Hundreds of thousands of people these days are misdiagnosed and our children are the prime victims in this recent trend of diagnosing children left and right with bipolar disorder by psychiatrists across the country. I’m absolutely shocked and disturbed at the significant rise in the number of prescriptions and diagnoses for little tykes.
But the change has to start with us. According to Newsweek Magazine's Stuart L. Kaplan, this massive trend in the diagnosis of bipolar disorder for children began after 1995, as prior to 1995 year kids were rarely, if ever diagnosed and prescribed medication for treatment. Statistics state that between 1994-95, approximately 20,000 children adolescents were diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
The statistics skyrocket from there. Between 2002-03, approximately 800,000 children and adolescents have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (a 40-fold increase)! The results are staggering.
Yes, fads come and go even in the medical field; however, this fad is very harmful for children and has been going on for years. This trend needs to end.
One very sad case involved an innocent little girl by the name of Rebecca Riley, a tiny Boston toddler. Rebecca was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 2 (her two siblings also received the same diagnosis). Unfortunately, this diagnosis shifted the attention of the true problem; Rebecca’s family has an extended history of child abuse.
Unfortunately this innocent little girl was given too much of one of the medications prescribed to ‘calm her’, which eventually led to her passing; a true and very sad story depicting the possible outcome of a misdiagnosis.
Now, should you fall into this situation where a psychiatrist or doctor believes your child has bipolar disorder, there are some things we can do to help our children. First and foremost, get a second, third, fourth, even fifth opinion.
Just because one doctor says its one way, that doesn’t mean it is. Also, not every rumor bears truth especially from parents who say their child has bipolar disorder, as the majority of children are just being kids. They throw tantrums, they cry, they laugh, they get excited, and they get sad.
That does not mean they have bipolar disorder. So keep a lookout as the American Psychiatric Association is seriously deliberating the establishment of new criteria for this fad that will hopefully reduce misdiagnosis.