Diagnosing Young Children 

Diagnosing Young Children

As you have learned this week, diagnosing psychiatric disorders in children is a tricky business. Mental health professionals must consider many factors when diagnosing, not the least of which is what might happen if a child were to be misdiagnosed.

1. What effect might misdiagnosis have on children lives?

One recent hot controversy in the field of child psychiatry/psychology is over the prevalence of Bipolar disorder in young children and teens. Trust me when I tell you that there are competent professionals on both side of the fence who feel very strongly about this issue.

Please click on the link below and carefully read the articles:


Obviously, something went wrong with the treatment of Rebecca Riley. Rather than focusing on this specific case, however, I’d like for us to discuss the larger issue related to the benefits and risks of diagnosing and treating young children with psychiatric disorders (e.g., ADHD, Conduct Disorder, Bipolar, Depression, etc…). Try to argue on both the “pro” and the “con” side.
2. Why should or should not we diagnose young children?
3. What age is “too young” to diagnose, or is there no age limit?
4. What are the cons of giving diagnoses too young to children?
5. What are the pros and cons of using psychiatric medication with young children?
Support your opinions with research, not just on “word of mouth” or personal experience.

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