The Bipolar Child: The Definitive and Reassuring Guide to Childhood's Most Misunderstood Disorder -- Third Edition

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For any caregiver experiencing life with a bipolar child, Demitri and Janice Papolos's The Bipolar Child will be an indispensable reference guide. The material is presented clearly, with lots of helpful charts and lists to aid in receiving proper diagnosis, treatment, and long-term care. All medical information is relayed with the aim of helping parents to ensure effective treatment for their children and includes journal-tracking formats to help caregivers provide accurate information to personal physicians. Importantly, many pages are devoted to discussions about the emotional upheavals that living with a bipolar child can bring, and how parents and children can cope most effectively. The book is filled with families' stories that do a beautiful job providing comfort and inspiration to others. A detailed chapter on hospitalization covers everything from insurance to types of treatments. The authors provide excellent information regarding improved educational practices, with step-by-step instructions for goal-setting with your child and communicating your child's needs to school personnel. The Bipolar Child is a satisfying and wise read. --Jill Lightner

Since it first appeared on bookshelves, The Bipolar Child has made an indelible mark on the field of psychiatry and has become the resource that families rely upon. Now, with more than 200,000 copies sold, the first book about early-onset bipolar disorder is completely revised and expanded.

Bipolar disorder—manic depression—was once thought to be rare in children. Now researchers are discovering not only that bipolar disorder can begin early in life, but that it is much more common than ever imagined. Yet the illness is often misdiagnosed and mistreated with medications that can exacerbate the symptoms. Why? Bipolar disorder manifests itself differently in children than in adults, and in children there is an overlap of symptoms with other childhood psychiatric disorders. As a result, these kids may be labeled with any of a number of psychiatric conditions: “ADHD,” “depression,” “oppositional defiant disorder,” “obsessive-compulsive disorder,” or “generalized anxiety disorder.” Too often they are treated with stimulants or antidepressants—medications that can actually worsen the bipolar condition.
Since the publication of its first edition, The Bipolar Child has helped many thousands of families get to the root cause of their children’s behaviors and symptoms and find what they need to know. The Papoloses comprehensively detail the diagnosis, explain how to find good treatment and medications, and advise parents about ways to advocate effectively for their children in school. In this edition, a greatly expanded education chapter describes all the changes in educational law due to the 2004 reauthorization of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), and offers a multitude of ideas for parents and educators to help the children feel more comfortable in the academic environment. The book also contains crucial information about hospitalization, the importance of neuropsychological testing (with a recommended battery of tests), and the world of insurance. Included in these pages is information on promising new drugs, greater insight into the special concerns of teenagers, and additional sections on the impact of the illness on the family. In addition, an entirely new chapter focuses on major advances taking place in the field of molecular genetics and offers hope that researchers will better understand the illness and develop more targeted and easier-to-tolerate medicines.
The Bipolar Child is rich with the voices of parents, siblings, and the children themselves, opening up the long-closed world of the families struggling with this condition. This book has already proved to be an invaluable resource for parents whose children suffer from mood disorders, as well as for the professionals who treat and educate them, and this new edition is sure to continue to light the way.

Customer Reviews:

  • The Bipolar Child
    I have a now 17-year-old son who was diagnosed with Bipolar/ADHD four years ago and I think this book has been the most straightforward, positive, helpful book out there. It is written in easy-to-understand language (including the diagnostic information), has personal testimonies of other people struggling with Bipolar, and gives lots of suggestions that work. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is struggling with Bipolar, whether it is yourself or a loved one living with a person with Bipolar. It is an excellent resource....more info
  • Very enlightening
    The book clarifies bipolar in children and makes clear the difference between bipolar in adults as compared to children. There is also clarification of bipolar vs ADHD which many bipolar children are mistakenly diagosed as having. If you have an excessively moody child and have ruled out other possibilities, read this book and see if this is your son or daughter....more info
  • Pseudo-science at its worst
    Few books scare me more the "The Bipolar Child". It is impossible to list all of my concerns here, but I'll state a few. The fact that the authors suggest that it is possible to diagnose bipolar disorder in infants is my first concern. While psychological disorders often present slightly differently in children, they do not differ to this extent. The authors broaden the list of symptoms of bipolar disorder to include virtually every behavior exhibited by children. "giddiness" and "silliness" are symptoms of bipolar disorder? Give me a break. More importantly, there is no evidence that the children (or infants) that are diagnosed as bipolar become adolescents or adults with the disorder. IF the disorder actually exists in children (which it may), we should see these children grow into adolescents and adults with bipolar disorder. At present we don't.

    Misdiagnosing children is scary enough, but my biggest concern with this book is that it advocates using "mood stabilizing" drugs before other medications are tried. The one thing that the authors do a good job of is listing all of the negative side effects of the medications that they are advocating. To advocate using anti-convulsants, anti-psycotics, and other very powerful medication on young children without any evidence that they are safe for children is not just irresponsible, it should be malpractice. Take one example: anti-psychotics. Look up "tardive dyskinesia". See if you want your child taking this.

    It frightens me that this book is actually influencing parents and physicians into medicating young children when many other treatments (including behavioral or the much safer stimulant and anti-depressant medications) are readily available and are much safer than "mood stabilizers" that the authors recommend. Read this book if you want, but be sure to research the negative consequences of the treatments that they suggest....more info
  • Dangerous
    While a small number of children most certainly do suffer from a variety of crippling mental illnesses as severe of Bipolar Disorder, parents and professionals alike are bound by reason and ethics to carefully consider how we manage the problems that our children encounter as they grow up. Reading The Bipolar Child saddens me, as it marks the trend in recent years of professionals abandoning careful assessment (thank you, Managed Care) and leaping to treatment without lending a troubled child the time it takes to understand where their troubles come from.

    These are only a few of the issues that I take with this book:

    All children display a range of problem behavior and, in fact, some show more problem behavior than others. This does not mean that they have some sort of "chemical imbalance" that many pediatricians and psychiatrists tout as the rationale for placing kids on powerful drugs. Normal variations in temperament and difficult children have never, until about the last 10 years, warranted medical treatment as the first line of defense.

    Much like exercise and diet are the initial steps in the standards of care for diabetes, helping parents and teachers understand and better manage these disruptive child behaviors should be done before, and not after, a child is placed on a mix of antipsychotics, mood stabilizers and/or anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and stimulants (yes, this is a typical cocktail for the "Bipolar" child).

    Further supporting this notion that we need ti take a more conservative and child-centered approach to treatment is the rising rate of diagnosis and treatment of Bipolar in children. In many areas, kids are being diagnosed with this disorder at rates 2-3 times that of adults. And mind you, as Bipolar disorder is chronic (never goes away after its onset), and its average age of onset is 20 to 30 years, it SHOULD be VERY VERY rare in children. It is not and this sign of the times is a clear warning that we must approach child behavior problems with much more care than has become the standard.


    If you are the parent of a troubled child, remember that whatever new fad diagnosis your child is given by her/his pediatrician in the next 15-minute visit, you, the parent, wield the greatest influence by learning more about managing problem behavior and putting that knowledge into action. Whether you accept this diagnosis or not, the problems are still real and still require your attention. Just act responsibly and understand that the "experts" (including pediatricians, psychiatrists, neurologists, and other M.D.s) are backed by nearly zero research evidence and know little more than you....more info

  • Definitive and Reassuring
    The title says it all. This is a book that knows your questions, even those you haven't thought of yet. And with it comes answers, paths to consider, and just support that you are not crazy, and you are not alone. A very tough illness in adults, bipolar in teens can be even worse. This book is a good place to start on your journey to helping your child and helping yourself....more info
  • The Bipolar Child by Demitri Papolos
    This book provides an explanation of Bipolar Disorder in terms that parents, family members, and nonmedical people can easily understand. As a parent of a child with this disorder, it has helped me better understand the mental processes and resulting behaviors that my son displays. It was a comfort to read the testimonials of other families, learn about the support groups available, and access real strategies for coping on a day-to-day basis. If you have a child, a family member, or know someone with Bipolar disorder, this book will help you!...more info
  • Excellent Resource!
    This is a great book to have. It covers all aspects of this disorder well, even the medications. If you can only get one or two books on the subject, get this one. ...more info
    I have read a lot of data about pediatric bipolar disorder, but this book was the most comprehensive and accurate resource I have encountered. I refer to it as "My Child 101". All you have to do is put her name on it because it is a complete description of what she/we deal with everyday. If you need information on pediatric bipolar disorder this is the only resource you need. It is excellent....more info
  • Very helpful for siblings too
    This book is well written and full of helpful, practical information. .... The book has some good advice for parents on how to make siblings feel safe despite a raging child in the house. This is very important. Many parents assume that siblings are jealous of the attention our sick brother or sister receives. We aren't (at least the ones I know). But it can be scary. Help us feel safe and let us know what (if anything) we can do to make the sick person feel better. The book could have provided more information on the topic of siblings, perhaps, but, nonetheless, I found the book informative and easy to read....more info
  • A neccesary read for anyone involved with bi-polar children
    I highly recommend this book to parents, teachers, counselors, and anyone who works or lives with a child with bi-polar disorder. It is written for the lay-person, so is easy to read. Yet, it is comprehensive and authoritative. It has helped me sort out much confusion regarding my own child and our experiences with him. So many people have tried to help, but it has been like tripping through darkness because much is unknown. This books brings illumination and understanding, which is vital in order to effectively help a child with bi-polar disorder. ...more info
  • Wow! Great insights into this challenging condition.
    This book offers invaluable insights into a horrible condition. Bipolar is by far one of the toughest conditions I have had to work with. This book helps to frame bipolar children in a great context. They are still worthy of love, patience, and respect. I also suggest "The Child Whisperer" by Matt Pasquinilli as a great tool for improving communication and empowering positive behavior with any children. It is especially helpful with bipolar children....more info
  • HIGHLY recommended read
    Just as "What to Expect When You're Expecting" is the must have book for expectant mothers, "The Bipolar Child" is the must have book for parents, caregivers,family members, doctors, teachers and anyone who interacts with or has questions about children with Bipolar Disorder. It is extremelely informative and answers many questions about this illness. I have recommended this book many times over and will continue to do so. ...more info
  • The Bipolar Child
    This book was very helpful. It explained the moods and actions of a Bipolar child. My grandson lives with me and I did not understand his actions and moods. Now I understand much better.

    L. Kappus...more info
  • The "Bible" of Child Onset Bipolar Disorder
    This is the most comprehensive and definitive book I've read. When we first began to consider the possibility that our daughter was bipolar, our psychologist recommended we read "The Bipolar Child". It was as though we had written some of the chapters ourself! Not only do the Papolos' go into great detail about the symptoms of bipolar disorder, they discuss the impact on the family and relationships. Their discussion of medications and side effects is very comprehensive. This is a must have for anyone struggling through the ups and downs of a child with bipolar disorder....more info
  • the bipolar child
    Extemely informative...Written so that the lay person could understand the terminology...I would recommend this book to any parent with a child with a mood disorder. It taught me so much and made me realize that I am not alone out there.........more info
  • Arrived in perfect condition.
    The book arrived in perfect condition - like new. Shipping was quick, took less time than anticipated....more info
  • The Bipolar Child and Matt the Moody Hermit Crab
    I consider this book to be my "Bible" when it comes to questions, information and concerns about children with early onset bipolar disorder. I reference it often and I'm so glad the Papolos's have taken the time to meet and talk with so many people who have children with bipolar disorder. Their information and recommendations are based on information that comes directly from the perspective of parents-something so often missing in books about mental illness in children. I would also recommend that children read Matt the Moody Hermit Crab by Caroline McGee. While there are many books out there for adults, there are not many written for children with this disease. Ms. McGee's book was the first one I was able to find that was appropriate for my son's age and reading level....more info
  • great book
    Understanding your child's emotional challenges can help your child be the best they can be
    A Moment of Peace: Relaxation for Parents AudiobookA Moment of Peace: Relaxation for Children...more info
  • Bi-polar
    I was very happy to find this book during the time that I needed it most. It was definitely a great source of information. ...more info
  • BP in children definitely exists
    I didn't have to read the book to know that BP can be a correct diagnosis in children. During my childhood I had intense emotions and fluidity of thoughts. Standardized tests could not measure creativity in science -- I blew them away. History; forget it. Regardless, the same emotion and thought issues that existed throughout childhood translated to adulthood. Anger became extreme and dangerous in adulthood. This is when I extensively researched psychiatric diagnoses and discovered that BP fit me perfectly. Kay Jamisons book confirmed my research. Many years and much medication later, I'm more normal than normal people.

    Please, please believe that childhood BP exists. BP starts at a VERY early age. It is very real and treatable. Find a good pdoc and partner with him/her to help your child....more info
  • Wow it is incredible
    I only knew the real basics about Bipolar. This book takes you through every aspect, following up with real life stories.

    It is a must read for anyone. Even if you only know someone that has a bipolar child!...more info
  • Must read
    The Bipolar Child is informative and well written. It is a must read for professionals who deal with BPS individuals as well as people who have friends or family who are Bipolar. It will give you a whole new way of looking at them, their actions and their families.
    Bill Maddock ...more info
  • review
    I strongly recommend this book for anyone that knows anyone with bipolar or adhd. This book has been an excellent tool and help to our family. It has a lot of comparisons between adhd and bipolar to help be able to tell if you're dealing with bipolar or adhd. This book is truly worth buying....more info
  • Extremely helpful!
    I have been at a loss trying to figure out how my bp son works. This book has helped me immensely. I now have a better understanding of his condition, and most importantly, of him. I've been criticized for so long, and lived in shame because of it. I now see that I'm doing everything right and that I am indeed a good parent dealing with a bad illness, not a bad child. What a relief!!!!...more info
  • Informative extremely helpful book
    This book answered a lot of questions I had. I gave my hardback copy to a friend to keep and needed another one to reference. Very helpful for the parent who needs guidance regarding a diagnosis or questions they may have regarding their child....more info
  • Comprehensive reference for frustrated parents
    Overall, this is a very good book. It contains a good mixture of medical information, real life examples, research findings, and links to resources and support groups. (The later may be especially useful to you.) Unfortunately, the book tries to address too diverse an audience simultaneously. Most of it is for parents, but one chapter is way too technical. At times, it seems like the authors are trying to write to the medical community of therapists and physicans at their level as well as to parents without that level of knowledge. Best advice -- skip over the excruciatingly technical details and keep going. I almost put the book down midway through, but was glad I kept on reading because it picked back up.

    Having raised a bipolar child, I can attest to the many frustrations mentioned in the book -- like when consequences have no effect on behavior. Praise or punish, it matters not. Now, what do you do? It took nearly 10 years for us to discover the underlying cause of our child's symptoms and we were reluctant to believe it at first. But, the bipolar pieces fit together and pursuing treatment along those lines ultimately made a major difference. When we ran into this quagmire (diagnosed in 1992), there were not nearly so many support groups or treatment options available. Having this book 16 years ago would have been a major blessing. Our experience parallels much of what is mentioned in the book. For example, medication has remained a trial and error adjustment process -- what works for one person does not for another and new drugs replace older ones.

    If you are wondering whether you child's behavior is outside of normal, or you know it is and are wondering why, reading this book will help you determine if it might be caused by bipolar disorder. The authors know what they are talking about....more info
  • It helped us with getting a diagnosis!
    There is nothing new I can about this incredible book that hasn't already been said, however, I can say that without the benefit of the read, I would never have succeeded in achieving diagnosis for my son. With this book in hand, I approached my son's 1st psychiatrist who had been treating him for "generalized anxiety" for over a year, regardless of our input about his therapy and meds not working. I told him that my son was a dead ringer for Bipolar and that we had a history of Bipolar within our family. He insisted that our son was NOT Bipolar. I immediately sought out another child pyschiatrist that primarily treated BP children and we eventually had our suspicians confirmed. Without this book, I could not have done it.
    South Carolina...more info
  • Mother recommends book -- insights into daughter
    This book was greatly needed and enlightening. My daughter is now a person that I can appreciate more dearly, and advocate for more forcefully. For years I could not motivate her, rouse her in the morning, nor help her organize her thoughts or life. I felt that with each passing year she was becoming "unteachable" and oppositional. All of the coping skills I had learned over the years were far beyond her capability to incorporate or understand. One therapist had told me when she was in 5th grade that "I was going to lose her," but only after reading this book do I fully comprehend what she meant.

    If you have or know of anyone who lives with or works with children that seem so creative, yet so easily frustrated and quite unable to "reach their potential" then I recommend this book. I do not believe that every child with emotional difficulties has bipolar tendencies or the early onset bipolar disorder. However, after 11 years of searching for some truth and method of addressing my daughter's needs I think that any parent, teacher, doctor, psychologist, politician or insurance manager should read this book. The educational insights are compassionate and applicable to a wide range of children. The medications and the disorder are demystified. Although one chapter is very technical and geared towards the professionals or those with degrees in science the majority is readable and contains a wealth of information. This book is a must have resource for all elementary level guidance counselors at the very least.

    The emotional and financial impacts on families and society are so large and we can prevent needless suffering, addictions, suicides and warehousing of acting out adolescents in jails through addressing these disorders earlier....more info

  • The Benchmark for This Topic
    The Papolos' created the most comprehensive parenting "textbook" available for families raising bipolar children. Nothing else comes close in the clinical realm. Facts and support abound. Couple this with Kate McLaughlin's personal perspective in "Mommy I'm Still in Here" (which the Papolos' endorse) and you'll have full-spectrum resources.Mommy I'm Still in Here: Raising Children with Bipolar Disorder...more info
  • Extraordinarily valuable, but...
    This book was published at exactly the right moment to play a crucial role in getting effective treatment for someone close to me. Criticisms in the direction that popular-market books can lead to fad diagnoses, have some validity. Arguably the most important fact to be gained from this book, though, is that SSRI antidepressants can carry special risks in children and adolescents. OK, so symptom-matching by the untrained, subjectively biased, and frankly desperate, is not a very good basis for diagnosis. Try, though, to locate a good child or adolescent psych. specialist. Just try. Good luck. Books like this fill a real need, because very little else is addressing that need....more info
  • Comprehensive, professional, remote.
    Dr. Papalos has assembled a comprehensive set of facts and perspectives about bipolar disorder in children. He describes it as authoritative, and it is. However, I feel the authority at times more than his understanding. Medical explanations and references to research abound, but they tend toward the academic rather than the personal. His clinical vignette's most often rely on other people's work with children and parents. He is immensely informed, but is he truly experienced? I do not get the impression that he has followed a child and family over time through the vicissitudes of this illness and the social consequences it entails. His book is particularly thin when it comes to the interaction of biology with development and human relationships. Gregory T. Lombardo MD, PhD...more info
  • Ought to be illegal.
    I wonder why nobody goes to prison over this. Drugging children should be against the law. For whatever reason a child misbehaves, using drugs in any case should be met with the prescriber being imprisoned. My life was literally, not practically, not virtually, but literally ruined by being drugged as a child -- I would had rather been a [...] rape victim, at least then I would have healed. Yet, nobody gets stopped and nobody gets punished. The practice continues, rationalized by horrible people doing horrible things as necessary because it's what they do and what keeps them employed.

    No brain needs drugs, period. None of these drugs are healthy to be on and in fact all of anti psychotics and mood stabilizers work by damaging and disabling normal, healthy parts of the brain.

    Better reading would be "Blaming the brain", By Elliot Valenstein, Ph.d psychologist and neuroscientist and "Mad In America" By Robert Whitaker, award winning science and medical writer who was a finalist for the 1998 pulitzer prize (Among many other things, including his book being awarded one of Discover magazines best science books of 2002 and an American Library Association best book selection as well.)... And why don't we compare even just these two of many authors of truth to say, Joseph Biederman?

    Which of the three do you think is most intelligent, scientific and telling the truth. The accredited scientists, or the man being paid millions of dollars by Big Pharma to try and culturally justify through a abuse of science and medicine the action of drugging disruptive children.


    MindFreedom Neuroleptic Brain damage

    And Robert Whitaker Neuroleptics Natural News

    "1 of 8 people found the following review helpful: "

    It's amazing, there are actually people out there who care so little for children - even their own! - that when the truth is spoken, they'd rather just drug the child and stick their head in the sand. It's most important that your own life isn't disrupted or that you don't have to work with your child, right?

    You hide behind psychiatry to make it look like you're not bad parents who are abusing your children, but guess what... Psychiatry is easy to shoot holes through. You're hiding behind something that accredited scientists and medical specialties only considered legitimate because of a biochemical imbalance hypothesis that has long been destroyed and only kept alive in the media (thus the culture) via the money and power of the drug companies.

    Hiding behind psychiatry to pretend you're not a bad parent is no better than hiding behind a street drug dealer. You're using powerful, life destroying drugs to sweep away the problems you have at home so you can get back to a life that doesn't involve actually having to deal with people you don't truly appreciate.

    I wonder how many of you people even googled those keywords and I wonder how many of you are too busy watching American Idol while your child suffers EPS to even care.
    ...more info
  • What a great book.
    Oh my gosh this book is great. I feel so much better knowing that my son isnt alone and neither am I. I have sense had the school order this book so all of his teachers could read it. I learned that my sons gross talk about seeing people getting hurt is from his dreams and not really what he wants to do. Just learning all of this has made me at ease and now I can focus on what to do to help him. If you think you or your child has Bipolar order this NOW. I have read other books but this is hands down the best!!! This book is all you wanted and more. If it can give you help like me it is worth all the money in the world. You wont regret ordering this book!!!...more info
  • Bipolar Child, third edition
    This is an excellent resource for people wanting to understand the child diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. It concisely describes the bizarre life that is sometimes only seen behind closed doors. It gives very detailed neuropsychology that is not for the weak of heart or mind, but that is helpful, none the less. The chapters covering school life and appropriate interventions and testing are well written and most helpful.

    It is by far the best resource of its kind. I wish more professionals would read it!...more info
  • An inside look
    This book finally explained our children on an emotional level my husband understood. After feeling like a not very sucessful translator between my children and their father, we are finally operating out of thr same "map". This is the most useful book I have ever purchased....more info
  • If you can only get one, book on bipolar kids, this is it!
    Clear information about how to find out if your child has bipolar disorder, what treatments are available, their risks and benefits, and so much more....more info
  • Considered the Bipolar Bible by many parents
    The Bipolar Child has been a great help to our family. Reading it opened our eyes to all the mistakes that were made by the doctors with our two Bipolar/ADHD boys. The ADHD diagnose came first and they would not even consider Bipolar even though we told them it ran in our family. This book told me WHY our boys got worse on Ritalin, Adderall and Paxil even though they seemed to get better at first. Even though I had the first edition, I had to buy the second edition as soon as it came out. I have lent out my old copy to parents that were wondering about their child and suggested that they get the new edition.

    Another good book is Matt the Moody Hermit Crab by Caroline McGee. It is a short story about a young bipolar crab and how bipolar affects his family and his friends at school. It is a good book to help the children understand just how bipolar can affect the family. It is also helpful for adults to read....more info
  • The first resource I recommend to parents of newly dxd kids
    As I was reading this book, I wondered how the authors were able to witness what was going on in my family. It was like they were flies on the wall - they described my family to a T.

    This book has a great deal of useful information for parents new to the diagnosis. It also helped me understand that my son has an illness and it is not due to my parenting.

    I highly recommend this book to all who have children diagnosed with bipolar disorder....more info
  • The Bipolar Child
    This book is a must for understanding why your bipolar child does some of the things they do. We are raising our Grand daughter who is bipolar and it has given me far more information than anything I had read. It gets easier to be more patient and understanding when you realize that the child is not just being defiant and hard to get along with.
    Some parts get a little technical, but if you are dealing with a child with this illness you will certainly get your money's worth....more info
  • Put this in your shopping cart NOW! It's an absolute must!
    This book is the "Bible" among those of us having bipolar children. The first time I read this book after my 8 year old son was finally diagnosed properly 4 years ago, I cried with relief that FINALLY what our family had been living with was right there in 'black & white'. From detailed profiles about a bipolar child to help with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), this book covers so much. It brings peace to your helps give you control over this crazy situation. As we say in the Bipolar Parents support group, "RUN, don't walk -- buy this book NOW!"...more info
  • Important Update on a Difficult Topic
    As a professional I appreciate the Papolo's comprehensive work on the poorly understood diagnosis of pediatric bipolar, and the guidance they offer stressed and concerned parents....more info


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