Q. My daughter has attention deficit (hyperactive) disorder, ODD, Conduct Disorder, Social Disorder and bipolar disorder. She is taking 5 mg Ritalin, 20 mg Adderall and 375 mg Depakote a day. The dose is not right yet (just over a month with the Depakote spr) and she will go from one mood to another. I never know what to expect from her hitting me to her throwing our food away. She is on probation and they are dealing with her as a normal teen. She is 14. They want me to go to a parenting class (for normal families) and I need a support group for families with children like my daughter. I find it very difficult to deal with her violent mood swings, etc. How am I to control her when she is going through this? I am also disabled and unable to stand up to her when she is violent. Will she even out when her meds are right? I feel so alone and lost.


  A. She will even out when her meds are right, but no one can tell you what the best ones are until she is on them and they are working. Depakote is good, but she may do better on Effexor XR, Topamax, or Risperdal. It sounds like your doctor is on the right track. Let them know clearly about your need for a quick resolution and needs.

Also, talk with your daughter's therapist or whomever is doing family therapy. Let your daughter know that illness or not, certain behaviors are not tolerable. If this boundary is crossed, there are consequences that the therapist can help set up. These can range from grounding to sending her to a juvenile correctional center. It is harsh, but until the medications are right, you have to make sure you are not hurt. Further, certain behaviors are self-indulgent, and hurting parents is never acceptable.