The bipolar label

Young children are being diagnosed as bipolar (manic depressive), reports the Washington Post.

. . . some experts say the surge in diagnoses is a dangerous fad — one critic called it “psychiatry’s flavor of the month” — a decision too often based on skimpy evidence, cursory evaluations and incorrect assumptions about genetic risk.

These children are troubled, critics say, but most don’t meet psychiatry’s official diagnostic criteria for the lifelong psychotic disorder.

A popular book lists “more than three dozen symptoms commonly seen in bipolar children, including silliness, separation anxiety, night terrors, carbohydrate cravings, fidgetiness, extreme bossiness, bed-wetting, lying, social anxiety and difficulty getting up in the morning.” Are there any children who aren’t bipolar?

Once diagnosed, children are treated with powerful drugs with numerous side effects; most haven’t been tested on children. Parents and children are relieved of responsibility to try to regulate behavior since the problem has been defined as medical.

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