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Anxiety and Stress Disorders (Children)

Eyelash Pulling and Bipolar Disorder

02/14/2008

Question:

My niece is 7 years old. She was but on Methylin (spelling?) without the proper testing for bipolar. Her Mom went and spoke to her pediatrician and told them numerous things about her. Without seeing her, he put her on this medication. Her mother decided one day she didn`t need it anymore and took her off of it. She has been on several different mood stabilizers and anti-depressants. She took her off of them. She has twisted out all of her eyelashes and started pulling out her eyebrows. She is uncontrollable, when before she was a normal kid. Could it be possible that she never needed these medications and they are causing her to act out and pull her hair out?

Answer:

Eyelash pulling is a “nervous habit” which is not uncommon in children, but it may or may not be related to anxiety per se.  Methylphenidate is a stimulant which is approved for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

I cannot speak to the accuracy of her diagnosis. If you are concerned about either the medication regimen or the diagnosis, I would suggest that the child be evaluated by a mental health professional familiar with childhood behavioral problems.

For more information:

Go to the Anxiety and Stress Disorders (Children) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Floyd R Sallee, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati