That leaves over half of those living with bipolar disorder undiagnosed. That’s frightening considering that those incorrectly diagnosed are at a greater risk for the wrong medication and therapy. If a person with undiagnosed bipolar disorder is given an antidepressant only, mania can be induced with catastrophic results.
It’s no wonder that it takes up to 10 years or more for some to get a proper diagnosis. But what always bewilders me is that when parents read books about bipolar children, they see with clarity that their child fits this diagnosis. When parents share stories with those diagnosed with bipolar, their stories are identical, but when a parent goes to a therapist, all we hear is, “we just don’t know”.
Why is that? Seriously, why does it seem so crystal clear in books and support forums, but within the room of a therapist, it becomes so foggy. Are the books too matter of fact, not taking into consideration the children that aren’t bipolar but look it? Are the parents seeing the same symptoms, yet there are two illnesses that mimic one another? Is there a “bipolar copycat” illness that exists and isn’t yet defined?
Or, because children’s brains are still developing, it is possible for a child to outgrow bipolar illness? For example, if a 22 year old develops the illness as a young adult, their brain is too developed to outgrow it, thus making it a life long illness. But for some children that develop the illness while still young, their brain has the ability to “outgrow” the illness, or have a less severe disorder as an adult? Could this explain why it appears that there are more children with bipolar illness than there are adults living with it?
Or are therapists missing what’s obvious to us? Do they think parents make these symptoms up, so they are skeptical? I know our previous doctor was skeptical, she said “statistically your son does not have bipolar disorder because only 1% of the population have it”. My obvious response was that maybe he’s the 1%. But beyond that, could this statistic be making doctors hesitant to diagnosis bipolar symptoms as being a bipolar illness? In reality, is that statistic much higher?
I don’t have the answers obviously, but what are your thoughts?
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You can read the full article below:
In Study, 59% of Psychotherapists Missed Bipolar Diagnosis
By Marcia Purse