There has been a call for the diagnosis of childhood bipolar disease to be axed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) by one of its early editors. Experts argue that Bipolar disease emerges in early adolescence, no sooner. Jon Ronson reports in this month’s edition of the New Scientist on the controversial condition.

The DSM offers a checklist of symptoms to help diagnose psychiatric illnesses. The ever-expanding index of the manual is said to be an attribute of society’s perception of what is normal behaviour; further influence stemming from the pharmaceutical industry and patients groups.

Mr. Frances Allen, former editor of the DSM, is now critical of aspects of the diagnostic tool, stating that the inclusion of Childhood Bipolar disease was a mistake. Tragically, in the United States, a four year old child died after receiving a fatal dose of her prescribed medication to treat the disease. Her parents administered the bipolar medication whenever the child was “being annoying”.

HAI Europe advocates the rational use of medicines and will be addressing issues relating to conflicts on interest and psychiatric medicines at an open-seminar: Mad Medicine: Are conflicts of interest driving you crazy? It will be held in Cork, Ireland, on the 24th of September, 2011. Please contact Lorraine at for further information.