to the "Mayo Clinic Family Clinic Health Book," bipolar
disorder is a manic-depressive illness that is characterized by
recurring periods of mental illness in which episodes of
excitement and hyperactivity either occur alone or alternate with
periods of depression.
their new book, "The Bipolar Child," Demitri and Janice
Papolos examine this disorder in the earliest years of children.
According to the authors, "It has long been thought in the
psychiatric community that children could not be given a diagnosis
of bipolar disorder until the mid to late teens and that mania in
children was extremely rare…the disorder can begin very early in
life and is far more common than was previously supposed."
authors’ 1987 book, "Overcoming Depression," contained
a small section on mood disorders in children. In the following
years the volume of research on bipolar disorder in children
exploded, and the authors were encouraged to write a companion
volume on this subject. Their primary motivation in writing this
book was to "write a book that would be as comprehensive and
reassuring about the childhood form of bipolar disorder…to let
parents know what is and is not known about the condition and how
to get proper help for their children."
of the influences on this book was the authors’ subscription to
BBParents, an e-mail listserv subscribed to and frequented by
parents of bipolar children. This listserv offered the authors a
day-by-day glimpse into the lives of people affected by the
illness. By being privy to the innermost thoughts and concerns of
these parents, the authors had an intimate look at the effects
that bipolar disorder can have on families – something that is
seldom seen in clinical visits.
their monitoring of the listserv, the authors developed an
extensive questionnaire for submission to the site’s
subscribers. The result? According to the authors the response was
overwhelming. Not only did the subscribers participate, they also
sent hospital and school records, diaries, charts, notes and
anything else they thought would help. From this data the Papolos
team uncovered some disturbing findings about the diagnosis and
treatment of these children. These findings are a focal point of
the book’s discussion on bipolar disorder.
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book is divided into four general categories: diagnosis and
treatment, inside the brain and mind, living and coping with bipolar
disorder, and life goes on. Within these broad categories are
several chapters related to each topic.
the book’s most important chapters are "Prescriptions for
Treatment," "What Causes This Condition?" and
"The Impact on the Family." "Prescriptions for
Treatment" contains a comprehensive analysis of the different
drugs, medications and mood stabilizers available on the market
latest scientific information on the causes of bipolar disorder is
discussed in the second chapter; the diagrams of the brain and the
nervous system help support the data.
of the most important chapters describes the different emotions and
reactions that the family of a bipolar child will face. Emotions can
range from shame, fear, and grief to anger, rage and an adverse
effect on marital relations.
Bipolar Child" is a groundbreaking work on a subject that has
drawn increasing attention in the medical and psychiatric
professions. The authors have presented a comprehensive and
well-researched analysis of this illness and its effect on young
children and their families. It is clear from their writing that Dr.
and Mrs. Papolos have great empathy for those afflicted with bipolar
the closing paragraph of their introduction they write, "It is
our fervent hope that this volume will shed new light on the
enormous complexities of early onset bipolar disorder, all the while
offering support and intelligent solutions to family members."
They have succeeded in meeting this goal. "The Bipolar
Child" is recommended to anyone who wishes to gain a better
understanding of the recognition, diagnosis and treatment of bipolar
disorder in young children.
more information, visit the library at 725 Pekin St. or call
Sumrall, Lincoln Public Library District]