FORMERLY this disease was called: “manic depressive ’.Bipolar disorders attacks 1% of everyone under 20 years of age. At least they receive that diagnosis. It was an illness that was rarely seen before the age of 20.
There has been a 500% increase seen in children hospitalized for bipolar disease in 2004.
Are these illnesses relabeled or is there truly such an increase in disturbed kids? Over diagnosing by encouraging doctors has resulted in huge use of drug prescriptions for problem children. No one I am sure is going out and offering medications to children. To make the diagnosis however is difficult, because there are no objective tests and the children with bipolar diseases look different than the adults. Most of the time the mood is depression but having episodes of mania clinches the diagnosis.This illness often exists with many other problems and it is complicated with two different mind states, suicidal depression and manic over activity.
Children have fast developing brains and their actions are often unpredictable. They can’t tell you how they feel and the poor doctor can’t tell if the behavior is a twist in normal development, since they display both euphoria and destructive behavior.
What started this rise in diagnosis? In 1995, doctors relabeled hyperactive children who had conduct disorders as early bipolar. These children are self destructive and angry, often will jump out of a moving car and also show abnormal sexual behavior. The often risk losing touch with reality, grandstand, and might even tell coaches how to coach and teachers how to teach.
When the kids have sex, more problems and symptoms occur that are hard to recognize. Many teachers and doctors label these children as attention deficit disorders (ASHD), or anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders. More recently a new diagnosis was invented, called intermittent explosive disorder.
As aggressive kids reach adulthood, they may be substance abusers, hotheads, and antisocial but not bipolar. Only one out of three children labeled bipolar reach adulthood being bipolar. True bipolar disease is highly hereditary with a 10 times risk factor in a child whose parent is bipolar.
When you make the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, you put children on medication for life. You should really be sure. But if you give medication for ADHD to a child who is in reality bipolar, you can trigger mania. Lithium, a mood stabilizer, is the first drug used. Following this, 3 or 4 more drugs are quickly added.
There is no test available for bipolar illness and gene and brain studies show nothing. Many bipolar people also have endocrine and immune disorders. Often they have diabetes, obesity, hyperthyroidism, migraines and multiple sclerosis.
Perhaps studying children who have not yet been put on many drugs will help us get a better clue in solving this problem. Is our new culture in raising children contributing to this problem? What do you think?
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