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J. Clin. Med. 2014, 3(2), 334-347; doi:10.3390/jcm3020334
Opinion

Biologism in Psychiatry: A Young Man’s Experience of Being Diagnosed with “Pediatric Bipolar Disorder”

1,2
Received: 9 December 2013; in revised form: 1 March 2014 / Accepted: 5 March 2014 / Published: 28 March 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents)
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Abstract: Pediatric bipolar disorder is a diagnosis that arose in the mid 1990s in the USA and has mostly remained confined to that nation. In this article a young American man (under a pseudonym) describes his experience of having the diagnosis throughout his adolescent years. His story was conveyed via correspondence and a meeting with the author, an Australian child psychiatrist. The young American’s story reveals several issues that afflict contemporary psychiatry, particularly in the USA, where social and economic factors have contributed to the rise of a dominant biomedical paradigm—or “biologism”. This focus on the “bio” to the relative exclusion of the “psychosocial” in both diagnosis and treatment can have serious consequences as this young man’s story attests. The author explores aspects of his tale to analyze how the pediatric bipolar disorder “epidemic” arose and became emblematic of a dominant biologism. This narrative points to the need, depending on the service and country, to return to or retain/improve a balanced biopsychosocial perspective in child and adolescent mental health. Child psychiatry needs to advocate for health systems that support deeper listening to our patients. Then we can explore with them the full range of contextual factors that contribute to symptoms of individual and family distress.
Keywords: bipolar disorder; childhood; adolescence; psychiatric diagnosis; bioethics; pediatrics; medical sociology; iatrogenic disease; consumer participation; polypharmacy bipolar disorder; childhood; adolescence; psychiatric diagnosis; bioethics; pediatrics; medical sociology; iatrogenic disease; consumer participation; polypharmacy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Parry, P. Biologism in Psychiatry: A Young Man’s Experience of Being Diagnosed with “Pediatric Bipolar Disorder”. J. Clin. Med. 2014, 3, 334-347.

AMA Style

Parry P. Biologism in Psychiatry: A Young Man’s Experience of Being Diagnosed with “Pediatric Bipolar Disorder”. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2014; 3(2):334-347.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Parry, Peter. 2014. "Biologism in Psychiatry: A Young Man’s Experience of Being Diagnosed with “Pediatric Bipolar Disorder”." J. Clin. Med. 3, no. 2: 334-347.


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