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Bipolar Disorder Among Children Increasing in USA, Australia

More children in Australia are being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, according to a report in the Queensland Courier-Mail. "We are seeing more students with the light gone out of their eyes," said psychiatrist Gordon Parker, "and more students who are behaving erratically."

Professor Parker said that bipolar disorder seems to be increasing in both Australia and the United States. He links the increase to parents who are older when they have their first child and to changes in children's diets.

Bipolar disorder involves periods of mania alternating with severe depression. Symptoms usually begin between ages 15 and 18 years old, although more American children are being diagnosed as young as age two.

It can be extremely difficult to diagnose mental illnesses in children. Dr. Janet Wozniak, director of the pediatric bipolar disorder program at Massachusetts General Hospital, notes that three of the seven symptoms for bipolar disorder are also signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Many children have several diagnoses and are prescribed multiple medications by the time they are in their teens.

Some experts believe that bipolar disorder is over-diagnosed and is actually uncommon in children under 10 years old. Dr. Gabrielle Carlson, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, said that many explosive and aggressive children who are labeled bipolar are truly "diagnostically homeless."

The number of doctor visits for children and teens with bipolar disease increased by forty times between 1994 and 2003 in the United States. One international survey of school principals indicates that one in five students needs mental health services or emotional support.

Labels: mental_health, diagnosis, bipolar_disorder

Posted By: Aspen Education Group 0 Comments

Study to Examine Ability of Bipolar Disorder Medication to Treat ADHD

Depakote and Risperdal are intended for use in the treatment of bipolar disorder, but doctors have long prescribed them for the most extreme cases of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children. Now, the National Institute of Mental Health is funding a study to determine which of these medications works best, and at what dose.
"The study... will include about 140 children between 6 and 13 - about a third of them in San Antonio. Stony Brook School of Medicine in New York, which is leading the study, and North Shore-LLC Health System's Feinstein Institute Research in New York are the other two sites."
All three sites are currently seeking families with children who have extreme cases of ADHD, such as explosive bouts of rage, and sudden, unprovoked aggression. All children will first be treated for hyperactivity, and will receive behavioral therapy for their aggression. Source: My San Antonio News

Labels: medications, treatment, bipolar_disorder

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Fathers Over 40 at Higher Risk for Children with Bipolar Disorder

A Swedish study found a link between bipolar disorder and older fathers. The risk of having a bipolar child began to increase once a father was 40 years old. Fathers over 55 years were 37 percent more likely to have a bipolar child than were fathers in their 20s.

Between one and four percent of children have bipolar disorder, which is characterized by mood swings ranging from deep depression to euphoric mania.

Previous studies linked schizophrenia and autism to older fathers, with the age of mothers not being a factor.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institute analyzed data from 13,428 people with bipolar disorder who had been born between 1932 and 1991.

This study appears in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Labels: fathers, genetics, bipolar_disorder

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Harvard Professors Studying Bipolar Disease Accepted Payments From Drug Companies

Congressional investigators revealed that three prominent Harvard University professors did not report millions of dollars paid to them by drug companies. Many of their studies concluded that children with bipolar disorder should be treated aggressively with antipsychotic drugs.

Partly because of their studies, the number of children diagnosed with bipolar disorder increased 40 times between 1994 and 2003. Previously, bipolar disorder, a disease characterized by mood swings of mania and depression, was believed to appear in late adolescence, not childhood. Last year, 500,000 children and teenagers took antipsychotic drugs.

Drs. Joseph Biederman, Timothy Wilens, and Thomas Spencer did not report earnings of over $4 million from drug companies such as Johnson & Johnson, according to Senator Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who is leading the investigation. Sen. Grassley said he only had records from 2000 to 2007.

"It has really been an honor system," said Dr. Robert Alpern, dean of the Yale School of Medicine. Professors are supposed to report compensation, but no one really checks them.

Drug and medical device companies are the chief source of university research funding.

The use of antipsychotic drugs on children is controversial because children are more susceptible to metabolic problems that the drugs can cause. It is also unclear what the long-term effects of the drugs are because they have not been widely used in pediatric medicine.

Labels: studies, bipolar_disorder

Posted By: Aspen Education Group 0 Comments

Bipolar Disorder Commonly Misdiagnosed

In an essay appearing March 17 in The Lancet, Franco Benazzi, MD, PhD, writes about a common but poorly recognized form of bipolar disorder, called bipolar disorder II. Because the disorder is so often misdiagnosed, patients are often wrongly treated with antidepressants alone, which can make the problem worse, the professor of psychiatry tells WebMD.

Labels: misdiagnosis, studies, bipolar_disorder

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BiPolar Disorder Sometimes Misdiagnosed as ADHD

Bipolar disorder and ADHD have several characteristics in common. High energy, difficulty focusing, and fidgeting are just some of the similarities. Because of this, bi-polar disorder is sometimes misdiagnosed.

The biggest issue with misdiagnosis is mistreatment for the actual problem. If you are bi-polar, it could get much worse over time if it is left untreated. ADHD often settles down as the person ages and can be treated very easily with certain medications and/or diet changes. Bi-polar patients need much different treatments with much stronger medications. [Source: Helium]

A child who exhibits some of the common symptoms should be carefully diagnosed by a medical professional who’s experienced in diagnosing and treating both conditions.

Labels: misdiagnosis, bipolar_disorder

Posted By: 4ADHD.com 1 Comment