptoms of "ADHD", there are certain seizure medications that concerta should not be used with.

Is it possible your brother seems to act similar to a mental patient or a baby, disregarding others and making strange repetitive noises, because he is struggling, just like me and you, to understand himself under very difficult circumstances? What if his young brain is struggling to understand the world around him, confused with frequently changing dosages of his very powerful drugs, and at the same time not understanding how he fits within his family and society in general as they may treat him like he is wrong, abnormal and needs fixing?

Also- if you know that you do not want something to continue and you know you want to try to fix something, it makes sense to also ask yourself WHY that something exists as it does?

What I am saying is this- before you get too confident it is your brother that is acting strange when he acts differently and not you who is acting strange when you act the same as others, make sure you look closely at WHY he does what he does and why you do not want your brother to be who he is when he does those things.

Why do you feel normal is "better" than abnormal? Does being normal somehow make someone more valuable?

Perhaps whatever you think and feel when you see your brother has little to do with his strange behavior but has more to do with you not knowing who to be in relation to him? 

I know from experience my family treats me differently now that they know I have seizures. This is not a bad thing or a fault or something to blame. It is just something to experience.

What I think happens is that some people have difficulty knowing how to relate to me because they are not sure how to relate to what they see as "illness", or abnormalness. Many people do not know how to feel about themselves and others while witnessing strange behaviors like seizures, or like people talking to themselves.

I am thinking that you know what I am speaking about as you also take medication for tonic clonic seizures.  Do you feel that the way that others have related to you based upon your seizures has impacted how you see yourself?

Do you think your brothers strange behaviors have anything to do with him finding comfort with himself as he tries to understand how to feel about himself surrounded by so many people who act so differently than he does?

You mention that your mom does not seem worried, how come if you do not mind me asking?

much love to you and your family






Re: HELP severe behavior problems with a 10 year old!

The biggest problem with him is not that he is different. My sister and I are different in our own ways and have different views and ways of doing things but my brother just seems out of control. Its almost impossible for my mom to find a babysitter for him as our own grandparents uncles and other close relatives refuse to be around him. I see that as a problem for him being sociable later on in life if his own family wont spend time with him. My mom is distant from the whole situation because he is the baby of the family and the only boy. She blames the medicine and his condition for the lack of structure he has been given when people notice that the way she raised my sister and I varies greatly from what shes doing with my brother. His teachers and doctors are all telling her things she needs to do for him because with his current situation it is acting as a learning disability. She doesnt want to hear it. She wants him just to be like all the other kids in his age range. But I do believe he needs some special attention for his mind to grow and function. Shes just being a protective mother I understand that its her instincts but what I think she is doing is holding him back more and setting him up for disaster. Im just really confused at all this I really want him to lead a happy life.

Re: HELP severe behavior problems with a 10 year old!

I know how it feels to be surrounded by people who seems not to understand you. I am an ADHD mother and I feel like it is you as his brother should be the one who understands his situation and protects him. It is hard to live in a place wherein people treat you as different.

When I was in high school at a traditional school, I have experienced to become a victim of bullying.  It was hard for me to cope with everyday lives but when my parents knew that I was being bullied they were the one who protect me and decided to transfer me to an adhd schools than to let me continuing experiencing the life of being a victim.I know you love him but it seems that you don't understand his situation.

For me as a brother you should be proud of him and be his guide. Those actions that you think as irritations might be a feeling of comfort for him. You should try to seek help from someone who knows about adhd and epilepsy to understand him and talk to your mom about your concerns.

Re: HELP severe behavior problems with a 10 year old!

I *LOVE* this!!!  A beautiful way to look at "different" behavior!

  To the original poster: I have three boys with Epilepsy (a genetic disorder, in our case) and sometimes I get a little urge to make one of my boys be more "normal"... it is an urge that leaves me very quickly because I know that as his mother, it is not my job to dictate who he is.  Sure, in all honesty, sometimes it drives me batty and I wish that he'd just stop it and be more typical... (he is a twin and they are 10, like your brother, his brother is typically developing), but that's not who J is... he is who he is and when I just relax about it, I don't have to second guess anything for one minute... He is who he is supposed to be.   And you know what?  He has friends and DOES interact WHEN he wants to and is comfortable doing so.   You love your brother.  Love him enough to let him be who he is.  I admire you so much for caring so much... and I deeply understand how "disturbing" the behaviors can be.

  The one thing that I will say is this: medically speaking, the  throat sounds, manic behavior and uncontrolled "outbursts" (I don't have your post in front of me, I think this is what I remember) CAN be side effects from meds.  The depakote should not cause mania, it should help calm that side of things... but med interactions can and do happen.  Regardless... I would talk to your mom because you shouldn't hold this inside... regardless of the issue, talk to her and let her know how you're feeling.  It could be that she has already spoken to the doc about this.


Jen - mama of Three Amazing Boys who have Epilepsy

Re: HELP severe behavior problems with a 10 year old!

You might consider trying to locate a copy of the Nerves In Collision book (about the many epilepsies) by Walter C. Alvarez, M.D. and the How To (understand) Hyperactivity book (1981) about ADHD Inattentive, central auditory processing disorder, and modern nutrition by C. Thomas Wild. Both books can provide insights here and there into what may be going on (no cures).