4_The Latest Mania - Selling Bipolar Disorder - David Healy

4_The Latest Mania - Selling Bipolar Disorder - David Healy...

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PLoS Medicine | www.plosmedicine.org 0444 enthusiasm, it appears to be adding fuel to the F re. What might once have been thought of as sober institutions, such as Massachusetts General Hospital, have run trials of Risperdal and Zyprexa on children with a mean age of four years old [34,35]. Massachusetts General Hospital in fact recruited trial participants by running its own television adverts featuring clinicians and parents alerting parents to the fact that difF cult and aggressive behavior in children aged four and up might stem from bipolar disorder. This does more than recruit patients with a clear disorder; it suggests that everyday behavioral difF culties may be better seen in terms of a disorder. Given that bipolar disorder in children is all but unrecognised outside the US, it seems likely that a signiF cant proportion of these children will not meet conventional DSM criteria for bipolar I disorder. And given that it is all but impossible for a short-term trial of sedative agents in pediatric states characterized by overactivity not to show some rating scale changes that can be regarded as beneF cial, the outcomes of this research are likely to appear to validate the diagnosis and increase the pressure for treatment. Several years after Heather Norris was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the rationale for mood stabilization was greatly weakened by the results of the largest-ever randomized trial of immediate versus deferred anticonvulsant therapy for people who had experienced a single seizure [36]. The trial found that although immediate antiepileptic drug treatment reduces the occurrence of seizures in the next 1–2 years, such treatment does not affect long- term remission in individuals with single or infrequent seizures. The use of psychotropic medication for bipolar disorders was based on an analogy with epilepsy, rather than on demonstrations of proven clinical beneF ts over the long term or on the basis of a correction of a known pathophysiology. The absence of a solid theoretical or empirical basis for using psychotropic medication as “mood stabilizers” raises questions as
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This note was uploaded on 10/10/2010 for the course ENG 000121 taught by Professor Mcgrand during the Spring '10 term at Cornell.

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