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Juvenile bipolar still misunderstood

A nine year old boy was misdiagnosed for 3 years during which time he alternated between being active and confident to becoming nervous, confused, suicidal, threatening, fearful and prone to hallucinations. He was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder which is difficult to diagnose in children particularly. Some doctors believe that undiagnosed bipolar disorder may actually be the reason that some children on antidepressants to treat depression may become suicidal. 4% of children on antidepressants are though to suffer from suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Bipolar sufferers who are treated with antidepressants alone may suffer from rapid cycling between mania and depression or can activate a manic or depressive phase. Basically, the drugs can results in a patient experiencing manic phase symptoms and depression symptoms at the same time thus making them feel sad and depressed as well as full of energy, agitated and racing thoughts which could prompt suicidal tendencies. Research results indicate that more than 1% of the population has bipolar and many more are misdiagnosed with depression or other psychiatric illnesses. Misdiagnosis is common because depressive symptoms often occur years before the manic phases start to appear. Other experts believe that undiagnosed bipolar is not the reason for increased suicidal tendencies brought on by antidepressants but that the drug itself is the cause.

Source: summary of medical news story as reported by The Boston Globe

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About: Juvenile bipolar still misunderstood

Date: 21 December 2004

Source: The Boston Globe

URL: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/health_science/articles/2004/12/21/lost_childhood/

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