Monday, September 17, 2007

Clinic Notes: Bipolar Disorder in Children and ABA?

According to a recent news report Bipolar Disorder is being diagnosed more frequently in children. Recently, a pediatrician referred a two-year old girl to my clinic whose psychiatrist had diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and prescribed Depkote, and lithium, which are commonly used to treat Bipolar Disorder in adults. These are powerful medications, not approved for children, and this two-year old girl ended up in the hospital because of the drug's side effects. I evaluated this child and took a detailed history from the parents. I saw nothing but a spoiled child who ignored her parents when she didn't get what she wanted and then got very upset and threw tantrums if that did not work. After several weeks of ABA, teaching the parents some much-needed parenting skills, this child was okay. I was curious if the psychiatrist who diagnosed this child with Bipolar Disorder had children of his own.