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Letters to the Editor
November 2010

Bipolar Disorder?

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2010 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2010

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67(11):1198. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.143

The article by Birmaher et al1 in the March 2009 Archives contributes to the controversy regarding bipolar disorder (BD) in school-aged children. As Birmaher et al note, most of these children met criteria for BD not otherwise specified but not BD type I or BD type II, because they lack the “episode duration requirements for those diagnoses.” However, without the episode duration requirements, one has a patient with considerable emotional lability and intensity that, especially in a child, cannot be easily differentiated from being a precursor of a personality disorder (eg, borderline or histrionic personality disorders) or related to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. It is unclear whether it serves any purpose to call these children's disease BD.

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