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A 46-year-old member asked:

What is the difference between adhd and bipolar disorder?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ernest Bordini
Clinical Psychology 32 years experience
Overlap: Its a good question and unless a psychologist or psychiatrist is very skilled misdiagnosis can happen. There is about a 70% symptom overlap between bipolar and adhd - but significant clues are 1. Adhd is developmental and evident usually in childhood. The restless impulsive behaviors in bipolar usually occur later and cycle with moods. Context of symptoms is everything.

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A 31-year-old member asked:

How do I know if I have ADHD or bipolar disorder?

3 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Leonard Lado
Psychiatry 32 years experience
ADHD. Vs bipolar: Bipolar disorder is primarily a mood disorder. Adhd affects attention and behavior. It causes symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. While adhd is chronic, bipolar disorder is usually episodic. There are periods of normal mood interspersed with the depression or hypomania. So time of duration of symptoms is the key to diagnosis. Stimulants also aggravate bipolar disease.
A 35-year-old member asked:

Is it possible to have both ADHD and bipolar disorder at the same time?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Loon-tzian Lo
Specializes in Psychiatry
Maybe.: I would recommend you seeking treatment for bipolar disorder first to see if adhd-like symptoms subside.
A 48-year-old member asked:

Is it possible for bipolar disorder to be mistaken for adhd?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Berkowitz
Psychiatry 34 years experience
Absolutely: They share many of the same features of distractibility, inattention and hyperactivity. Many patients diagnosed with adhd are later understood to have bipolar disorder after the mood symptoms are properly illuminated. Further complicating the picture, bipolar disorder is associated with a neurocognitive impairment that can look like adhd. The distinction is important because treatments differ.
A 35-year-old member asked:

How serious are bipolar and ADHD disorders combined?

2 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Alan Ali
Dr. Alan Alianswered
Psychiatry 32 years experience
Bipolar/ADHD: Can be well controlled with ongoing therapy.
A 44-year-old member asked:

Is ADHD connected to developing bipolar disorder?

5 doctor answers11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bryan Levey
Pediatrics 27 years experience
Probably not: Both adhd and bipolar disorders can exist independently of one another, so if a person has one, they won't necessarily have the other. That said, people can have "comorbid" disorders. This means that they can have two disorders at once, and thus each can seem worse because of the existence of the other. To the best of my knowledge though, one does not lead directly to the other.

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Last updated Jun 20, 2015
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