Saturday, October 20, 2007

Study: Mental problems in teens hard to diagnosis

I've recently heard a lot more about the difficulty doctors have in diagnosing teens with bipolar. I'm glad that they are finally talking about the issue. It took almost 10 years (I started seeing a psychiatrist when I was 14), two hospitalizations, and several sucide attempts before I was properly diagnosed. The signs were there -- the doctors I was seeing just never put two and two together until I finally had a true psychotic break in 2003. I wonder if I had been diagnosed and treated properly earlier if I ever would have become psychotic. Needless to say psychosis was extermely devasting to my life at the time. It took months for me to get back on track. Actually maybe as long as a year.

Here's the Article:
Study: Mental problems in teens hard to diagnosis

HOUSTON, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Pinpointing a diagnosis of psychiatric and behavioral problems in teens can be tricky, even for experts in mental health, a U.S. expert says.

Dr. Norma Clarke, medical director of the Adolescent Treatment Program at The Menninger Clinic in Houston, says the human brain is still developing during adolescence and mood and behavior can fluctuate wildly at this age.

"Teens are by nature secretive and it is sometimes very hard to figure out what is normal and what is not about teen behavior," Clarke said in a statement. "Also, teens can behave very well in a psychologist’s or counselor’s office, which makes it harder to arrive at a diagnosis."

By adolescence, many teens in treatment for behavioral or psychiatric issues have received multiple diagnoses -- ranging from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder to bipolar disorder.

When individuals don’t respond to treatment, they can feel like failures, Clarke says.

"They feel that they are broken for life," Clarke says. "They feel hopeless and think there is something so wrong with them. It affects their self-esteem and their ability to make friends and become the best they can be."

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