Much attention has been given to the problem of under-diagnosis of mental health problems leading to people not being given the treatment they need. However, a U.S. study of 700 people has suggested that over-diagnosis may be just as big a problem. The study, of 700 psychiatric outpatients, found that 145 of them had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. However, when the researchers assessed them with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID), considered to be the most reliable diagnostic tool, fewer than half of them met the criteria for bipolar disorder. The researchers pointed out that over-diagnosis could lead to patients being unecessarily exposed to the side effects of mood-stabilizing drugs on the renal, endocrine, hepatic, immune and metabolic systems.
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