By definition a doctor is: a qualified practitioner of medicine. When we get an infection they give antibiotics. If you have a cut, they stitch you up. Broken leg, they set it in a cast and limit the use of the extremity until it has healed. People seek out a physician’s expertise for many ailments, and it is sought after more when it comes to one’s child. Diagnosing colds, flu and typical childhood diseases are second nature for doctors. What about psychological disorders, in particular the diagnosing of bipolar disorder in teenagers. The number of adolescence being diagnosed with bipolar has increased at an astonishing rate of 40-fold in the past decade (Dr. Mark Zimmerman, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior). While there is validity in a small percentage, there is an alarming amount of misdiagnosis. As a high-paced tech savvy society, we want answers and quick fixes now.
There is a long involved and in-depth strategic process to properly diagnose bipolar disorder. Doctors start with a routine physical, lab work, they may want the patient to do mood charting and go through a psychiatric evaluation. This process could take several months to evaluate and come to a conclusive decision. However, when a youth is rushed through the system and placed on antidepressants, anticonvulsants and antipsychotic medicine, there can be severe adverse reactions. The most common pills prescribed for bipolar in teens are lithium, Depakote, Lamectil, Prozac, Risperdal and Abilify. The side effects from these medications range from lethargy, mood swings, dizziness, diarrhea, rashes, increased risk of suicidal thoughts and the possibility of lithium poisoning. On top of all the negative side effects the FDA warns, although rare, long-term use of antipsychotics may lead to a condition called tardive dyskinesia. This condition causes uncontrollable muscle movements to the mouth. Tardive dyskinesia can range from mild to severe and could be...
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