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Bipolar Disorder Misdiagnosis in Children with Developmental Disabilities

As patients, whenever we go into an appointment with a medical professional, we put ourselves in vulnerable positions. As part of preventative health measures, we allow our bodies to be accessible to our medical professionals in hopes that it will lead to a determination of a clean bill of health or a diagnosis in the event that there is something that is affecting our bodies. We look to medical professionals because of their years of medical training and because in the United States, we have high standards regarding the quality of care that we expect to receive.

This is why, when a medical professional misdiagnoses us or makes an error during our treatment, we feel upset or angry that our exposed intimacy led us to harm at the hands of someone we trusted. This feeling of betrayal can be even worse when it occurs to our children, especially those who have developmental disabilities and cannot advocate for themselves.

Bipolar Disorder Misdiagnosis

Bipolar disorder is one of the more misdiagnosed disorders due in large part to the fact that its symptoms are shared with a few other disorders. A diagnosis tends to take place at the first sign of symptoms rather than as a result of the analysis of a long-term evaluation of symptoms. In two studies, one conducted in 1994 and the other in 2000, researchers found that the rate of misdiagnosis had not changed. This shows that medical professionals are aware of the possibility of misdiagnosis, but that little has been done in the diagnosis methodology to decrease it.

Bipolar Disorder Misdiagnosis in Children with Developmental Disabilities

A new study shows that bipolar disorder misdiagnosis is plaguing children with severe developmental disabilities, with the key symptom leading to misdiagnosis being aggression. According to this study, discussed in Psychology Today, children who suffer from developmental disabilities like autism or have a developmental defect in the brain that leads to serious intellectual disability are more likely to be misdiagnosed as having bipolar disorder. According to the study, which was published in 2012, children with developmental disabilities, like autism, have high rates of aggression and irritability; 92% of parents found that their autistic children were irritable, uncooperative, and highly temperamental. 40% of the children studied met the threshold symptoms for the oppositional defiant disorder, a DSM IV disorder that presents with symptoms of anger, defiance, loss of temper, and resentfulness.

The Harms and Hazards of Misdiagnosing Autistic Children as Bipolar

Many medical professionals believe that the irritability present in children with autism is symptomatic of the children having bipolar disorder, though there are no studies presented that espouse this hypothesis. For many parents, the severe aggressiveness of their child encourages them to bring their children to a medical professional to diagnose the problem along with any pharmaceutical solution to manage the aggression. By attaching bipolar disorder to the autistic child, the child is given harmful and dangerous medication that is largely ineffectual in treating aggressive developmentally disabled children. It also becomes a significant hazard when the child is already on strong medication to handle his or her development disabilities, and the bipolar medication is mixed in to make an even stronger prescription cocktail.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

If you or your loved one has been misdiagnosed by a trusted medical professional and it led to harmful consequences resulting from taking inappropriate medications, it is important to consult with an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney. Please call the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.