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Researchers point to an excessive diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

Researchers point to an excessive diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

June 20, 2024

A study conducted at the Brown University School of Medicine in the state of Rhode Island suggests that About 50% of cases diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder could be wrong .

The overdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

This report is one of the last ones that have arisen in the Brown University, in the United States, with the objective of optimizing the diagnostic evaluation , and it supposes a common front of collaborations between academic investigators and sanitary personnel of the psychiatric field. The study was conducted based on interviews with 800 psychiatric patients using a comprehensive diagnostic test the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM Disorders. The respondents also answered a questionnaire in which they had to specify if they had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder or Manic-Depressive Disorder.


146 of those patients indicated that they had been previously diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder. However, the researchers realized that only 64 of the patients suffered from Bipolar Disorder based on their own diagnoses through the SCID test.

Controversy: overdiagnosis under magnifying glass

The researchers shuffle some explanatory hypotheses in the face of these surprising results that suggest a demesurate diagnosis of cases of Bipolar Disorder. Between them, it is speculated with a greater propensity of the specialists to diagnose TB in front of other more stigmatizing disorders and for which there is no clear treatment. Another explanatory theory attributes responsibility in overdiagnosis to aggressive advertising of drugs used in treatments by pharmaceutical companies. Many professionals and scientists have recently highlighted that ADHD may also be diagnosed in excess.


Researchers insist on the need to use standardized and validated methods such as SCID to obtain reliable diagnoses.

Bibliographic references:

  • Zimmerman M., (2008) Is bipolar disorder diagnosed in excess? Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Understanding Bipolar Depression (June 2024).


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