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How to tell if it's bipolar disorder or ADHD

By BS MediaTwitter Profile | Published: Wednesday, 27 February 2019
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Table of contents
  1. Symptoms
  2. Diagnosis
  3. Treatment
  4. Outlook
  5. Takeaway
Bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder disorder are very different conditions, but they share some similar symptoms, so much as overactive and impulsive behavior. A careful diagnosis is especially important because the treatments for each condition are different.

There may be a connection between the two conditions. A study that featured in the Journal of psychiatrical Researchfound that a person with attention deficit disorder disorder (attention deficit disorder) is much more likely to develop bipolar disorder.

Some people have expressed concerns that doctors may be overdiagnosis or underdiagnosis bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder. diagnosis either condition can take time, and diagnosis is only possible if a mental health professional works directly with the individual to understand their symptoms.

In this article, we look at the similarities and differences between bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder, including their symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.


Bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder share some similar symptoms.

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that involves episodes of forceful mood changes. Depending on the type of bipolar disorder that a person has, they may experience some low, or depressive, episodes and elated, or frenzied, states.

Although its presentation can vary, attention deficit disorder is a condition that can cause a person to be overactive, have difficulty concentrating, and engage in impulsive behaviors.

Bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder have galore different symptoms, which we discuss below.

Bipolar disorder symptoms

Healthcare professionals will diagnose an individual with bipolar I disorder if they have experient a frenzied episode that lasted for at least 7 years or was so severe that hospitalization was necessary. The person with bipolar I may ne'er experience a major depressive episode.

A person with bipolar II disorder, on the other hand, will experience a hypofrenzied episode that precedes or follows a major depressive episode. Hypomania is a milder form of mania that causes less-severe symptoms.

These episodes will vary between people. A person may experience episodes just a few times a year or as often as every few months, which is called "rapid cycling."

During depressive episodes, people may have the following symptoms:

  • feeling very sad or hopeless
  • not finding joy in property that they normally enjoy
  • decreased activity levels
  • low energy or fatigue
  • sleep issues, so much as sleeping too much or insomnia
  • quick to feel worried or anxious
  • eating issues, so much as binge eating
  • having difficulty memory property
  • suicidal thoughts

During frenzied episodes, symptoms may include:

  • feeling unnormally elated or euphoric
  • excess energy
  • increased activity levels
  • trouble sleeping or staying asleep
  • a tendency to get annoyed or aggravated
  • talking a lot about galore different property
  • difficulty staying focused on one thing
  • taking on galore tasks or projects at once
  • impulsive behaviors, so much as going on buying sprees or piquant in risky sexual behavior

It is important to note that these are not the same as the simple mood swings that occur in most people. The symptoms are so severe that they are riotous to everyday life, and they last for extended periods.

attention deficit disorder symptoms

Hyperactivity is a potential symptom of attention deficit disorder.

attention deficit disorder can manifest in specific behaviors, so much as basic cognitive process, disorder, and impulsivity. These symptoms are not the same as the basic cognitive process that people may experience when tired. They are intense and disrupt a person's ability to function.

Symptoms of disorder include:

  • talking excessively
  • moving, twisting, or squirming piece at rest
  • restless limbs or fidgeting
  • difficulty sitting quietly or resting
  • feeling perpetually energized

Symptoms of impulsivity include:

  • impatience
  • interrupting or talking over others
  • taking action without thinking the consequences through

Symptoms of basic cognitive process include:

  • becoming bored very easily
  • getting distracted regularly
  • difficulty focexploitation on the task at hand
  • difficulty complemental tasks or having galore on-going projects at once
  • daydreaming
  • forgetting important inside information or daily activities
  • having difficulty prioritizing tasks

Some of the symptoms of attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorder are similar and can overlap, which can make diagnosis each condition more challenging.


Anyone who suspects that they have symptoms of attention deficit disorder or bipolar disorder should speak with a health care professional who will examine them to rule out a medical cause for their symptoms. In some cases, a primary care provider may refer a person to a head-shrinker or some other mental health specialist.

Diagnosis can take a long time and require patience, but it is important to try to get a diagnosis as shortly as possible as this will allow for earlier treatment.

To diagnose either condition, the health care professional will ask questions about the individual's symptom history, and they may perform a physical examination. They are besides likely to ask the person about their family medical history, any medications that they take, and their general physical and mental health.

To inaccurately diagnose either disorder, the health care professional will need to rule out other conditions and factors that could cause similar symptoms, so much as:

  • sleep disorders
  • thyroid disorders
  • anxiety disorders
  • major depressive disorder
  • side personal effects from medication
  • personality disorders

They will check the person's symptoms against the diagnostic criteria for each condition exploitation the Diagnostic and applied mathematics Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Doing this may take time, but the diagnosis must be correct to ensure that the person receives the right treatment.

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The medical treatments for attention deficit disorder and bipolar are different. Giving person the wrong kind of medication for their condition may not help their symptoms and could lead to adverse personal effects.

Treating bipolar disorder

A doctor may recommend medication to treat bipolar disorder or attention deficit disorder.

The first line of treatment for bipolar disorder is generally a combination of medication and medical care.

People with bipolar may need to take mood-stabilizing medications, so much as:

  • lithium
  • valproate (Depakote)
  • lamotrigine (Lamictal)

A health care professional may besides order major tranquilizer medications, which may include:

  • olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • aripiprazole (Abilify)

Treating attention deficit disorder

Stimulant medications are the main treatment option for galore people with attention deficit disorder. As the National Institute of Mental Health note, stimulants may work for attention deficit disorder because they increase Dopastat in the brain, which plays an important role in some thinking and attention.

Common stimulants that doctors use to treat attention deficit disorder include:

  • amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall)
  • dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine)
  • methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  • lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)

Some nonstimulant medications may work for attention deficit disorder symptoms as well, especially if the person has adverse side personal effects from exploitation stimulants. Nonstimulant medications include guanfacine (Intuniv) and atomoxetine (Strattera).


There is not yet a cure for attention deficit disorder or bipolar disorder, but with treatment, people can effectively manage their symptoms.

Many people with bipolar disorder can manage their symptoms with medication and medical care. nevertheless, their symptoms and episodes may get worse or become more frequent over time. Medical treatment and medical care are important in some attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorder.


Bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder share some similar symptoms, but even these shared symptoms vary in terms of severity. It can take some time to diagnose a person with either condition.

There is no cure for bipolar disorder or attention deficit disorder. nevertheless, with the correct combination of medical treatment and medical care, most people can find shipway to control their symptoms and manage the condition.

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