This blog will explore the danger that gifted, creative children, sometimes misfits in our regimented society, are being misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder, and threatened with a lifetime of dangerous medications and social stigma. Having that dire diagnosis imposed on you at age six severely comprises your ability to lead a normal life. Twenty years ago, psychiatry believed that bipolar disorder strikes in the late teens. Now psychiatrists occasionally diagnose bipolar disorder in four year olds, after too brief examination. Is diagnosing kids as bipolar an unthinking way to squelch kids who are divergent thinkers, who think too fast, talk too fast, get bored too easily for our increasing test-oriented schools?
I want to investigate many insufficiently researched questions. Are other countries undergoing the same childhood bipolar epidemic or is this an American phenomena? When and how was the supposed of epidemic of childhood bipolar disorder suddenly discovered? How many of the early pioneers were funded by drug companies? Have any longitudinal studies been done, comparing the life trajectory of kids diagnosed and medicated and kids whose parents refuse medication?
Has the breakdown of the extended family and small families increased the number of kids in serious trouble? Why is there such a striking absence of social criticism about the so-called epidemic of bipolar children? For the last 30 years American society has conducted an unprecedented experiment in having young children cared for by a rapid turnover of strangers–not parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles. Babies as young as two months spend their day in group care, with its inevitable lack of respect for children’s individual temperament and biological rhythms. Both mother and father work long exhausting hours without the support of nearby grandparents, aunts, uncles. Schools are obsessed with testing, neglecting the art, music, writing, play that nurture a child’s creativity.
Since I was 40, I have struggled with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder for 20 years. I have personally ingested the medications now being inflicted on young kids. Even my strong intellect and excellent education could not prevail against the onslaught of depakote or risperdal. My IQ seemed to drop thirty points; I lost my lifelong writing ability as well as any motivation to write.
How many psychiatrist prescribing drugs for young children have taken them?American society has come to regard children as high-end luxury items parents insist on purchasing and then whine that society should take some responsibility. We have the least child friendly society in any Western country. Do we need more social change and fewer psychiatric drugs?