At What Age Were You Diagnosed?

This Bipolar Blog entry, Age At Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, by Kimberly Read, should peak a little curiosity. How easy it is now to imagine people reacting to human folly with an exclamation like,“What? Are you Bipolar or something!” Pardon my stigmatizing skepticism, but I’ve never been a fervent believer in the religion of mental illness.

I’ve been doing some reading this evening regarding the age of onset for those diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

A team comprised of researchers from several different countries, reviewed the Onset-Age of Bipolar Disorders at Six International Sites. They found the median age of onset – the age found in the middle of the set of all ages – was 25.2 years old. Those with bipolar I disorder tended to be diagnosed earlier than those with bipolar II disorder and men were diagnosed younger than women. 25% of those in the study were diagnosed on or before age 20; only 2.81% were diagnosed at age 13 or younger. What I found particularly interesting was the incredible range for the age of diagnosis. There were children as young as 10, but also seniors in their 80’s.

How old were you when you were diagnosed with bipolar disorder?

Regarding this post, a few points are to be made:

1. Diagnosing an 80 year old gentleman or woman bipolar constitutes elder abuse.
2. Diagnosing a 10 year old girl or boy bipolar constitutes child abuse.
3. Adults can be gullible, can’t they? And doesn’t this gullibility explain the success of many other religions besides.

When a person has entered their twilight years a diagnosis of bipolar disorder doesn’t make any sense. Experience should tell you, and them, that much. Alright, you’ve gotten so far, and then…swoosh, sudden decline? No. Say an 80 year old is more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or senile dementia, and I don’t think we’d have any argument. Convince an elderly person that he or she has bipolar disorder, and you’ve just joined a whole slew of scam artists preying on the infirmities of the aged.

10 years old! Hey, why 10 years old? This lady apparently hasn’t been reading the news lately or she would know kids have been diagnosed bipolar as young as 3 years old. This Harvard doctor got the bright idea of labeling children diagnosed ADHD early onset Bipolar disorder, and voila! The rate of bipolar diagnosis has made a 40 fold increase. While this is great for doctors making their living off the disturbed, it is not so great for the kid who may end up spending a lifetime in the mental health illness system. Significantly, before this doctor made ‘his discovery’, childhood bipolar disorder was rare to non-existent.

ADHD, Bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are the current excuses many parents give for their lack of parenting skills. Nobody said the job was an easy one, and it’s not. Some parents apparently have always thought otherwise. The terrible twosomes and beyond can be interpreted in many different ways. Assigning a pathological label to the natural impulses children have is not a good way to treat them. Children are not adults, and they should not be expected to perform at an adult level. Just because they aren’t adults, this doesn’t make them ‘sick’.

The theory of biological psychiatry plays up biological causes for mental illness over environmental and social factors despite a complete lack of evidence supporting this theory. The DSM is the bible of the psychiatrist used for distinguishing one psychiatric condition from another. Psychiatrists still don’t have a clue as to what mental illness actually is while their approach is all about managing the symptoms of any such disease. The seriousness with which the serious mental illness is taken is a big part of the problem. Dispense with this belief factor, and the seriousness of the mental illness itself is likely to diminish. Once Lulu has reached a certain age, the monster under the bed, and the one in the closet, just shouldn’t be as disturbing as they once were.

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