Are Children Being Over Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder?
I do not believe that there is an over diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children. Just the opposite, bipolar in children is often misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder or as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.
Parents notice attention deficit or hyperactivity in their child as they are growing up, but they excuse it by saying the child is just very active or all boy/girl just like me when I was their age.
Then when the child is old enough to go to school it is here is where the real problem begins.
Since this is usually the first time the child has been in a structured environment, and he/she has trouble not only staying in his/her seat but also following directions, and obeying rules.
By the middle of the year, most of the children have settled in to the routine that the class follows on a daily basis. That is all except the child who is still having trouble with following directions and obeying rules. If at this time the child is misdiagnosed with ADHD, the child is placed on one of the many medications that is prescribed for ADHD.
Two of the most popular medicines given for ADHD are Ritalin, and Adderall. If the child were ADHD, the medicine would have a calming affect on the child. However, because this is the wrong diagnosis, the medicine does not work and the child’s behavior only gets worse. At this time, the medicine is either changed or increased.
Since the child’s behavior does not improve, the child is labeled as a problem child, a label that will usually stick with the child throughout his school years. Not until the child is older and stops taking the medicine or is retested does the child finally receive the right diagnosis of being bipolar. At this time, the child can receive the proper medicines and the help that it needs.
The reason this happens so often that in children bipolar has some of the same symptoms of ADD and ADHD. Some of the symptoms are having a short attention span, being very active, unable to follow directions, and having behavioral problems. However, if given the wrong medicine it can cause a bad reaction in a bipolar child. A bipolar child can go from happy to violent sometimes without warning.
I think it is too easy to give the child a diagnosis of being ADHD, stick a pill in its mouth, and hope for the best. When often as a child with ADHD they can learn to control it or out grow it. Whereas if a child is diagnosed with bipolar it can affect its whole life, life insurance, job situations, and lots of times their marriage.