bipolar disorder, Dr. Paul Markovitz  Q. First let me start with telling you my younger brother has bipolar. It may be from my fathers side of the family. As far as my daughter, we are struggling almost everyday. She is bright, over energized, strong-willed, and seemingly out of control. It seems she does not retain day to day lessons. She appears to not be socially ready for school, only because of her lack of ability to stay focused enough to follow through. She gets up and ready for the day, but if you put demands on her; such as: we need to get food, let's go to the bank, or just "no," she could be set into a spell that may last 20 to 45 minutes. Sometimes she will go goofy on me, crying then as if you flip a switch laughing. We are past the struggles of the threes. Should I be considering getting help? My 7 year old I could give the 3 count to by this age a get movement by the time I say 2. I'm by no means a perfect parent, and my husband seems to have a lot more patients than I. It just seems we should not be having such a struggle with our 5 year old. Could it be the signs of something passed down, like my brother?

  A. All of your suppositions are possible, or she may just be a troubled child that will get "back in the groove" with time. It is impossible for me to tell you what the right answer might be. Take her to a psychiatrist or psychologist and get a work-up that will start to come up with answers for you and her. Your daughter deserves a good work-up, and not just an answer from someone (me) who has never seen her or gotten a good history.