My son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 12 and the doctor recommended long term residental placement. I was not ready for this and thank God I did not agree. Fortunately he responded to Lithium but he was also on an antidepressant for a few years. He started to get very depressed and I went to a new psychiatrist who specialized in Adolescent Bipolar illness. She took him off the antidepressant and paradoxically he became much less depressed. Along with this, his doctors after both psych hospitalizations at age 12, very honestly explained his disease to him. At the time I was so sure this was a good approach but in retrospect it was the best decision. Today he is 20 years old, a junior in college and is doing great. When he started college 2 years ago he decided against medical and mother's advise to stop his medication. He did well for 2 years but this past summer he asked to see the psychiatrist and went back on medication because he said he felt his symptoms were returning. I had not noticed any change in him. However, I believe that it is because of the honest and open approach everyone took about his illness, he learned what he needs to do to stay healthy. Also he insisted from the beginning that the whole family go into therapy not just him. A very smart decision for a little boy. The illness affects the whole family especially his brother who is 2 years older than he is. Often he was the brunt of his brother's angry outbursts. We were all in therapy for almost 6 years and I feel it was an important part of his tremendous improvement. If I can be of any further help or support please contact me. Also I wish you, your son and the rest of your family much luck and will keep you all in my prayers. Geri.