What makes the DSM so pernicious is that it is a cultural document whose influence transcends not only psychiatric practice but also the Western civilization from which it originates. Each revision of the DSM rescripts and reimagines how we make sense of our experiences, reinterprets what thoughts, feelings and behaviors are socially sanctioned, and ultimately what it means to be human. Full Article →
BMC Psychiatry offers an examination of the history of childhood abuse among 141 patients with bipolar disorder found that fins “childhood trauma is associated with a more severe course of bipolar illness… By using specific trauma factors (physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse/neglect) the associations become both more precise, and diverse.”
A report from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project finds that hospital stays for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children aged 5-9 increased 696% from 1997 to 2010, 475% in children aged 10-14, and 345% in those aged 15-17. By 2010, mood disorders had become the most frequent principal diagnosis in children aged 1-17.
The fundamental importance of connection to a child helps us to understand the use of “Time-Outs” which, used improperly, can be like pouring gas on a fire in a situation that is already not working; causing a distressed child to go further awry and potentially contributing to symptomatology that puts them at risk of being identified as ADHD, anxious, or bipolar. Full Article →
Researchers from Philadelphia and Baltimore find, in a study of Medicaid records for 50 states and the District of Columbia, that antipsychotic prescribing to Medicaid-enrolled children increased 62% from 2002 to 2007. Although proportionally more youth with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or autism received antipsychotics, by 2007 youth with ADHD accounted for 50 percent of the total antipsychotic use. The authors express concern about the need for efficacy data, in light of safety concerns.
Eminent developmental psychologist Jerome Kagan, in an interview with Spiegel, accuses the mental-health establishment and pharmaceutical companies of incorrectly classifying millions as mentally ill out of self-interest and greed. “That is the history of humanity: Those in authority believe they’re doing the right thing, and they harm those who have no power,” Kagan says.
Three government agencies – the Administration for Children and Families, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – are convening a meeting August 27 and 28 to address the crisis of “overmedication” – and rash of related scandals – in foster children. “The medical literature shows no studies of the long-term effects of antipsychotic drugs on children,” says one psychologist and lawyer involved in child welfare issues.
A study of 566 families with 1416 bipolar-disordered members, and 675 families with 1726 depressed members by researchers from Johns Hopkins and the University of Iowa, published in Psychological Medicine‘s July issue finds that the comorbidity of these disorders with OCD, panic disorder and specific phobia is “at least partly due to familial factors, which may be of relevance to both phenotypic and genetic studies of co-morbidity.”
Researchers from the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre of King’s College’s Institute of Psychiatry in London, publishing in the Journal of Affective Disorders, review the literature on ADHD and bipolar disorder. The boundaries between the two are blurred, they say, and “comorbidity and family studies appear to show that the two disorders occur together and aggregate in families at higher than expected rates. Furthermore close inspection of results from population studies reveals heightened co-occurrence of ADHD and BD even in the context of high comorbidity commonly noted in psychopathology. These results point towards a meaningful association between ADHD and BD, going beyond symptomatic similarities.”
A touching article in the Las Vegas Sun follows one child from abandonment through foster placements, polypharmacy, suicidality, delinquency and homelessness to stability off medication and with close support. The article weaves this story together with recent efforts to curb the use of medications in foster care.
A controversial move by the Australian Federal Government plans to screen 3 year olds for early signs of mental illness as part of routine health checks. Parents and some of the countries top doctors are concerned that tests could lead to over-diagnosis.
Researchers in London review the literature on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder (BD), finding that “comorbidity and family studies appear to show that the two disorders occur together and aggregate in families at higher than expected rates. Furthermore close inspection of results from population studies reveals heightened co-occurrence of ADHD and BD even in the context of high comorbidity commonly noted in psychopathology. These results point towards a meaningful association between ADHD and BD, going beyond symptomatic similarities.” The study was released online by the Journal of Affective Disorders on May 24, 2012.
Robert Whitaker, author of Anatomy of an Epidemic, discusses the disturbing effects of psychotropic drugs prescribed for children. Such medications, used for ADHD, depression, and anxiety, for example, have become commonplace over the past 30 years. This practice profoundly alters the lives of the children, and so now we, as a society, urgently need to address this question: do the medications help the children thrive and grow up into healthy adults? Or does this practice do more harm than good over the long term. Robert Whitaker emphasizes two things: first, the need for an objective, evidence-based approach to evaluating these drugs; and second, the need for better public understanding of how these medications work.
Teens may have mania without depression, making their bipolar illness harder to classify, according to a new NIMH study. Interviews with 10,213 teens found that 2.5 percent met criteria for bipolar disorder, a rate similar to that of adults, but 1.7 percent had mania only without the depression.
In response to pressure over the 40-fold increase of bipolar diagnoses in children, many of which are being reviewed and dropped in retrospect, the APA has proposed a new, potentially more transient “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder” that would apply to children with chronic irritability and recurrent temper outbursts, and would ostensibly be treated with antidepressants instead of antipsychotics. The proposal, according to the Boston Globe, has brought new scrutiny to Joseph Biederman,who argued that chronic irritability can be interpreted as juvenile mania.
The effects of antidepressants and mood stabilizers on young people’s psychosexual development receive little attention or research, says Kaitlin Bell Barnett (author of “Dosed: The Medication Generation Grows Up”). She attributes the “shocking lack of studies” to a puritanical attitude toward teenage sexuality, and writes about the “shortsighted” approach to the lasting effects on young peoples’ development and psyches.
Although research supports the stigma and labeling perspective, empirical evidence also indicates that a social safety net remains intact for those with mental illness, recalling the classic “sick role” concept. Here, insights from social networks theory are offered as explanation for these discrepant findings. Using data from individuals experiencing their first contact with the mental health treatment system, the effects of diagnosis and symptoms on social networks and stigma experiences are examined. The findings suggest that relative to those with less severe affective disorders, individuals with severe diagnoses and more visible symptoms of mental illness have larger, more broadly functional networks, as well as more supporters who are aware of and sympathetic toward the illness situation. However, those with more severe diagnoses are also vulnerable to rejection and discrimination by acquaintances and strangers. These findings suggest that being formally labeled with a mental illness may present a paradox, simultaneously initiating beneficial social processes within core networks and detrimental ones among peripheral ties.
Whether it’s the Nurtured Heart Approach, or any other method that’s truly up to the task, we need these effective strategies and ways of thinking to be more widespread so we can lessen the pitfalls of the medical model’s limited prospective which has no idea of how to turn intense into immensely great. Full Article →
Professor Sharna Olfman has researched and written extensively about children in society, including education and sexuality, and her perspective on so-called bipolar disorder is insightful and deserves wide recognition. Sharna discusses the social and economic pressures that are driving parents … Full Article →
In a rare long-term study of antipsychotics used in children and adolescent inpatients, the Institute of Living in Hartford, CT followed 3,851 consecutive admissions over a ten-year period. Results show that nearly 45% of children and adolescents were prescribed antipsychotics. “This is an important issue,” said Dr. John W. Goethe, the study’s presenter, “because these antipsychotic medications are commonly prescribed” despite being used for indications that have not been approved by the FDA. The results were presented yesterday at the 17th annual Psychopharmacology Conference in Las Vegas, NV.
Federal prosecutors have rejected as insufficient the $1 billion settlement reached two months ago between Johnson & Johnson and prosecutors in Philadelphia to resolve claims related to fraudulent and unapproved marketing of Risperdal for, among other things, children and the elderly.