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Chat with Lizzie Simon, Author of Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D

Lizzie Simon is the author of Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D. Lizzie has appeared on CNN, Fox, NBC, NPR, the New York PostThe Saturday Evening Post, and Nylon Magazine. She has traveled the country to speak to wide-ranging audiences about mental health. Lizzie also co-produced the MTV documentary “True Life: I'm Bipolar”, and has written mental health pieces forTimeCosmoGirl, and bp Magazine. She is a founding member of the Leadership 21 Committee of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.               

Nanci - The Balanced Mind Parent Network   
Could you start out by talking a little about your book and what it meant to you to research and write it? 

Lizzie Simon
Sure. When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder there weren't a lot of role models and there weren't books from the point of view of a young person with dreams who wants to know she'll be able to achieve her dreams, even after everything she's been through with bp. I knew if I just told the truth, my truth, that other people would relate and feel more comfortable with their truths. 

Lizzie, My daughter, 15 was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in July. She entered an RTC (residential treatment center) a few weeks ago. The stabilization process seems to be taking a very long time. Any suggestions? 

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thebalancedmindfoundation.org Expert Chat with Janet Wozniak, M.D. Co-author of Is Your Child Bipolar

Dr. Janet Wozniak is the Director of the Pediatric Bipolar Clinical and Research Program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a member of The Balanced Mind Parent Network's Scientific Advisory Council. Dr. Wozniak's research focuses on the characteristics, longitudinal course and treatment of pediatric bipolar disorder.     

How are bipolar disorder and anxiety issues connected? Which comes, first the chick or the egg?

Janet Wozniak MD    
There is a strong bidirectional overlap between anxiety disorders and bipolar disorder. That is, in a sample of bipolar youth, at least half have significant anxiety of various forms, and in anxious children we see higher than expected rates of bipolar disorder; so we know that they 'travel together' but we do not understand the nature of the relationship. It may be likely the genes that are associated with bipolar also produce changes that bring anxiety. 

Sometimes the child has anxiety first, sometimes mood first, and sometimes both come on together. A lot of kids start off with significant separation anxiety along with the moodiness of preschool age and then go on to have full-blown mania depression. We do not know the 'chicken and egg' part, but many parents feel that if their child’s anxiety is treated, the mood reactions would diminish. The problem with this approach is that the best medications for anxiety are the SSRI antidepressants, and these will make mania much, much worse!  

So if both co-occur, our standard treatment approach is to use a mood stabilizer, anti-manic treatment then sequence in an anti-anxiety treatment. We tend to use benzodiazepines, BuSpar, or Neurontin for the anxiety, as these won't make mania worse.

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thebalancedmindfoundation.org Expert Chat with Ross Szabo, Author of "Behind Happy Faces"

The Balanced Mind Parent Network Live Event Transcript

Did you miss our chat with Ross Szabo? Read the transcript of this exciting and informative chat.

Ross Szabo Biography
Ross is currently the Director of Youth Outreach for the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign and began speaking about mental health at age 17. In the last 6 years he is the only person in the country who has spoken to well over 500,000 young people in high schools and colleges about mental health issues. He has been featured in Parade and Seventeen magazines, appeared on CNN, MTV and CBS, and had his presentation turned into a television program for PBS. He was named 2007 Best Male Performer of the Year by Campus Activities Magazine, which recognized him as one of the top speakers in the country on the college speaking circuit. Ross is a founding member of the Leadership 21 Committee of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.                         

 Nanci - The Balanced Mind Parent Network   
Could you tell us a little about your book, ‘Behind Happy Faces’ and why it would be helpful for parents and young people? 

 Ross Szabo   
I wrote “Behind Happy Faces” because everywhere I went people had the same questions and concerns. I learned early on that while some people are concerned about treatment, a lot of people were more concerned with what they could do outside of treatment and how they could handle situations with family, friends, relationships and more realistic settings.

So I decided to use my personal story to start each chapter but we use over 25 other people's stories to frame each chapter. The chapters discuss what it's like to be young dealing with mental health issues, the main reasons people don't seek help, differences in race, class gender and sexual orientation, what an individual can do, family, friends and relationships.  But the main goal is to have a positive example on these issues, and focus more on mental health not specifically on bipolar disorder or mental illness

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Chat with Tracy Anglada and Sheryl Hakala, M.D.

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thebalancedmindfoundation.org Expert Chat with Dr. Mani Pavuluri, Author of "What Works for Bipolar Kids"

Nanci - The Balanced Mind Parent Network   
Dr. Pavuluri recently published a book for parents "What Works for Bipolar Kids" that is an excellent resource. Dr. Pavuluri, would you like to start out by telling us a little about your new book? 

Mani Pavuluri MD   
Yes I hope you like it! I wanted the book “What Works for Bipolar Kids” to be most practical, and help you with day to day struggles, in a way that you can apply for yourself, and take care of yourself as parents, as you are in it for the long haul! I want to hold your hand through this book as I talk to you! 
And it tells you about school issues, home, marriage, kids, other kids, friendships and medication and treatment and so on!  

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