Kids Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder Increased 40 Percent In 10 Year Span - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Kids Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder Increased 40 Percent In 10 Year Span

CHICAGO (AP) - A new analysis is raising more questions than answers about children diagnosed with bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression.

The study says there has been a forty-fold increase in the number of times children under 19 went to the doctor and were diagnosed with or treated for bipolar disorder over a ten-year period.

Still, researchers acknowledge there are a lot of reasons the number could have climbed from an estimated 20,000 visits in 1994 to 800,000 in 2003.

The study's lead author is a Columbia University Professor who has worked with the makers of psychiatric drugs.  He says the results likely reflect over-diagnosis now or under-diagnosis in the past.

Marketing by pharmaceutical companies is another likely contributor to the surge.

Bipolar disorder remains a controversial diagnosis for children.

There are some doctors who don't believe the condition occurs in children.

One professor says research suggests close to half of children considered bipolar may be mislabeled.

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