Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Broad application of bipolar diagnosis in children may do more harm than good

Date:
March 21, 2010
Source:
The Hastings Center
Summary:
Troubled children diagnosed with bipolar disorder may fare better with a different diagnosis, according to new research. The researchers support an emerging approach, which gives many of those children a new diagnosis called severe mood dysregulation or temper dysregulation disorder with dysphoria.

Troubled children diagnosed with bipolar disorder may fare better with a different diagnosis, according to researchers at The Hastings Center.

The researchers support an emerging approach, which gives many of those children a new diagnosis called Severe Mood Dysregulation (SMD) or Temper Dysregulation Disorder with Dysphoria (TDD).

The findings come soon after proposed revisions to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) were opened to public comment.

In a paper published in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health,Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston examine the evolution of the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children and its dramatic increase since the mid 1990s, after the criteria for diagnosis broadened. They emphasize that there is vigorous debate in pediatric psychiatry about whether symptoms in children accurately reflect the criteria for bipolar disorder, particularly for mania.

The increase in cases has led to concerns about accurately defining psychiatric disorders in children as well as the safety and efficacy of resulting pharmacological treatment.

It is difficult to diagnose psychiatric disorders in children, Parens and Johnston write, and many children receiving bipolar diagnoses exhibit behaviors that do not closely fit the disease's criteria. "Using new labels such as SMD or TDD reflects that physicians do not yet know exactly what is wrong with these children or how to treat it," said Johnston. "Facing up to this uncertainty could lead to better treatment recommendations and more accurate long-term prognosis." A new diagnostic category would also help reframe the research agenda.

Their findings come from an interdisciplinary series of workshops funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. Participants included psychiatrists, pediatricians, educators, bioethicists, parents, and social scientists. Erik Parens is a senior research scholar and Josephine Johnston a research scholar at The Hastings Center, a bioethics research institution.

Among the workshop conclusions:

  • The bipolar label may fit poorly many of the children who have received it over the last decade.
  • There is debate about what children's symptoms represent. For example, what is characterized as mania in children is very different from its features in adults. Mania is a hallmark feature of bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive disorder.
  • The bipolar label, which has a strong genetic component, can distract from addressing the family or social context.
  • Physicians must be forthcoming with families about uncertainties and complexities in the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder in children.
  • Current training practices and reimbursement policies may leave some psychiatrists and pediatricians unable to deliver the comprehensive care that these children need.

The authors also note that, while experts sometimes disagree about labels, the workshop group universally agreed that "children and families can suffer terribly as a result of serious disturbances in children's moods and behaviors," and that these troubled children desperately need help. They also write, "It is a deeply regrettable feature of our current mental health and educational systems that some DSM diagnoses are better than others at getting children and families access to [needed] care and services."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Hastings Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Hastings Center. "Broad application of bipolar diagnosis in children may do more harm than good." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100318174723.htm>.
The Hastings Center. (2010, March 21). Broad application of bipolar diagnosis in children may do more harm than good. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100318174723.htm
The Hastings Center. "Broad application of bipolar diagnosis in children may do more harm than good." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100318174723.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

AP (July 18, 2014) Following the nationwide trend of eased restrictions on marijuana use, pot edibles are growing in popularity. One Boston-area cooking class is teaching people how to eat pot responsibly. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Understanding D.C.'s New Pot Laws

Understanding D.C.'s New Pot Laws

Newsy (July 17, 2014) Washington D.C.'s new laws decriminalizing small amount of marijuana went into effect Thursday. Here's how they work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins