25th June, 2011

“I have never witnessed anything like the tidal wave of unwarranted enthusiasm for the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children that now engulfs the public and the profession. Before 1995, bipolar disorder, once known as manic-depressive illness, was rarely diagnosed in children; today nearly one third of all children and adolescents discharged from child psychiatric hospitals are diagnosed with the disorder and medicated accordingly. The rise of outpatient office visits for children and adolescents with bipolar disorder increased 40-fold from 20,000 in 1994–95 to 800,000 in 2002–03.”

U.S. Children Misdiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder

I have students who wear “mental illness” and “learning disability” like a badge.  I’m not trying to belittle real mental illness here; yet, I have hold myself in check every time a kid says, “Miss S, I just can’t do this.  I’m not on my medication.  I have depression.”

They sit there in class and cross references with each other:  I have ADD, I have ADHD, I have insomnia, I have depression….

It’s not cool, kids.  Really.

Notes

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