Pediatric Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Children’s and Youth Pastors and Volunteers

shutterstock_244984567Bipolar Disorder is probably the most controversial topic in the field of child and adolescent mental health. A 2007 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry reported a 40-fold increase in office visits for pediatric bipolar disorder between 1994-95 and 2002-03.  Fueling the controversy is concern that the vast majority of kids receiving a bipolar diagnosis don’t meet the official criteria for the condition outlined in the DSM-5. In particular, many kids with predominantly irritable mood, symptoms of ADHD and difficulty with emotional self-regulation that often leads to aggressive behavior are receiving the diagnosis along with medication with potentially serious side effects.

shutterstock_198223583I’m going to present a six-part series to help children’s pastors, youth pastors and ministry volunteers better understand and serve kids with bipolar disorder and their families. Consider this as a “prequel” to the official launch of this blog on September 12. The schedule for this week:

Sunday: What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder in children and teens?

Monday: What challenges do kids with bipolar disorder face?

Tuesday: What challenges do families of kids with bipolar disorder face?

Wednesday: How might bipolar disorder affect church participation and spiritual development?

Thursday: How can the church help?

Friday: Resources for ministers and parents

Updated January 27, 2014

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600817_10200479396001791_905419060_nConfused about all the changes in diagnostic terminology for kids with mental heath disorders? Key Ministry has a resource page summarizing our recent blog series examining the impact of the DSM-5 on kids. Click this link for summary articles describing the changes in diagnostic criteria for conditions common among children and teens, along with links to other helpful resources!

About Dr. G

Dr. Stephen Grcevich serves as President and Founder of Key Ministry, a non-profit organization providing free training, consultation, resources and support to help churches serve families of children with disabilities. Dr. Grcevich is a graduate of Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), trained in General Psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University. He is a faculty member in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at two medical schools, leads a group practice in suburban Cleveland (Family Center by the Falls), and continues to be involved in research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medications prescribed to children for ADHD, anxiety and depression. He is a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Dr. Grcevich was recently recognized by Sharecare as one of the top ten online influencers in children’s mental health. His blog for Key Ministry, www.church4everychild.org was ranked fourth among the top 100 children's ministry blogs in 2015 by Ministry to Children.
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2 Responses to Pediatric Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Children’s and Youth Pastors and Volunteers

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