In Part 1: Mental Illness Diagnosis in Children on the Rise doctors are diagnosing an increasing number of children at younger ages with serious mental disorders. Many of those children are being treated with psychiatric drugs developed for adults. Experts say the trend is worrisome because most of the medications have never been tested for safety or effectiveness in children.
In Part 2: Bipolar Disorder in Children, NPR's Michelle Trudeau introduces one family whose young son has bipolar disorder. In growing numbers, psychiatric researchers agree that bipolar disorder -- sometimes called manic depression -- occurs in children and not just in adults. Children as young as five can suffer from the manic highs and deep depressions that characterize the disorder.
In Part 3: Mental Illness in Children, NPR's Michelle Trudeau reports that bipolar disorder in children may have particularly severe symptoms. Bipolar disorder can occur in children as young as five or six years old. The disorder is also known as manic depression, for the mood swings that shift -- sometimes quickly and often -- from manic highs to deep depressions.
In Part 4: Mental Illness in Children, the number of American children diagnosed and medicated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder more than tripled in the 1990s. Some scientists say it's good that children are getting treatment, while others worry that kids are being drugged for having normal childhood problems.