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Book and Media Reviews
March 5, 2008

Bipolar Children: Cutting-Edge Controversy, Insights, and Research

JAMA. 2008;299(9):1074-1075. doi:10.1001/jama.299.9.1074

In Europe and across the globe, manic depression is rarely diagnosed in the pediatric population. In the United States, on the other hand, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) suggests that it may exist in up to 13% of children.1 Prescriptions of sedating drugs (anticonvulsants, α-agonists, and atypical antipsychotics) have increased up to 3-fold in the last decade.2 Both of these anomalous trends, poorly substantiated by quality research, have occurred during a time of dramatic economic change in the health care industry. Meanwhile, US children appear to be getting less mentally healthy, not more, with diagnoses of “mood disorders” and “pediatric bipolar” (PBD) topping the list. This is clearly crazy, but where does the madness lie? In the children, the prescribers, or society as a whole?

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