Tag Archives: Children and counseling

U.S. Children Misdiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder – Newsweek

U.S. Children Misdiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder – Newsweek

The above link is to an article I just read regarding the overdiagnosis of bipolar disorder in children. Written by a Dr. Kaplan (child psychiatrist), he notes that many children with ADHD or ODD have been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder due to temper tantrums, grandiosity, impulsivity, racing thoughts, elevated silliness, etc. These symptoms are really happening but Dr. Kaplan does not believe they are associated with bipolar disease (and thus not appropriate to be treated with medications like Lithium, Wellbutrin, or Depakote). Dr. Kaplan goes on to say that he thinksĀ  there isn’t any scientific evidence of bipolar beginning in childhood.

Not sure I would agree with him about this but I do agree that bipolar is an easy target when a child has frequent outbursts and is difficult to rein in. He and others are right to point out that irritability is not a good indicator of bipolar disease. Nor is emotional lability a good indicator. Many ADHD kids end up with a bipolar diagnosis when they should not have it.

What should the overdiagnosis tell us? It is not really about “big pharma” trying to drug our kids. It is not about psychiatrists just wanting to push pills. It is about overwhelmed parents and teachers who do not know what to do with the overwhelming emotional/behavioral rollercoaster some children exhibit. They (parents and kids) need help and our understanding of these issues (lability, irritability, grandiosity, tantrums, etc.) and how to best help these children are poor.

Rather than beat up on the system, let us figure out better methods to parent and counsel these types of children.



Filed under anger, counseling, counseling science, counseling skills, Psychology

New diagnostic categories for children?

Those who parent or counsel children with emotional troubles recognize how crude our current set of diagnostic categories are at the present time. Kids labeled ADHD, Bi-polar, and ODD all share similar symptoms. They all can be impulsive, easily angered, hyperactive, grandiose, irritable, etc. But a friend of mine sent me some literature from researchers at Johns Hopkins where they are beginning to distinguish differences between some of these children. They present information on a diagnosis they call “Severe Mood Dysregulation” where the presentation of chronic irritability differs from the episodic forms found in Bi-polar Disorder.

Check out these two links for more details if you are interested: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/ADHD-ADD/tb/4978



Filed under counseling science