Child Bipolar Disorder Really?

Stuart Kaplan, M.D., a child psychiatrist and clinical professor of psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine, has written a new book called “Your Child Does Not Have Bipolar Disorder: How Bad Science and Good Public Relations Created the Diagnosis.”

Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D., interviews the author, who describes his initial reaction to the diagnosis.

The  first articles describing the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children in the mid-1990s were obviously mistaken. The children described in these articles did not have bipolar disorder, and the criteria used to make the diagnosis differed from the DSM-IV criteria for the diagnosis. In a few short years, professional meetings on the subject were filled to capacity, and the diagnosis became rampant. Training programs educated child psychiatrists in the diagnosis and treatment of the disorder. Finally, it seemed as if child psychiatry would never back away from the diagnosis; I thought a book critical of the diagnosis for parents and professionals might help.

Dr. Wedge says categorizing children’s mood and behavioral problems as bipolar disorder is incorrect, because the diagnosis does not point to an actual biological problem in children.

Kaplan,  the child psychiatrist says:

Categorizing children’s mood and behavioral problems as bipolar disorder is incorrect because the disorder does not meet any of the required five Robins-Guze criteria for establishing a psychiatric diagnosis. Pediatric bipolar disorder is a social construction: it is a word made up by people, but it has no counterpart in the real world. It’s an American disease that is largely absent in other countries. It is one of many stories we have made up to explain misbehaving children.

you’ll make your own mind up on this issue, of course.  i know that the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center is one of the foremost training institutions in the world.  Bowen,, was one of the originators of family therapy.  its still a revolutionary concept.  “guidance” and “doctors”.

it makes me think again about Dabrowski, this little known Polish psychiatrist, and his revolutionary conceptualizations of the way creativity is stigmatized into illness.

it has implications for my own personal population, the bipolar, as well.  i encourage you to read more about it.


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