View Full Version : Bipolar Disorder Linked to ADHD in Children

09-29-04, 08:46 PM
Nearly one-quarter of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder have or will develop bipolar disorder, according to a study in the August Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Of 140 children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder studied over four years, 23 percent also had bipolar disorder, compared with about 2 percent of a group of children without ADHD. Eleven percent of the ADHD children had bipolar disorder when they were initially studied, and another 12 percent had bipolar disorder when studied again four years later, reports Joseph Biederman, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital.

The children with bipolar disorder were likely to be irritable and hyperactive, with simultaneous or rapid cycling between mania and depression, Biederman said.

The pattern is different from that in adults with bipolar disorder, who are more likely to swing between periods of euphoria and depression. In addition, many children with bipolar disorder had prolonged outbursts of aggression, sometimes called "affective storms," Biederman said.

Children who had both bipolar disorder and ADHD had more additional problems than those with ADHD alone. They were more likely to develop other psychiatric disorders such as depression or conduct disorders, more likely to require psychiatric hospitalization, and more likely to have social problems, Biederman reports.

Their ADHD was also more severe than in children without accompanying bipolar disorder.

03-20-05, 06:17 PM
I work in a school as a behavior specialist for emotionally disturbed children
I have noticed something... i know they are learning new things all the time but what i have noticed is children being diagnosed as adhd and add may not be
it may be early stages of bi polar because they begin to cycle and simulate bipolar characteristics around puberty which is hitting around ten usually.
this is what im seeing
early stages around k-2 it seems add adhd except one thing.. by second grade the meds are not working and when changed work for about two weeks after that there seems to be no effect
around 2nd grade they begin to cycle but still have add adhd symptoms, or what appears to be
3-4 seems to be a cycle but not as rapid
and by 4-5 grade they are in almost a trackable cycle that is so very similiar to bi polar... i am not sure but it seems to me from what i have seen that it wasnt add or adhd to begin with, but the early stages of bipolar seem to just be similiar
any thoughts on this from anyone else?
especially since no one is in a hurry to diagnose bi polar in children :confused:

03-20-05, 08:52 PM
Thanks for the post. This is an area that I struggle with. Barkley said that there is a "one way comorbidity " between ADHD and bipolar in that up to 92% of people with bipolar also have ADHD but not vice versa.

I'm going to my 3rd pediatric bipolar vs ADHD workshop since last summer on 3/29/05. I'll be glad to let you know how it went.Right now I'm of the opinion that I see it being overdiagnosed in this area of the country at least.

03-22-05, 12:18 AM
I would love to hear anything you could bring back concerning this.. i am right in the trenches with this and at this moment in Montana no one wants to see this for what it is.. and to be honest i am very concerned for my clients.. yes yes and yesssss anything you can tell me i would love to hear thanks :)

07-09-05, 08:43 AM
Thank you so much for this post. I have a Son going into 3rd that was dx with AS a couple of years ago and ADHD a couple of years ago. He was put on Concerta and Effexor and did well for awhile. about the end of 2nd grade i started to wonder if his meds weren't working anymore and saw severe mood swings and he fits the profile for Bipolar in chidlren. I thought maybe I was overanalyzing it and kept swithching my mind about whether to bring it up to his pediatric neurologist appt coming up in a couple of weeks.
after reading your post it hit the nail on the head .... thank you.... I will bring this possibility up with his dr.

07-09-05, 02:17 PM
Heres a thought though I don't think it is in the literature. Could bipolar parents be much more likely to produce adhd children. I see that combo often at work. This maybe a subjective observation, my father was BP.