Dr. Mehmet Oz discussed juvenile bipolar disorder and symptoms of thyroid disease on Sept. 9 episode of the Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Oz’s guest was Liza Long, author of the blog, “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother.” Long is the mother of a child who has bipolar disorder.
Long started her blog after reading about Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old man who gunned down 20 children and six adult staff members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.
Before the shooting, Lanza fatally shot his mother at their home. He then committed suicide by shooting himself in the head shortly after his rampage.
The Sandy Hook incident was the deadliest mass shooting at a high school in U.S. history. The tragedy launched a national debate about juvenile mental illness, with news reports speculating Lanza likely suffered from depression, schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder.
Obviously, Long is not Adam Lanza’s mother, but named her blog “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” to identify herself as a woman dealing with a child who has severe mental illness.
Interestingly, Liza had placed her son, Michael (not his real name), in a psychiatric hospital shortly before the Newtown shootings. Long said her son suffers from bipolar disorder and had pulled a knife on her at age 10.
By age 11, she had to call the police to subdue him after she became concerned he would hurt himself or someone else. Michael had a history of bizarre, violent behavior starting from kindergarten.
Long started her blog because she wanted to help other parents who are experiencing similar problems with their own children. Liza has since written a book, “The Price of Silence.”
Liza said no parent ever imagines her child would become violent or suffer mental illness, and said parents with mentally ill children need help and resources to cope and shouldn’t hide in shame.
Liza said Michael was eventually diagnosed with bipolar I disorder and was prescribed lithium. Thanks to medication and proper medical attention, Michael has not threatened her or harmed himself or anyone else in almost two years.
Dr. Oz said as a father of four, he couldn’t imagine how devastating it must be to be afraid that your own child could hurt or kill you.
Bipolar I disorder is a mood disorder characterized by wild mood swings, aggressive behavior, severe depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety. Many people with bipolar I don’t get the help they need, but the condition can be managed with medication and requires lifelong treatment.
Long hopes by going public with her situation, she can help erase the stigma of mental illness so other parents and their children get the help they need. “My son deserves the same happy, productive life that all children deserve,” Liza said.
Dr. Oz’s Thyroid Eyebrow Test
On a separate segment, Dr. Oz discussed the symptoms of low thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, and how to identify if you have a thyroid problem.
If you have trouble losing weight or feel exhausted or depressed for no reason, you may have a sluggish thyroid. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, depression, chronic fatigue, constipation, dry skin, thinning hair and sensitivity to cold.
To find out if you have a sluggish thyroid, Dr. Oz recommended two tests: One is the eyebrow test you. Dr. Oz said you may have hypothyroidism if you have thinning eyebrows and if your eyebrows do not extend all the way to the far edge of your eye near your temple.
Another is the thyroid-tendon test. If the reflexes in your tendons (like the one below your knee when it’s bent) are too wild, you may have an overactive thyroid, also known as hyperthyroidism.
If your reflexes are too slow, you may have a sluggish thyroid. You should see a doctor if you suspect you have thyroid issues, as thyroid disruptions can cause weight gain, depression, heart disease, infertility, muscle weakness, osteoporosis, coma and even death.