Is the US over-diagnosing bipolar disorder in children?

New Scientist has an open-access article on the increasing tendency for atypical American children to be diagnosed with ‘juvenile bipolar disorder’.

Children are being increasingly diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the US, despite the fact that there is limited evidence for its validity and disagreement about its symptoms.

As we reported in a previous Mind Hacks article, mental disorder presents differently in children (for reasons that are not well understood) and diagnosis is fraught with difficulties.

Not least because children often are not able to report their thoughts and emotions adequately, and many different forms of distress get expressed as ‘misbehaviour’, making it hard to distinguish between different causes.

One of the other effects of the increasing number of children diagnosed with bipolar, is that an increasing number are being medicated with drugs that have barely been tested in anyone other than adults.

This is despite the fact that parenting programmes, such as the Webster-Stratton ‘Incredible Years‘ programme, are known to be effective ways of improving behaviour.

Advocates for the disorder argue that it has been previously unrecognised and only now is it being properly diagnosed, and that it causes serious distress and impairment in affected children and their families.

The NewSci article looks at some of the trends in diagnosis and treatment, and speaks to child mental health researchers on both sides of the fence.

Link to NewSci article ‘Bipolar children – is the US overdiagnosing?’.

2 Comments

  1. Troubled Teens
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    The rate the bipolar disorder in children has increased rapidly. Therapeutic boarding schools are most appropriate alternatives for the kids suffering from bipolar disorder or ADHD. Schools appoint multi skilled and certified mental health recovery specialists to treat the bipolar disorder successfully. Troubled teenagers can achieve highest potential in life under the guidance of bipolar recovery consultants. Residential treatment centers also prescribe certified medication treatments to support disordered kids.

    http://www.troubledteens.net/Problems-in-Teens/Teenagers-Bipolar-Disorder.html

  2. Posted July 1, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    The rate the bipolar disorder in children has increased rapidly. Therapeutic boarding schools are most appropriate alternatives for the kids suffering from bipolar disorder or ADHD. Schools appoint multi skilled and certified mental health recovery specialists to treat the bipolar disorder successfully. Troubled teenagers can achieve highest potential in life under the guidance of bipolar recovery consultants. Residential treatment centers also prescribe certified medication treatments to support disordered kids.


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