Public Release: 

New book on bipolar disorder targets 12 million affected Americans, families

'For Dummies' book helps you get an accurate diagnosis so you can get on with your life

Don't Get Caught

Get an Accurate Diagnosis and Get On with Your Life!
By Candida Fink, MD, and Joe Kraynak

Nearly 4 percent of adults in the United States - almost 12 million people - suffer from some version of bipolar disorder. Commonly referred to as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder is characterized by cycles of mania, depression or mixed emotional states that often disrupt work, school, family and social life. Recent revelations by popular television host Jane Pauley and former Chicago Bear football star Alonzo Spellman on their struggles with bipolar disorder have shed light on what was once a very hidden and misunderstood disease. A new book, Bipolar Disorder For Dummies (Wiley, 340 pages, $19.99) breaks down the barriers to understanding, treating and living with this complex disease.

Bipolar Disorder For Dummies is a reassuring guide that explains the brain chemistry behind the disease, as well as the latest medications and therapies. It offers sound advice and self-help techniques that you and your loved ones can use to ease and eliminate symptoms, function in times of crisis, plan ahead for manic or depressive episodes, and feel better. Topics covered include: diagnosis and treatment, selecting a mental health specialist, mood charting, managing employment-related issues, how bipolar disorder affects children, and much more.

Written by Candida Fink, MD, a psychiatrist specializing in bipolar disorder, and Joe Kraynak, MA, a professional writer with a close family member diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Bipolar Disorder For Dummies delivers the latest information to help sufferers and loved ones learn about and cope with the disorder.

From diagnosis to planning ahead for relapses, Bipolar Disorder For Dummies provides readers with the tools and information they need to live with the disease. The book is divided into six parts, starting with an overview of bipolar disorder, and going onto: controlling the disease, treatment options, helping yourself, assisting a friend or relative and closing with a section called "The Part of Tens," a group of tips and questions you should ask to learn more about the disorder.

Dr. Fink specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry and has included a special chapter titled "Backing Your Bipolar Child," with ways family members can support a child with bipolar disorder. Below is a checklist from Dr. Fink to determine if your child is depressed or manic.

Is Your Child Depressed or Manic?

Bipolar disorder usually has a different look and feel in children than it has in adults, and it shares many symptoms with other problems, including anxiety, depression, and ADHD. Remain vigilant for the following warning signs:

  • You see big changes in behavior; your child is doing much more or less than usual.
  • Your child sleeps all the time or has plenty of energy with little or no sleep.
  • He or she has a persistent irritable, angry mood over and above typical teenage behavior.
  • Your child experiences uncontrollable rages or tantrums over minor day-to-day demands.
  • He or she destroys property, shows aggression, or threatens to hurt others. (If you check this warning sign, seek help immediately.)
  • Your child hates himself or feels as though he can do no wrong.
  • He or she has withdrawn socially or has begun engaging in potentially dangerous activities, such as sex, drugs, excessive shopping, stealing, and so on.
  • Your child persistently feels sadness, hopelessness, despair, or crushing boredom.
  • You notice changes in your child's concentration, grades dropping, or problems in school.
  • Your child has expressed suicidal thoughts or engaged in self-harm, such as cutting. (If you check this warning sign, call a professional immediately.)

Like all For Dummies® books, Bipolar Disorder For Dummies concludes with "The Part of Tens," including "Ten Questions to Ask a Psychiatrist or Therapist," "Ten Ways to Fight the High Cost of Treatment," and "Ten Ways to Help the Bipolar Community." A helpful "cheat sheet" gives symptoms to identify if you have ever been depressed, or manic/hypomanic, as well as ways to beat the blues and tips to muffle the mania.

Bipolar Disorder For Dummies provides sound advice and self-help techniques that you and your loved ones can use to ease and eliminate symptoms, function in times of crisis, plan ahead for manic or depressive episodes and feel better.


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