Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Washington Post Scrutinizes Children's Bipolar Diagnosis

"There is no test for bipolar illness, which is believed to result from a poorly understood interplay between genetics and environment. Although the disease runs in families, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), most children with one bipolar parent won't develop the illness. Their risk is about 10 to 15 percent compared with 1 percent among the general population....

"Proponents of early intervention say that aggressive treatment can limit the damage of untreated mental illness.

"As a result, some preschoolers barely out of diapers are being treated for bipolar disorder with powerful drugs, few of which have been tested in children.

"But 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."

The full Washington Post article is here


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