On Dec. 13, 2006, police responded to a 911 call and found a little girl lying dead on the floor next to her parents’ bed. The autopsy revealed that she had died from an overdose of psychiatric drugs. Rebecca Riley was being treated for bipolar disorder, or manic depression, even though she was just four years old.
If that sounds unusual to you, it’s not. As Katie Couric reports, until recently the disorder was believed to emerge only in adults. Now, it is estimated that there are nearly one million children diagnosed as bipolar, making it more common than autism and diabetes combined. And to treat it, doctors are administering some medications that have yet to be approved for children. In the case of Rebecca Riley, that cocktail of medications proved fatal and now her parents have been charged with her murder. [full text]
The article goes on to interview Dr. Joseph Biederman, an expert on pediatric bipolar disorder. More on Dr. Joseph Biederman has been helpfully compiled in this post at the blog Furious Seasons.