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Commentary: Lowering the Diagnostic Threshold for Bipolar Disorder: The Wrong Stuff?

J Clin Psychiatry 2012;73(4):443-444
10.4088/JCP.12com07760

This commentary argues against proposed changes in the DSM-5 that would blur the unipolar-bipolar distinction through the “mixed features specifier” for major depression. The author notes that, in the decade between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s, diagnoses of bipolar disorder in adults nearly doubled, while among youth there was an astounding 40-fold increase in such diagnoses. According to the author, the diagnostic conundrum around bipolar disorder is perceived b the lay public as an egregious deviation from the standard of care rather than a reflection of imprecise technology and a lack of consensus within the filed about what doe and does not differentiate bipolar disorder from other disorders.