I’m seeing this headline in the New York Times that is talking about a “40 fold” increase in the diagnosis of children with bipolar disorder in the period between 1994 and 2003. We’re not talking about a 40% increase. The article is saying that the rate of diagnosis in 1994 was under 40,000 and in 2003 it was 1,500,000 cases.

They are quick to say that they don’t believe this is indicative of some kind of epidemic, but rather a shift toward more aggressive diagnosing of the disorder. This is an issue with two sides. “Some experts say greater awareness, reflected in the increasing diagnoses, is letting youngsters with the disorder obtain the treatment they need.

Other experts say bipolar disorder is over diagnosed. The term, the critics say, has become a catchall applied to almost any explosive, aggressive child.

After children are classified, the experts add, they are treated with powerful psychiatric drugs that have few proven benefits in children and potentially serious side effects like rapid weight gain.” Kind of sounds like the same path that diagnosis of ADHD went down.

Life insurance treatment of bipolar disorder really comes down to how effective the treatment is and how compliant the person is with the treatment. The same old compliance and control you’ve always heard from me.

The truth is that a person with bipolar disorder who has good control and displays that through job stability, relationship stability, and overall ability to function normally in society, can expect better than standard rates from several sources. There is one company that has stepped out and allowed their best rate class as long as control is excellent and there are no other risk factors.

Bottom line. This is another area where using an independent agent is crucial. There are a lot of companies out there that will slam a door in the face of this issue. You need an agent who knows which doors to look behind.