Positive Parenting for Bipolar Kids

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2009-06-23
  • Publisher: Bantam
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The Definitive Resource on How to Identify, Treat, and Thrive with a Bipolar Child More than three million American children suffer from some form of bipolar disorder, a life-impairing illness that can cause wild mood swings and even episodes of rage. But as a parent, can you tell the difference between a temperamental, moody child and one facing serious mental illness? Where do you turn if your child's tantrums and meltdowns are wreaking havoc? For families as well as professionals, here is the only book on early-onset bipolar disorder written by pediatric specialists who combine clinical care and research. Drawing from their professional experience and sharing stories of families in their practices, child psychiatrist Janet Wozniak and psychiatric nurse Mary Ann McDonnell guide you in how to: Navigate the "diagnosis tangle" to ensure accurate identification of the disorder Communicate effectively with doctors, teachers, and counselors Find allies and choose a treatment team Help your family cope From medication to coping strategies, this accessible book offers the most up-to-date information as well as inspiration, encouragement, and invaluable wisdom for all involved.

Author Biography

Mary Ann McDonnell, A.P.R.N., B.C., is the executive director of S.T.E.P. Up 4 Kids, a nonprofit organization supporting children and teens with bipolar disorder. A clinical university instructor, she also maintains a private practice in pediatric psychopharmacology.

Janet Wozniak, M.D., is the director of Pediatric Bipolar Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, and assistant professor of psychiatry there and at Harvard Medical School.

From the Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Lost in the Mazep. 1
Diagnosis Tangle: Is it Really-Or Only-Bipolar?p. 13
Spinning Star: What Bipolar Disorder Looks Like in Kidsp. 42
The Whose-Fault Pitfall: What Causes Bipolar Disorder?p. 67
Sound Barrier: How To Talk so Your Doctor Will Hearp. 91
Hidden Allies: Finding the Right People For Your Child's Treatment Teamp. 122
Treatment Twists and Turns: Finding The Best Treatment for Your Childp. 141
Doors And Detours: Finding Psychotherapy That Helpsp. 196
Invisible Elephants: Education, Advocacy, and Iepsp. 212
Defending The Castle: Strategies for Thrivingp. 249
Shock Wave: Coping With Danger and Crisisp. 282
Bibliographyp. 312
Appendicesp. 318
About the Authorsp. 348
Indexp. 349
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


Chapter One

Lost in the Maze

You’re exhausted.

Life with your child is chaotic. You never know what mood she’ll be in from one minute to the next. A simple request might trigger a violent outburst, like the time she heaved a rock through the living room window when you asked her to set the table for supper. Something that was fine yesterday causes a major meltdown today. Last week, she tried to jump out of the car—while it was moving—when she found out that you needed to swing by the post office before picking up her friend.

You’re frustrated.

Your other kids complain: It’s not fair! You buy their sibling anything he wants. You never punish him for hitting or swearing or trashing a room. What’s worse is that you know they’re right. You do treat that child differently. You feel like you’re always walking on eggshells just to keep the peace.

You’ve been looking for answers, but all you’ve found is confusion.

Your mother-in-law chastises you for not being strict enough. Your child’s teacher suggests ADHD. The pediatrician shrugs and reminds you that each child is different. You wonder when parenting got this hard. Maybe you remember a time when it wasn’t this bad. Maybe not. Most days, you feel like you’re trapped in a maze. There’s no map, there are no bread crumbs to follow, and your ball of twine ran out long ago.

Parenting a child like yours is one of the toughest challenges a parent can face. Whether your son or daughter has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder or a different mood or behavior problem or behaves in ways that seem far from ordinary, this book is for you.

We can’t pluck you out of the maze, but we can help you find your way through it.

Bipolar disorder is a complex illness. It doesn’t look the same in everyone who has it. It often looks much different in kids than in adults. Bipolar isn’t like chicken pox, where everybody’s rash looks pretty much the same.

More often than not, it’s “bipolar plus”—plus ADHD, depression, severe anxiety, conduct disorder, and other brain glitches.* Your child might have one, several, or many of these, which makes diagnosis and treatment challenging. Imagine waking up one morning with chicken pox, poison ivy, hay fever, and pneumonia. Where do you begin? How do you tell one from the other? Which do you treat first? Should you treat all of them? How will treating one affect the others?

Bipolar disorder has been around for as long as there have been people, but it’s only been since the tail end of the twentieth century that we’ve started to understand what it is, how it develops, and what to do to help. Now, for the first time

*The formal medical term for “plus disorders” is comorbid disorders (for example, ADHD is a common comorbid disorder; many children who have bipolar disorder also have ADHD).

in history, solid research is joining practical experience—and the result is better diagnosis, more effective treatment, healthier kids, and happier families.

So come with us as we explore this maze. First, we’ll look at the main branches: what pediatric bipolar disorder is (and isn’t), why it’s hard to diagnose and treat, and an overview of treatment options. Other families will chime in with their stories and experiences, too.

Think of Chapter 1 as the map that helps you get your bearings—a place to catch your breath and discover that you’re not alone, and neither is your child.

What is bipolar? Who has it?

Until the early 1990s, scientists and the general public both thought bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) was practically nonexistent in children and teens. But since 1995, research has repeatedly shown that bipolar disorder does occur in kid

Excerpted from Is Your Child Bipolar?: The Definitive Resource on How to Identify, Treat, and Thrive with a Bipolar Child by Mary Ann McDonnell, Janet Wozniak
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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