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Study documents rapid increase in youth bipolar disorder diagnoses
Date:9/3/2007

the same time periods.

Between 1999 and 2003, most young people diagnosed with bipolar disorder were male (66.5 percent), while 67.6 percent of diagnosed adults were females. Young people were more likely than adults to receive diagnoses of both bipolar disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (32.2 percent vs. 3 percent).

The impressive increase in the diagnosis of childhood and adolescent bipolar disorder in U.S. office-based practice indicates a shift in clinical diagnostic practices, the authors write. In broad terms, either bipolar disorder was historically underdiagnosed in children and adolescents and that problem has now been rectified, or bipolar disorder is currently being overdiagnosed in this age group. Without independent systematic diagnostic assessments, we cannot confidently select between these two competing hypotheses.

Most youth (90.6 percent) and adults (86.4 percent) were prescribed medications to treat bipolar disorder, including mood stabilizers, antipsychotics and antidepressants. These similarities occurred despite the fact that the condition and treatments may affect adults and children differently, the authors note. There is an urgent need to study the reliability and validity using multiple informant strategies of the diagnosis of child and adolescent bipolar disorder in community practice and to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of pharmacological treatment regimens commonly used to treat youth diagnosed with bipolar disorder, they conclude.


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Contact: Dacia Morris
212-543-5421
JAMA and Archives Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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