The Bottom Line
By David J. Miklowitz, Ph.D., and Elizabeth L. George, Ph.D.; 356 pages. Subtitle: What You Can Do to Help Your Child and Your Family
In many ways, teenagers are naturally bipolar, swinging from manic excitement to depression just as a normal expression of adolescent hormonal chaos. But if your teen swings more sharply and disastrously, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder may be appropriate. This comprehensive, accessible, and somehow upbeat book tells you how to get one and what to do with it -- at home, in the doctor's office, and at school.
- Focuses on the unique challenges of bipolar disorder during the teen years
- Offers charts and strategies to help manage BP at home
- Stresses the positive benefits of medication and psychiatric help
- Empowers parents, but doesn't expect them to do all the work
- Writing is easy to read, upbeat, and non-judgmental
- Of course, if you don't have a teen at this time, the book won't be of immediate use
- If you're down on drugs and doctors, you won't care for the advice given here
- Stories of out-of-control kids and broken homes can be daunting
- Part 1: Understanding Bipolar Disorder in Teens
Chapter 1: "What's Happening to My Teenager?"
- Chapter 2: A Close Look at the Symptoms
Chapter 3: Getting an Accurate Diagnosis
- Chapter 4: Living With Bipolar Disorder: What Your Family Can Expect
- Part II: Treating Adolescent Bipolar Disorder
Chapter 5: "How Did My Teenager Get This Illness?"
- Chapter 6: Medications for Bipolar Disorder in Teens
Chapter 7: How Psychotherapy Can Help Your Teenager and Your Family
- Chapter 8: Helping Your Teen Accept Ongoing Medication Treatment
- Part III: Helping Your Teen Stay Well
Chapter 9: Family Management and Coping
- Chapter 10: Tools and Tactics for Preventing Mood Episodes
Chapter 11: What to Do When Mania Begins
- Chapter 12: How to Handle Depression
Chapter 13: Dealing With Suicidal Thinking and Behavior
- Chapter 14: Tackling the School Environment
Resources, Bibliography, Index
Guide Review - Book Review: The Bipolar Teen
I've read a couple of books lately that help parents handle mental-health issues like anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder on their own through home-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy -- maybe with an assist from meds and doctors, maybe not. I think those books are valuable, and I had good luck with the anxiety one with my daughter, but at the same time, it's a lot of responsibility to put on parents to now be therapists, too.
So one of the things that really struck me about The Bipolar Child is how thoroughly it is not about that. This is a book that advocates using a medication or two or three, putting your kid and your family in therapy, and doing everything you can as a parent. There are charts and contracts to assist in monitoring bipolar teens at home, but the message is clear: Bipolar in teens is big and bad, and you fight it with every single resource you can get your hands on.
Bipolar disorder takes normal adolescence moodiness and insecurity and overconfidence and kicks them up a notch or ten. The precautions needed bump up against normal teen desires for independence and fun and experimentation. Home can become a war zone as spouses and siblings disagree over how much of the behavior is will and how much is ill. The book gives an unflinching account of that struggle through brief case studies.
Yet the book's matter-of-fact style reassures that although things may be hard as your teen is diagnosed and treated, and the treatment is tweaked again and again in response to manic and depressive episodes, bipolar disorder is something your teen and your family can survive -- a little worse for wear, maybe, but able, eventually, to move on.
If you're afraid your teen might have bipolar disorder, or afraid of your teen who does, this will be a useful, reassuring resource.