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From The CriticsReviewer: Arshdeep S. Jawandha, MBBS (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This compilation of advice for parents and caregivers of children with bipolar disorder is organized in three parts. Broadly, part I deals with basic questions parents might have. Part II provides the much needed, comprehensive psychoeducation that all parents will need, both at the time of diagnosis and on an ongoing basis. Part III provides advice about specific situations that might arise with children in relation to school or healthcare providers. The advice, however, is scattered throughout the book.
Purpose: This book provides information about bipolar illness, its treatment, problems encountered along the way, and possible solutions in simple and easy to comprehend terms.
Audience: The author intends this book for parents and caregivers of children with bipolar disorder, as well as youth with bipolar disorder. However, this is also a good sourcebook for psychiatry, psychology, or social work trainees who can pick up advice that they can offer clients in various crisis situations.
Features: Basic information about diagnosis, methods of evaluation, and a variety of treatment options is provided. Descriptive tables detail common clinical terms related to bipolar disorder and various degrees, clinical titles, and roles that health professionals play, thus helping parents demystify the healthcare provider system. Some common questions, such as the role of heredity, parenting styles, etc., are nicely addressed. Advice for parents on how to handle crisis situations is included, while the need to maintain a good parent-child relationship is strongly emphasized, along with simple ways to achieve this. The subject of medications, side effects, risks of stopping suddenly, and lack of compliance are discussed. The book also addresses the very important topic of how parents must modify their own expectations and enhance self care as they care for their sick children. There is a clear cataloging of alternative treatments as well as the bogus treatments. A unique RAINBOW approach is discussed and information about child and family centered therapy is included, along with methods for, and the importance of, teaching children social skills. Methods of engagement with doctors and school are outlined, educating parents about the terminology used in the various areas, which in itself will help reduce parents' anxiety. At the very end are appendixes that help parents quickly revisit the basic principles of care of children with bipolar disorder, mania rating scales, lists of medications and side effects, and a nice compilation of a framework for a school teleconference. All of these resources can be quickly accessed as needed after the book has been read and shelved.
Assessment: Though it will be read only by motivated parents and some of the terminology may be hard for parents to follow, overall this book will help readers become informed consumers of healthcare services and empower parents of children with bipolar disorder.