Bipolar children a purely American phenomenon

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Christopher Lane interviews journalist Philip Dawdy, who has written about the "astonishing" rise in the number of diagnoses of ADHD and bipolar disorder in teens and preschoolers.


5 Comments

You have to wonder how much of this is driven by the sheer volume of technology kids have today from cell phones to video games. Its a shame how much is driven by doctor and/or drug company greed.

No, it is not TV. The actions these kids take to stimulate themselves is just a symptom. I still do not know why people do not see how food is a drug. Look at what these kids eat and you will get to the root of the problem.

This is an untouched field of fascinating issues. I don't think it has anything to do with cell phones, iPods, video games...although the violent content may contribute much. We are a society with unsettled issues around religion, ethics, morals and wanting to be inclusive of all, set no limits on any. Within this undefined vortex of chaotic 'ideas' we invite children to grow and find themselves. We are also a depressive society, rampantly depressed and for many of the same reasons, but I would also throw in unbridled greed and entitlement, whose effects are now being felt. God, country, caring for parents, neighbors, limits on one's own behaviour and acquisitions, speaking forth right on destructive behaviour is not old fashioned or unPC, it is the antidote to condemning a confused child or crushed adult into a mental illness pidgeon hole because they could not hone themselves to fit the new and horrid definitions of what we have become.

This is certainly very strange but I can't believe that this is purely a American phenomena. I think a lot has to do with the general breakdown in family life and communities. Who knows maybe some of these kids are diagnosed wrongly, it has been known to happen.

I can't comment on the bi-polar aspects.

I think there is something to Dawdy's point, reproduced below:

"As out there as this may sound, I think we are as a culture cheating boys of their inherent natures and I have real questions about how that affects their psychosocial development long-term and what it will all mean for manhood a couple of generations down the road (I'm concerned about comparable issues with girls as well). What's more, I think the educational system places too much emphasis on having quiet, compliant kids—far more so than in the past. When I was a kid in the 1970s, boys were pretty much allowed to engage in all kinds of wildness at recess in elementary school and after school, but from what I hear that's being discouraged today. Why the change I couldn't say, but I do know that there's been a real push in our culture to silence outward signs of male aggressiveness, both in kids and adults."

In the last 15 or so years, kindergarten became much, much more academic -- which accelerated with the NCLB legislation.

I wonder if boys who aren't developmentally ready for writing and reading and the other sit-still-and-produce demands do not account for a large number of the rise in reported ADHD cases.

That said I think that ADHD of all three types is real and may be underdiagnosed in some communities.

If I understandy RR Grinker correctly, childhood psychiatry in France for example is still strictly Freudian, which would not recognize either ADHD or bipolar illness.

French child psychiatry still insists that childhood autism is a disturbance in the mother-child relationship.


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This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on April 20, 2009 9:29 AM.

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