Childhood Bipolar Disorder AnswerBook Top 300 Questions
Intense Minds: Through the Eyes of Young People with Bipolar Disorder
Intense Parenting 10 Things Every Parent Should Know
Finally a book that answers your questions! Written by a parent and doctor team who have been on the front lines of dealing with this disorder.  How do I handle manipulation? How can I prevent relapses? Should I use alternative treatments? How can I parent effectively?

Young people with bipolar disorder speak out to share how they experienced the symptoms of this illness. Their insightful comments, woven together by the author, form a stunning picture of the young person's internal experience.
Parents of children with special needs find themselves in the most intense parenting circumstances with little outside support. These are the lessons we learn.
Frequently Asked
Questions


What are the special challenges of raising a child with bipolar disorder?

​Raising a child with bipolar disorder can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining. Your child's quickly changing and difficult moods may make you feel as if you are walking on eggshells and parenting an ever changing target. It can also be challenging to recognize the more subtle ways that bipolar disorder affects your child. Dealing with well meaning people who do not understand bipolar disorder can also be a source of challenge and frustration.
?How does my child's stability level affect parenting
​Your parenting must meet your child's health needs. During times of extreme instability, the most important thing is the safety of your child and all in the family. This is a time when stress needs to be reduced on all fronts, both at school and home. As your child achieves a certain amount of wellness, your parenting may need to shift in order to help your child in the areas of emotional growth that were missed during times of instability. It is also important as your child stabilizes to identify any additional roadblocks, such as learning disabilities, as these can co-exist with bipolar disorder.
What if I'm concerned about misdiagnosis?

It is important to have a correct diagnosis. Misdiagnosis can be harmful, as it either ignores an important health condition or identifies it incorrectly, leading to improper treatment. Parents must become educated advocates for their child. Learn about bipolar disorder yourself. Also learn what other conditions can mimic the symptoms of bipolar disorder and make sure these are ruled out. Referring to the treatment guidelines in the link below will help you with this. Also find a qualified doctor who does a thorough evaluation. Seek a second or even third opinion when necessary.
What if I have very negative feelings about my child
Because bipolar disorder is a chronic illness, it continually effects family life and taxes your parenting abilities. Parents sometimes experience caregiver burnout, compassion fatigue, or secondary trauma as a result of their child's illness. This can happen especially after a child has been unstable for an extended period of time. Parents who begin to feel numb, or very negative toward their child with bipolar disorder, may be at this stage. In order to take care of your child with bipolar disorder, you must also take care of yourself. Make your own appointment with the doctor.
Do I have reason to hope for my child's future?

Children with bipolar disorder can go on to live very full and happy lives. Many of them are creative, gifted and talented individuals. Helping them find their talents and value their positive qualities can help them to lead enriched lives. There are now FDA approved medications for children with bipolar disorder, and new treatments are continually being researched to help people with bipolar disorder.
​Where can I get more help to parent my child 
Both "The Childhood Bipolar Disorder Answer Book" and "Intense Minds" can help your family as you continue on this difficult parenting journey. Make sure to surround yourself with supportive people. Look for a local support group through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org) or the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (www.dbsalliance.org). You can also join an online support group at The Balanced Mind Network (www.thebalancedmind.org) and check out the list of support organizations at the bottom of this page.
How to Help Children and Families Living with Bipolar Disorder 

Printable Forms

The following forms are companions to the book, The Childhood Bipolar Disorder AnswerBook.

Self Care Plan

Crisis Plan

If you don't take care of yourself, who will take care of your child? Make a plan to take care of YOU!
Be prepared for a crisis or emergency situation by having important information at your fingertips.
Self Care Plan
Crisis Plan

Action Plan 

No Suicide Action Plan

Identify areas of need and set short term, mid range and long term goals to move you toward your desired destination.
Suicidal thoughts and feelings can trick your child into thinking that you can never feel better. Make a plan with your child so they know there is another option. (For a very young child's no suicide plan go to the kid's page and download The Bipolar Bear Promise)
Action Plan
No Suicide Action Plan

Young Child's Action Plan

Older Child's Action Plan

Help young children to set simple goals and reach them. Then celebrate their success together!
Help an older child to set goals and identify the steps they want to take to reach those goals. Also helps identify possible obstacles.
Young Child's Action Plan

Older Child's Action Plan

Find Support

There are many places on the web to find more info and support. Here are a few you may find helpful.
Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation
277 Martine Avenue, Suite 226
White Plains, NY 10601
info@jbrf.org


International Society for Bipolar Disorders
P.O. Box 7168
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States of America
Phone: (412) 624-4407



The Bipolar Child
www.bipolarchild.com
International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF)
8755 Aero Drive, Suite 310
San Diego, CA 92123
www.ibpf.org


Depressive and Bipolar Support Alliance
730 N Franklin St., Suite 501
Chicago, IL 60610-7224
Phone: 800-826-3632
Web: www.dbsalliance.org



Think Kids
www.thinkkids.org
National Alliance on Mental Illness
NAMI HELPLINE
800-950-NAMI
info@nami.org
M-F, 10 AM - 6 PM ET

Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health
9605 Medical Center Dr., Suite 280
Rockville, MD 20850
Phone: 240-403-1901
Web: www.ffcmh.org


The Balanced Mind Foundation
www.thebalancedmind.org