Hospital Stays for Juvenile Bipolar Jumped 434% from 1997 to 2010


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.

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Of further interest:
Bipolar disorder hospitalization rates for children soar (Clinical Psychiatry News)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Aren’t American children privileged to live in a progressive, industrialized country where they can increasingly be treated with the latest and greatest psychiatric medications at younger ages? Anyone who would suggest otherwise is using stigma from letting kids get the help they need! Right?

    Seriously, I can’t even imagine a 5-year-old doped up and locked up on a psych ward. It’s crazy.

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    • It’s happening to children younger than five. I was riding the city bus one morning when I overhead a conversation between a young mother and the bus driver. The young mother stated that her little daugher who’d just turned two years old was on some antipsychotic because she was bi-polar! I wanted to jump up and scream that he child was not bi-polar but I didn’t want to be put off the bus for causing a ruckus on the bus. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. And of course, they were working to get the child on disability!

      What kind of madness are we living in when mothers will allow their tiny, fragile children to be drugged with these toxic poisons?

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    • Steve,

      I was about ready to make the same point when I saw your post.

      I am sure the professionals have some BS answer such as some kids are just plain sicker than others and it takes time to find the right medicine.

      It is truly disgusting.

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