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Medicating millions of kids – for being moody?

By HERWriter
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Written By Dr. Keith Ablow

As more new changes emerge to psychiatry’s official diagnostic manual it becomes even clearer that the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Edition 5) from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) could accelerate the trend toward medicating children, rather than trying to understand them.

Related: Kids' tantrums as a disorder concern doctors.

The APA voted Dec. 1 to approve the DSM-5, which includes a brand new mental disorder called, “Dysruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder” (DMDD).

This diagnosis will be applied to children and adolescents who show “persistent irritability and frequent episodes of behavior outbursts three or more times a week for more than a year.”

Mind you, no epidemic of moodiness is sweeping the nation, requiring scientists to quickly name the underlying condition (as was required for AIDS).

No new bacterium has been found in the brains of moody children and no new anomaly has been found in their DNA. It is simply the case that the authors of the DSM-5 believe that grouping kids with outbursts under this moniker will make it easier to study them and treat them effectively.

But if anyone thinks that DMDD will just sit around as an acronym and cause no trouble, think again.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists will be on the hunt for kids who are irritable and have outbursts, armed with a new label with which to appear expert—a label to which pharmaceutical companies will seek to match medications.

Soon, it will be asserted that this stimulant, or that tranquilizer helps the millions of American kids who are suffering with this scourge. And then millions of prescriptions will be written to treat its symptoms.

Just wait. I know this will happen. It is inevitable.

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EmpowHER Guest

I think Dr. Ablow is jealous of the attention Dr. Frances is getting by criticizing DSM-5 without offering any clear solutions himself. He suggests there is no "moodiness" epidemic but fails to mention the recent 4,000 fold increase in the bipolar diagnosis in kids. Yes, you read that correctly- 4,000.

December 20, 2012 - 6:45am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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