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A Burst in Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

A Burst in Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nationn' topic

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This study on the growing diagnoses of bipolar disorder in kids was startling. Doctors treated 40 times as many children in 2003 as they did in 1994. And it wouldn't be outlandish to expect that number has grown even higher in the last several years. Which means bipolar disorder is now more commonly diagnosed in children than clinical depression. There is some debate over what the study means, some researchers argue that more diagnoses is just a result of greater awareness of the problem. But, others believe that bipolar disorder is being overdiagnosed. The truth may lie somewhere in the middle. Dr. John March gave an interview in the New York Times today.

"From a developmental point of view," Dr. March said, "we simply don't know how accurately we can diagnose bipolar disorder or whether those diagnosed at age 5 or 6 or 7 will grow up to be adults with the illness. The label may or may not reflect reality."

We'll talk with one of the doctors involved in the study on the show today. He'll take your questions about what it means. If you're a parent of a child diagnosed as bipolar, what are your thoughts?