The Use of Standardized DSM-5 Symptoms Increases the Likelihood of a False-Positive Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder in Children Aged 6-12 in the United States
Keywords:bipolar disorder, misdiagnoses, children, DSM-5
Over the past ten years, there has been a 10% increase in the misdiagnosis of psychiatric disorders in the United States. This is significantly important as the rate of misdiagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder is on the rise. I studied causes of misdiagnosing bipolar disorder, specifically in children, and what causes psychiatrists to continue to misdiagnose children despite knowing that children are still growing and have radical symptoms, in order to develop a strategy that decreases the number of misdiagnoses of pediatric bipolar disorder. Several studies have shown that one of the leading causes of misdiagnosis is the broad symptoms listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The revisions to the DSM-4 involved the addition of about 14 disorders. The symptoms listed in the DSM-5 are targeted towards adults. However, the DSM-5 is being used to diagnose children. I analyzed longitudinal studies done on school-aged children to assess how many children are misdiagnosed. The study showed that about 2.5% of the children were diagnosed with bipolar disorder based on the symptoms of the DSM-5. However, at the end of the study, the children did not have symptoms of bipolar disorder anymore. The results supported the claim that children are being over-diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I hypothesize that children should not be diagnosed with severe disorders until they are older and developed, unless they have severe symptoms. Based on the results of this study, pediatric bipolar disorder should be diagnosed based on alternative diagnostic methods such as using collateral history and offering therapy rather than prescribing children with medication. It is crucial that the misdiagnosis rate goes down because children should not be dependent on medications when they are still growing and developing.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Chaandini Pandeti; Mary C Boyes
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