Thoughts From MY Cluttered Mind offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Bipolar Disorder myself and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Kids Labeled Bipolar Misdiagnosed?



As mental illness becomes more mainstream, there are also increased ideas on who and how people are diagnosed, especially children.

In 1994 20,000 visits were made for children being diagnosed as bipolar, in 2003; the number was 800,000 - a 40% increase!!!! According to these numbers it is thought that there are some 1 million children diagnosed as bipolar - the thing is it is a difficult diagnosis for children. Symptoms are different for adults, as well as the medications used to treat BP have been approved for adults, and not studied in depth for children. This is not to say that there are not children with BP, there are - but has it become a "reason" for bad behavior, a "reason" for what a child is doing?

Some Psychiatrist it is not likely there is a vast epidemic of BP in children, but a push by doctors, parents and the drug manufacturers who market psychiatric drugs.

For adults, more than 5 million adults are diagnosed with the illness, and it is known to run in families - this however does not mean children will inherit the illness. The problem with diagnosing BP in children and adolescents is the symptoms overlap with many things, such as ADHD, Anxiety and depression - some that come with the hormonal changes of adolescents. Professionals suggest that parents look for a second opinion and discuss the diagnosis with the doctor; especially if there are questions when it comes to medication and treatment.

Some fear that it will become a "reason" parents and schools will use to explain a child who is seen as a trouble maker, taking away the responsibility from the parents. This in itself is a downfall, since no matter the diagnosis the responsibility still falls to the parents and the child to conduct them properly and is not a reason to misbehave. Actions such as these are what give those with a mental illness a bad wrap and adds to stigma we are trying to so hard to do away with.