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BIPOLAR INCREASE

ANCHOR LEAD:  MORE THAN FORTY TIMES THE NUMBER OF KIDS ARE DIAGNOSED AS HAVING BIPOLAR DISEASE TODAY THAN SEVERAL YEARS AGO, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness where one’s mood vacillates between periods of mania and periods of depression.  It most often requires medication to control.  Now a study in Archives of General Psychiatry reveals a huge increase in the number of children and adolescents being diagnosed with biopolar disorder.  Mark Riddle, a child psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins, comments.

RIDDLE:  If one looks at diagnoses that go along with prescribing, clinicians are using bipolar now as a diagnosis forty times as often.  Now, what is that about? Is bipolar like a contagious disease, and it’s increasing and increasing and increasing rapidly?  I don’t think so.  Is it that clinicians are relabeling or rediagnosing children that they used a different diagnosis for in the past?  Probably.  I think most child psychiatrists would say, we’re relabeling.                   :29

Riddle recommends seeking an experienced child mental health specialist to make the diagnosis.  I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting

 


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