Dr. ELIZABETH J. ROBERTS believes that, at the insistence of the parents, "doctors are medicating far too many kids who just need a better upbringing." She writes:
In September 2007, researchers at Columbia University reported that there had been a 40-fold increase in the number of children diagnosed with bipolar disorder from 1994 to 2003 -- an increase which has shown no signs of slowing.
Worse than the current frenzy to diagnose children with bipolar disorder is the practice of medicating kids as young as 2 with the kinds of psychiatric medications that were once prescribed only to psychotic adults. The shocking reality is that the use of these potent anti-psychotic drugs in children increased more than 500 percent between 1993 and 2002. [snip]
The symptoms, which are regarded as evidence of bipolar disorder, usually are what most people recognize as ordinary belligerence. Children who have anger outbursts, who refuse to go to bed, who are moody and self-centered under the current standard of care in child psychiatry are being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. To most rational human beings, these behaviors describe an ill-mannered, immature and poorly disciplined child. Nonetheless, the temper tantrums of belligerent children are increasingly being characterized by doctors as the mood swings of bipolar disorder. [snip]
When it comes to misdiagnosing and overmedicating children, doctors have an unwitting, though not unwilling, accomplice -- the parent. Ultimately, it is the parent who is the gatekeeper for their child's health-care delivery. It is the parent who pursues psychiatric treatment for their child, fills the prescriptions and administers the medications. Parents have a duty to protect their children from the folly of this disastrous approach to childhood behavior problems. [snip]
Instead of grooming, feeding and educating the next generation of Americans to be the fittest, brightest, most competent contributors on the planet, we have indulged, placated and spoiled our children into dysfunctional misfits. We are teaching our children to use a psychiatric diagnosis to excuse their antisocial behaviors. This will inevitably lead to a greater reliance on psychiatric medications, which unfortunately do not endow an individual with improved self-control or maturity.