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