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Diagnosis Of Bipolar Disorder In Children And Adolescents

3006 words - 12 pages

Just for a moment, imagine being a child who is unable to have a stable youth because of recurrent episodes of major depression with manic symptoms, intermingled with phases of normal behavior and hypomanic periods. Bipolar disorder – also called manic-depressive disorder – is a disorder that entails severe mood swings; fluctuating from the most horrible depressions to the most euphoric and energetic phases (Birmaher, 2013). The DSM-IV TR portrays Bipolar I Disorder as an illness during which a patient is affected by mood changes that last from weeks to months. This means, that the patient goes through periods of depression, followed by a normal state for a short period of time before the onset of a manic episode. As stated by the DSM-IV TR, Bipolar I disorder is characterized by the occurrence of at least one manic episode, one mixed episode and one period of major depression. There are also various subtypes to Bipolar I disorder, such as Bipolar II disorder – which is characterized by the occurrence of at least one depressive and one manic episode that occur in a form noticable to others but causing less impairment, and cyclothymic disorder – which involves fluctuating mood disturbance including less severe periods of depression and mania that last for short periods over an interval of at least two years (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). According to many studies, the amount of children and adolescents who are diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder increased rapidly over the last few years. According to the DSM-IV TR, the prevalence of the disorder amongst children and adolescents is around 1%. However, a team of academics described there is a forty-fold increase of the amount children or adolescents that were being diagnosed with bipolar disorder over the last decade (Parens & Johnston, 2010). According to Leibenluft et al., the main reasons for this are the increased acknowledgement of striking impairment in youth suffering from this disorder, and the fact that diagnostic criteria have been taken up in the latest version of the DSM; before this, Bipolar Disorder was thought to occur only in adults. Also, even though the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder can be pointed out and diagnosed in a structural manner, studies indicate that the presence in children continues to be a controversial topic. This is not only because the symptoms are hard to distinguish from other disorders, but also because there is a vast overlap with for instance Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In this paper I want to evaluate when children and adolescents can be diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, why controversy has risen about this topic and how this can be solved in the future.
Bipolar Disorder is an illness that is most frequently established during late teenage or early adult years. The specific cause of the disorder is not yet specified, however there are several factors that unquestionably have influence on the...

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