View Full Version : Could your child have Bipolar Disorder instead?

03-25-05, 03:04 PM
Your child has been diagnosed with ADHD but isn't responding to medication. Could your child have Bipolar Disorder instead?

Is your child distracted, agitated or unable to focus on simple tasks? Experiencing mood swings or missing sleep? Acting impulsively and taking unnecessary risks? Overconfident and overstepping personal limits? Doing poorly in school, showing aggression or defying authority? Experimenting with sex, drugs or alcohol?

If you believe your child has been misdiagnosed with ADHD and may suffer from Bipolar Disorder, you and your healthcare provider may want to consider a research study testing an investigational medication to treat Bipolar Disorder in children and adolescents.

03-26-05, 01:55 PM
You have certainly raised an excellent question. What I heard presented at workshops is that there is a "one way comorbidity" between bipolar & ADHD.Specifically, up to 97% of people with bipolar also have ADHD but not vice versa. My reference here is again Russell Barkley both from the Door County Summer Institute in 2003 and yesterdays ADHD in Children teleconference sponsored by UBH (United Behavioral Health).

What he also said in both presentations was that true Pediatric Bipolar Disorder is actually rare; with only about 3-5% of ADHD children actually having it.At the most, he cited figures of 6-10% max.

Other workshops I've been to , as well as a CD of a conference I peviously posted listed 5 ( research based) distinguishing differences between Pediatric Bipolar & ADHD.Those are :
1) Elevated mood
2)Decreased need for sleep
3)Flight of Ideas (as opposed to trouble concentrating)
5)Hypersexual behavior (at an early age).

There is an anectodal 6th difference that hasn't been validated by research, however, I have consistently seen it over the years: 6) Destructiveness.

I hope to learn more this coming Tues at yet another workshop on the subject.Personally, I believe it is being over diagnosed ,in this part of the world at least.
Thanks for the post.:)

Trooper Keith
03-26-05, 02:06 PM
BiPolar and ADHD tend to have fairly different shortterm symptoms, and while there is a differential diagnosis issue, it should be fairly short order to determine between ADHD and BiPolar. Though ADHD could be diagnosed initially, it would only take one phase-shift for a doctor worth his salt to recognize BiPolar....

Although medications for ADHD can activate manic phases, I don't think it's that confusing a factor.

Mctavish, your response is excellent. Thanks for that, and let us know what you learn at the next workshop. :)

03-26-05, 02:08 PM
You'd think so, however, that is not always the case with children.

Trooper Keith
03-26-05, 02:17 PM
Fair enough, because the shifts are different in children, which I forgot to account for...still, I doubt it's as large a problem as it's often made out to be.