by Kristen S '11

Bipolar Children

Is it okay for a two year old child to be taking incredibly powerful psychiatric drugs?  There is worldwide controversy on whether or not it is ethical to diagnose children as bipolar when they show symptoms, such as anxiety or “hyper activeness”.  Many believe that medications will help children deal with a mental disorder they are facing.  Others feel as if it is an excuse to give kids drugs in order to calm them down and resist wild behavior, being used more as a sedative rather than for its actual purpose.  More than 6 million children in America are currently diagnosed as bipolar.  These kids are all being prescribed incredibly strong medicines, especially for the ages that they are amongst.  An overdose of any of these drugs can be extremely dangerous, and has been the cause of numerous deaths of “bipolar” children.
Some symptoms of a bipolar child are extreme irritability, mood swings, depressed moods, and aggressive behaviors.  There is no exact way of proving that a person has bipolar disorder, which makes it much more difficult to diagnose.  The diagnosis of a person depends on symptoms shown and the opinion of the psychiatrist.  Around 15% of children with ADHD are misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder.  Misdiagnosis is not only common, but could also be serious.  “There are a number of physical conditions and quite a few psychiatric disorders which present symptoms that can be confused with those of bipolar disorder. And just to complicate things a bit more, a great many psychiatric disorders can occur in tandem” (
A child brought to one psychiatrist could be diagnosed as bipolar; meanwhile another psychiatrist may feel otherwise, depending on how strongly they see the child fits the criterion.  Not only children, but adults too are on tons of medication in order to help a disorder that they may not even actually have.  There needs to be a more accurate way to tell whether or not a person has it before they start using such large doses of such strong medications, especially since the medications also have life altering side effects.  At times, death can occur.  That is pushed aside when people are listening to psychiatrists when they tell them to up the doses of medications given to their children to help the children’s mood.  This leaves parents to make a very difficult decision.  Which opinions should they listen to?

By Mr. Lakhaney

TOK Teacher

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s