by Barbara Rittner
It is always tempting to try to predict the next psychiatric diagnosis du jour. I have watched autism replace bipolar which replaced ADHD as the front runner in the race for popularity in children and adolescents diagnoses. It is clearly incumbent on us to view these emerging trends with healthy skepticism. To put it in perspective, in the last 20 years autism rates increased from 1 in 10,000 (1990s) to 1 in 68.
The shift in autism diagnosis rates certainly should raise questions about how valid the diagnosis is when what was once considered a rare condition is now so common that it occurs in 1.5% of the population. That makes it as common as red hair (estimated at 1-2%).