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The Bipolar Puzzle: Kids and Bipolar Disorder

By Therese J. Borchard
Associate Editor

The Bipolar Puzzle: Kids and Bipolar DisorderI’ve been part of too many heated discussions lately on bipolar disorder among kids. Because I know of several cases where it’s been sheer heartache for the parents, it’s difficult for me not to respond defensively at folks who dismiss all child mood disorders as proof of an over-medicated nation.

So I thought I’d republish excerpts from Jennifer Egan’s excellent, comprehensive article that ran awhile back in the New York Times Magazine. She profiles several different families as well talks to experts in the field, asking doctors how they go about diagnosing a child with bipolar disorder and why the percentage increase among kids.

I have excerpted more of the medical paragraphs. But the descriptions of the kids’ symptoms is worth reading.

One Comment to
The Bipolar Puzzle: Kids and Bipolar Disorder

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  1. >Nevertheless, many parents walk into doctors’
    >offices having already read “The Bipolar Child”
    >and concluded that their children are bipolar.

    Really? How many, I wonder?

    We resisted getting a diagnosis for years … which meant that our daughter had to wait until she was five before getting psychiatric treatment. That’s right: for her, five was *late*.

    I’ll never understand the whole bias against believing in psychiatric illness in children … even though I once shared it! I guess it’s s demonstration of how powerful social norms and beliefs can be.

    Why would we believe that brain-based disorders magically start at 18? Why would we deny needed psychiatric treatment only to children? It really makes no sense.

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Recent Comments
  • Ronald Pies MD: Here is that link to Dr. Jamison’s piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2014...
  • Ronald Pies MD: I normally don’t reply to messages that are not fully signed, but–well, Jennifer, I just...
  • GK_Hope: Dr. John Grohol, I just found this, but I’d like to applaud you. I’m disgusted with the drug...
  • michael: A simple breakdown and thought process is all it takes, thank you for the outline!
  • Blooper: Horrible article. It’s not him, it’s you, ditch the negativity. Look lady, I can tell you...
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