August 22, 2011 3 Comments
Juvenile Bipolar Disorder is a Myth
Over the years many trends have started in USA and made their way around the world. Very often the UK follows quickly, copying what happens in USA. Just think of rock ‘n’ roll, wearing blue jeans, increasing litigation…
Since 1994 there has been a trend in the USA that most of the world has avoided following: increasing diagnosis of children as having bipolar disorder. More than one million USA kids have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Although the average age of diagnosis in the UK has dropped from 40 down to 19 years old, young children who have variable moods are still viewed as children who have variable moods.
We all start life as babies who cry and scream just because we get hungry (behaviour indicative of extreme mood variability). Adults are not expected to make so much fuss. Toddlers can rush around knocking ornaments over, falling down steps and then in the same day crash out and sleep before going off to play again. A great many teenagers sulk. Many teenagers are thrill seekers. In adults all these behaviours typical of young people can be seen as signs of mental illness. Diagnostic methods for adults are not appropriate for children.
It is not possible to match a child’s behaviour to the diagnostic criteria for any form of bipolar disorder, so how have these 1,000,000+ children been diagnosed? From what I have read it seems that USA criteria were changed in 1994 making it easier to diagnose and prescribe powerful mood altering drugs to USA children. Psychiatrists elsewhere in the world are resisting these changes.
Please keep resisting. Give the kids help with understanding moods and help them develop a lifestyle for mood stability.