Enhancing Human Traits: Ethical and Social Implications

Enhancing Human Traits: Ethical and Social Implications edited by Erik Parens (Georgetown University Press).

For those willing to plow through a fairly academic text (not too long) the rewards are a thorough review of the ethics of "cosmetic psychopharmacology" among other things, the fine line between treatment of a disorder and enhancement of a particular trait. Appreciating the "ethics of complicity" when it comes offering drugs or surgery for "empowerment." Why giving Ritalin to a child is not the moral equivalent to better parenting or schools for children.

The Bipolar Child: The Definitive and Reassuring Guide to Childhood's Most Misunderstood Disorder

The Bipolar Child: The Definitive and Reassuring Guide to Childhood's Most Misunderstood Disorder by Demitri Papolos and Janice Papolos (Broadway Books).

Sure to be a hit as it promises explanations and relief to desperate parents for their very very difficult children and teens. However the bipolar diagnosis has become as broad and vague as ADHD and this book with a pseudo-scientific veneer will only encourage families to see their children as having a brain based disorder needing drugs with potentially nasty side effects.

Straight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for Kids

Straight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for Kids by Timothy E. Wilens (Guilford Press).

The "truth" from a member of the leading medication-for-kids group of proponents. Lots of facts including honest revelations about side effects but encumbered by a belief that psychiatric diagnosis in children can actually lead to useful decisions about treatment (in reality most clinicians use algorithms). Also a distressing "I'm the expert and I know" tone which some may find reassuring, but not me (see next review).