Your Child Does Not Have Bipolar Disorder
How Bad Science and Good Public Relations Created the Diagnosis
by Stuart L. Kaplan, MD
March 2011, 184pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38134-8
$38, £29, 33€, A52
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38135-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

From roughly 1994 to 2003, the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents underwent a dramatic, unwarranted increase. In 1995 there were 20,000 outpatient visits for this diagnosis in childhood; by 2003 the number was 800,000. Now, nearly one third of all children and adolescents discharged from psychiatric hospitals have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

An eminent child psychiatrist provides an insider's, whistle-blowing perspective on the promotion of a diagnostic entity that does not exist.

Your Child Does Not Have Bipolar Disorder: How Bad Science and Good Public Relations Created the Diagnosis examines this diagnostic fad through a variety of lenses. Author Stuart L. Kaplan, MD, draws heavily on his forty years of experience as a clinician, researcher, and professor of child psychiatry to make the argument that bipolar disorder in children and adolescents is incorrectly diagnosed and incorrectly treated.

As Dr. Kaplan explains, the dramatic rise in this particular diagnosis is not based on scientific evidence, nor does it reflect any new discovery or insight about the etiology or treatment of the disorder. In fact, the opposite is the case: the scientific evidence against the existence of child bipolar disorder is so strong that it is difficult to imagine how it has gained the endorsement of anyone in the scientific community.

Your Child Does Not Have Bipolar Disorder: How Bad Science and Good Public Relations Created the Diagnosis explains to parents and professionals the faulty reasoning and bad science behind the misdiagnosis of childhood bipolar disorder. Dr. Kaplan critiques the National Institute of Mental Health, academic child psychiatry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the media for their respective roles in advocating this diagnosis. He describes very clearly what the children and adolescents actually do have, explains how it should be treated, and provides real-life clinical scenarios and approaches to treatment that work.


  • Arresting case histories
  • A reference section
Stuart L. Kaplan, MD, is clinical professor of psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, has authored over 100 scientific journal articles, presentations, and book chapters in child and adolescent psychiatry. He has served as the director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at university medical schools, as the director of Child Psychiatry physician training programs, and on the editorial boards of prestigious scientific child psychiatric journals. He is board certified in adult psychiatry and in child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Kaplan is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He maintains an active clinical practice with children and their families.


"Your Child Does Not Have Bipolar Disorder is a well-organized and readable critique of the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder that presents strong evidence that bipolar disorder does not exist in children under the age of 12. . . . We recommend this book for child psychiatrists, parents, pediatricians, general practitioners, and other health professionals who treat this difficult pediatric population. With the ongoing controversy surrounding the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder, it is imperative that health professionals take the initiative to educate themselves, and this book is a welcome vehicle to guide critical appraisal of the relevant literature from Dr. Kaplan’s perspective. It could also serve as an invaluable tool for parents struggling with difficult-to-manage children and perhaps provide some guidance and clarity around more appropriate diagnosis and evidence-based interventions." —Canadian Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, August 1, 2012

"With his carefully crafted examination of the lack of a substantial basis for the existence of Bipolar Disorder in prepubescent children, Kaplan throws down the gauntlet to the media, the pharmaceutical companies hawking drugs to 'stabilize moods' and the researchers who have 'invented' this condition. Parents reading this book should be assured that their preadolescent child does not have bipolar disorder, and Kaplan not only describes some of the sources of the worrisome behaviors of aggression, anger, hyperactivity, mood swings, and difficulties negotiating the social and educational demands of childhood, but also strongly endorses effective treatments, including medication, behavioral interventions, and family support." —Lee Combrinck-Graham, MD, Associate Clinical Professor, Yale Child Study Center

"At last there is a book that clinicians can refer parents for an alternative view of the 'bipolar child.' Dr. Kaplan has tackled a highly controversial topic area and with his significant experience and familiarity with the relevant research literature has crafted a work that provides parents a guide to better understand the symptoms, classification, and treatment of the child with severe mood dysregulation and problematic, highly labile behavior. The author has not disguised his own views but does provide both sides of the bipolar disorder diagnosis and its treatment in grade-school children. This is done in an easily led, almost chatty manner for parents and those caring for this very difficult pediatric population. The book should be of value to primary care physicians and related health sector and school personnel and parents of these children."—Theodore A. Petti, MD, MPH, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School – University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

"Your Child is Not Bipolar presents in clear prose a very well-informed, solidly argued expose of a current, highly problematic, and misleading psychiatric diagnosis in children. The author is a seasoned clinician, researcher and academic who is passionate about improving diagnostic accuracy in the field."—Daniel Safer, MD, Associate Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

"Stuart Kaplan has written a brilliant, scholarly, and long overdue book providing compelling evidence that what is often diagnosed as pediatric bipolar disorder is not true bipolar disorder. In over 30 years of clinical practice, I have seen many children considered to have pediatric bipolar disorder and have yet to meet one whose symptoms are not better explained by combined ADHD and ODD, consistent with Dr. Kaplan’s contention. He eloquently interweaves clinical case examples with research evidence producing a convincing argument against pediatric bipolar disorder. His book is an essential guide for clinicians and parents for understanding, diagnosing, and treating what is often mistakenly referred to as pediatric bipolar disorder."—Susan D. Mayes, PhD, Chief Clinical Psychologist and Professor of Psychiatry, Penn State College of Medicine

"Dr. Kaplan's book carries an extremely important message to parents, one that could change the course of your child's health and well-being. These psychotropic medications which are given so freely to every misbehaving child who has been wrongly labeled bipolar, have serious side effects and consequences, some of which cannot be reversed. Before you jump to the conclusion that your child has bipolar disorder, you owe it to your child to read this book. You could be saving your child's future and maybe his life."—Elizabeth J. Roberts, MD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist; Author of Should You Medicate Your Child's Mind?
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.