Australian psychiatrist Peter Parry in these posts identifies pediatric bipolar disorder as “a fad diagnosis mostly confined to the USA.” This is interesting since I’ve shown that 7% of persons with mania admitted to the hospital in 1845 Paris by the great Esquirol were as young as 15 years of age. Quite an American fad.
Surely, the fact that Australians and Englishmen and other members of the British Commonwealth have opinions that differ from Americans doesn’t mean that they are right and we are wrong. If that is the case, let’s turn the clock back to 1775 right now.
The causes? Our Australian colleague cites biomedical reductionism. But who is more reductionistic? The child psychiatrist who diagnoses bipolar disorder and prescribes medications, or the child psychiatrist who refuses to diagnose bipolar disorder and prescribes other medications. The first might give antipsychotics; the latter diagnoses ADHD and depression and intermittent explosive disorder and temper dysregulation disorder - and gives antidepressants and amphetamines, and sometimes antipsychotics. Either way, children are getting lots of medications. I don’t see how making multiple other diagnoses, and then giving drugs, improves upon diagnosing one condition, and giving drugs.