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Why is bipolar disorder diagnosed so often in US?


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Can it have anything to do with overprescription of drugs? A psychotherapist wonders.

 

Is Bipolar the Disorder Du Jour?

By Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D. Jun 6 2011 psychologytoday.com

 

You may have read or heard about the recent report in the Archives of General Psychiatry (Vol. 28, No. 3) that while the rate of bipolar illness is 4% in the USA it only averages 2% outside of the USA. Twice as many people with bipolar in America than elsewhere? So, what's up with that?

 

Why is bipolar being diagnosed at twice the rate in the USA relative to outside of the USA? While I don't know for sure I am amazed at how frequently it is diagnosed in recent years. This is especially true among children and young people. Bipolar I, II, and now even Bipolar III is being used to capture variations on the theme of cycles of depression and mania.

 

Recently I sent a patient who I considered to have struggles with anxiety to a psychiatrist for potential medication. The person ended up with a bipolar diagnosis. This lead to medications that created a variety of problematic side effects as well as other unintended consequences for the person. This isn't unusual. I've had this happen before to my patients in recent years. Other psychologists have told me that they have had this experience as well.

 

My concern is that bipolar has become the diagnosis du jour in America. This worries me because patients are prescribed strong mood stabilizing medications that may or may not be appropriate for them as well as living with a diagnosis that may or may not be truly accurate. I am most concerned when children and young people are medicated in ways that might not be completely safe for their developing brains.

 

Now, I'm a psychologist and not a psychiatrist. Thus, at the end of the day, I have to trust my physician colleagues to do the right thing when it comes to medication management making decisions based on the very best available science and clinical best practices.

 

That being said, I am nervous. I can't help but wonder if the frequent diagnosis of bipolar in the USA in recent years truly reflects a better appreciation for and identification of this disorder or might it just be trendy....

 

On a perhaps more sinister note, could the frequency of bipolar disorder be a by-product of pharmaceutical company interests and efforts to promote their medications for profit? You have to at least wonder.

 

....

http://www.psychologytoday.com/node/66018

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Can it have anything to do with overprescription of drugs? A psychotherapist wonders.

 

Is Bipolar the Disorder Du Jour?

By Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D. Jun 6 2011 psychologytoday.com

 

You may have read or heard about the recent report in the Archives of General Psychiatry (Vol. 28, No. 3) that while the rate of bipolar illness is 4% in the USA it only averages 2% outside of the USA. Twice as many people with bipolar in America than elsewhere? So, what's up with that?

 

Why is bipolar being diagnosed at twice the rate in the USA relative to outside of the USA? While I don't know for sure I am amazed at how frequently it is diagnosed in recent years. This is especially true among children and young people. Bipolar I, II, and now even Bipolar III is being used to capture variations on the theme of cycles of depression and mania.

 

Recently I sent a patient who I considered to have struggles with anxiety to a psychiatrist for potential medication. The person ended up with a bipolar diagnosis. This lead to medications that created a variety of problematic side effects as well as other unintended consequences for the person. This isn't unusual. I've had this happen before to my patients in recent years. Other psychologists have told me that they have had this experience as well.

 

My concern is that bipolar has become the diagnosis du jour in America. This worries me because patients are prescribed strong mood stabilizing medications that may or may not be appropriate for them as well as living with a diagnosis that may or may not be truly accurate. I am most concerned when children and young people are medicated in ways that might not be completely safe for their developing brains.

 

Now, I'm a psychologist and not a psychiatrist. Thus, at the end of the day, I have to trust my physician colleagues to do the right thing when it comes to medication management making decisions based on the very best available science and clinical best practices.

 

That being said, I am nervous. I can't help but wonder if the frequent diagnosis of bipolar in the USA in recent years truly reflects a better appreciation for and identification of this disorder or might it just be trendy....

 

On a perhaps more sinister note, could the frequency of bipolar disorder be a by-product of pharmaceutical company interests and efforts to promote their medications for profit? You have to at least wonder.

 

....

http://www.psychologytoday.com/node/66018

 

Great response on his blog by the way.

 

I have criticized my former psychiatrist for many things but to his credit, he never ever tried to falsely diagnose me with BP when I had all those adverse reactions to ADs. When I foolishly suggested it at one point, he looked at me like I was nuts.

 

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Here's the comment I made on this article:

 

Adverse effects of antidepressants are misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder

 

A lot of bipolar diagnoses in the US may in fact be erroneous identification of a known adverse reaction to antidepressants.

 

Antidepressants can cause agitation, nervousness, sleeplessness, and mood changes that clinicians misdiagnose as bipolar symptomology.

 

Typically, instead of stopping the antidepressant due to adverse reaction, the clinician will misdiagnose as bipolar disorder, maintain the patient on the antidepressant, and add a trendy drug or two, such as Seroquel, Risperdal, or Abilify. Or maybe even another antidepressant.

 

Polypharmacy causes the patient to deteriorate further. The clinician experiments with additional drugs.

 

Eventually, the patient's nervous system is seriously damaged by polypharmacy, and then you have a case of severe "bipolar disorder."

 

This is a disgrace to medicine, of course, but it is the way psychiatry is practiced -- d*mn the side effects, blame the patient, full speed ahead on the drugs.

 

There are reports of this all over the Web. It's a central argument in Robert Whitaker's book, Anatomy of an Epidemic.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hello, Misdiagnosed. You may wish to reprint your article here so we can discuss it.

 

From reading it, it looks to me like you had adverse reactions to SSRIs. For some people, SSRIs are very stimulating. It doesn't mean the people have bipolar disorder or that the SSRIs create bipolar disorder, it means you had an adverse reaction to antidepressants.

 

Many, many time doctors will misdiagnose this as bipolar disorder. It is not. Here is a description of true bipolar disorder: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/matter-personality/201204/how-recognize-bad-psychiatrist

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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