The authors of an article on the website of Scientific American Mind are entitled to their opinion on whether or not children can get bipolar disorder. They are not entitled to dress up their opinion as reporting.
The article, by Scott O. Lilienfeld and Hal Arkowitz, is headlined "Do Kids Get Bipolar Disorder?" That promises a broad examination of the topic. But that's not what we get.
The authors begin their story with a boy with behavior problems. But he's a fabrication. The story begins: "Imagine an eight-year old boy whom we will call Eric..." Imagination is a beautiful thing, but we should be wary of imagining characters in nonfiction. (Although it's a lot easier than finding real kids.)
They then recite statistics showing that the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children has risen sharply in recent years. This can mean one of two things: Many children are being overdiagnosed. Or many children were underdiagnosed in the past and are now being found.
Lilienfeld and Arkowitz have made up their minds: "In this column, we discuss controversies regarding the overdiagnosis of bipolar disorder...," they write. (Italics mine.) The headline was a tease. They were not intent upon exploring the question of whether kids get bipolar disorder. They already had their answer: Overdiagnosis.
It's a fair opinion, and they make a reasonable argument to support it. But a better headline would have been: "Too Many Kids Are Being Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder." And the imaginary boy did nothing to help them make their case.