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