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Developmental Psychology

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The biggest controversy of diagnosis has been on bipolar disorder. There has been a 4,000% increase in children diagnosed with bipolar disorder. There are kids being diagnosed everyday even though we do not yet fully understand the symptoms. Doctors are treating these symptoms with drugs they are not sure even work. It seems like if doctors can alleviate over 50% of the symptoms the drug is acceptable. Antipsychotics are now being prescribed to children. They are in direct result having a hard time controlling their actions and behaviors. There is no definitive test for any psychiatric illnesses. Dr. Bacon chooses the medicine before he knows the diagnosis. Getting the right treatment can take a long time. This is due to the number of drugs and the symptoms that may respond to the drugs. We have mood stabilizers and (A)-typical antipsychotics, just to name a few. It’s an experiment trying these medications on these children. Our other option is we must let them be symptomatic. It’s a gamble trying medications on children at such a young age. Upping medications may bring on other symptoms that did not previously exist. Many psychologists think it is impossible to diagnose bipolar disorder in children. All the debate and confusion has led to over diagnoses. Many children with bipolar disorder are being treated by physicians or family doctors who are not familiar with the disorder. The thoughtful and careful examination of the symptoms and thinking through the problem does not exist in most physician clinics or with the family doctors due to the number of people who need to be seen. The bipolar disorder spectrum of symptoms can overlap with other diagnoses. This has led to pediatricians and family doctors over-diagnosing bipolar disorder.  Medications have a completely different impact on children as opposed to adults. Many kids are misdiagnosed all together and now there are doctors trying to strip away psychiatric illnesses previously diagnosed in order to find the proper one.

I think that psychological treatment is very effective. It’s important to sort out the symptoms and the normal childhood stresses that are typical at that age. These children are now becoming dependent upon these medications to feel their idea of normal. Are these treatments safe for the brain? Have these treatments been tested on children? It makes no sense to substitute one drug for another because we want to treat the child with pharmaceutical drugs in order to solve the problem. Doctors may be looking too quickly to untested medications to solve every problem.

There are few studies on psychiatric drugs used for kids. Research that's in shows many drugs that work in adults don't work well, or at all, in kids. Incentives are now being offered to drug companies to do pediatric studies and thus get 6 months of exclusivity or protection against a generic drug. Research has shown that many drugs that work in adults don’t work well in children. The data does not support that antidepressants work the same way in children as in adults. Typically they didn’t even work. The researches even saw an increase in suicidal thoughts. The black box label was put on antidepressants and thus prescription drugs decreased. Doctors then began to turn to antipsychotics in place of antidepressants especially in children. A well-studied medication has a black box warning that is very severe and (A) Typical drugs being used in kids don’t have that black box warning.



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