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Georgia State University

Faculty Research on Pediatric Bipolar Disorder
Image from Pink Sherbet Photography

Dr. Jill Littrell, an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, and Dr. Peter Lyons, the Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness, have extensively researched the topic of pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD) and the problems inherent in medicating for it. PBD has come into use as a diagnosis in the last ten years; before that time it was believed that Bipolar Disorder did not manifest until adulthood. Changes in general consensus led to an “explosion  in the number of children being diagnosed,” and a similar explosion in the number of psychotropic drug prescriptions being given to children. Two research articles written by Dr. Littrell and Dr. Lyons find that this drug use can be extremely harmful: “The rationale for stalling the medication of children as long as possible is because of the devastating impact on physical health that all of the drugs used to treat bipolar disorder exert on the body.”

You can research this topic through these two articles in the journal Children and Youth Services Review by Drs. Littrell and Lyons.

This short PBS documentary also provides information that students can use to incorporate into a class paper, speech, or other project.