Is It Bipolar Disorder? Or Autism?

Autism and Pediatric Bipolar Disorder
Autism and Pediatric Bipolar Disorder
One psychiatrist argues that bipolar disorder is overdiagnosed in children when the real culprit is irritability associated with autism.

The diagnosis of bipolar disorder in childhood is often incorrectly based on the symptom of severe irritability alone. It has been estimated that about 20% of autistic children are very irritable. The irritability associated with autism leaves autistic children vulnerable to the incorrect diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

In my experience, this is especially true in those autistic children who are in residential care. Often these are the autistic children without language and with serious intellectual disabilities. Such children are often placed in residential care because of unmanageable aggression despite the best and often heroic efforts of concerned family members and other caretakers and despite the use of standard medications.

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