View Full Version : Confused - ADD, Bi-Polar type II, neither, or both

12-15-07, 09:07 PM
I'm a little down tonight, so please excuse my mood. For the past 10 years I have been diagnosed with BPII or ADD - no one really knows. My symptoms are no energy, mood swings, lateness and forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, low frustration tolerance,poor organizational skills,start many tasks but never finish anything, hard to grasp things, forget what I'm saying a lot of times when I start talking or writing, go to do something and forget what I was going to do, easily irritated, I can't stand too much activity going on around me, always feel tired and feel confused a lot and the list goes on. I was on Citalopram and Ritilin for a few months and it seemed to help- but then it just stopped working. My doctor gave me the max dose of them both. Now I'm on the max of Cymbalta and Adderall XR and they have never worked. My doctor said she doesn't know if I have BPII or ADD - I believe I have ADD, from all the research I have done and all the symptoms I have read and stories of others. In school I had a hard time grasping concepts and remembering what I read. My mind is like a tv with a remote constantly changing the channel, it's hard to hold on to a thought. I feel depressed about how I have to live. There is so much that I want to do. I started going to college online because I feel it would be impossible to attend school - to focus, I'd be stressed trying to get there in time, what if I have mood swings...the list goes on. My doctor said BPII and ADD often are similar. I always feel overwelmed, stressed and guilty that I don't spend a lot of time with my kids - I am just at the end of my rope. I have been on the internet all day searching for an answer. Has anyone tried L-tyrosine,DLPA,SAME, or D/L Phenylalanine? I am going to try to find another way - I can't take stimulants anymore- they don't do anything except make me depressed when they wear off! Does anyone have any ideas for me? I would appreciate any comments or ideas. Thanks.

Matt S.
12-15-07, 09:19 PM
It is possible to have both and if you do have bipolar disorder an antidepressant will probably do little to no good.

12-16-07, 02:36 AM
your doctor should probably try you on Lamictal and see what happens. You have to titrate up very slowly, which can be frustrating. But if there is a chance of bipolar, anti-depressants and stimulants (ADD-meds) are probably just making it worse.

I have tried L-tyrosine and Sam-E. There was a period of time when I was so frustrated by how the anti-depressants made me feel (before I was actually diagnosed bipolar and put on a mood stabilizer-Lamictal). I tried taking as many natural supplements as possible - those two I listed, plus B-vitamins, EFA's - I even tried Chinese herbs from an acupuncturist. I did notice some improvement in energy and mood - from the L-tyrosine and Sam-E. But it only took the edge off the symptoms - it didn't make them go away. And they aren't cheap.

I would really recommend talking to your doc about Lamictal. It is the top med for bipolar depression, and it has made a HUGE difference in my life. There is a chance of 'cognitive' side effects, but mine hit at 100 mg and went away (mostly) when I got up to 150. When I went through that stage, I couldn't hold a thought in my brain to save my life. I had to make lists for everything. But like I said, I mostly moved through that.

Good luck!

12-16-07, 01:33 PM
Thanks for the advice. My doctor said if I'm not ADD then the ADD med's would make things worst, but how do you explain the symptoms of ADD? She talked about putting me on Provigil next month if the Adderall doesn't help - does anyone know about this medication or the Cymbolta? I didn't take the Adderall today and I feel really tired and kinda sad, I was falling asleep in my Sunday morning "meeting", which I never do. Any thoughts?

12-16-07, 01:56 PM
BP and ADD are not mutually exclusive. They can be misdiagnosed as each other but often they co-exist. Many BP people have ADD as well.
I don't really understand you doc's course of action here or why they seem set on it being one or the other? Personally, I'd be shopping for a new doc.

I second the suggestion of Lamictal. I've tried other mood stabilizers and plenty of antidepressants and Lamictal does both best for me. It is great for bipolar depression.

If Adderall works for you but you don't like the comedown, you might want to try Dexedrine. It wears off much more smoothly.

12-17-07, 11:16 AM
Has anyone heard of Provigil or taken it? What symptoms of Bi-Polar type 2 does anyone experience?

01-11-08, 03:04 PM
They are concurrent in a lot of people, especially whence they get into their late 30's and early 40's as my doctor told me ......

I have a history of bipolar 2 and depression with anxiety attacks here and there ...

on Adderall now which helps a lot with the distractedness and all the other ADHD symptoms ...

take Klonopin for anxiety and if i'm feeling wound up manic-wise (which is rare these days .....)

also I take a lot of fish oil , hemp oil, b-complex vitamins and gingko biloba for further stabilization ...

also - strenous exercise in the form up a brisk walk up a big steep hill and some strenous hatha yoga ....

most of the depressed/borderline/bipolar / adhd people that I Know don't bother to get a lick of exercise and they wonder why they're so miserable and so on ...

get off the couch and out of bed and make yourself sweat !!!!@!@!@


01-22-08, 03:38 PM

We have the same problem (though radically different world views) and I feel for you. In my case I believe both diagnoses are correct. Luckily for me I have no children and don't have to cope with the added stress and guilt. I'd be suspicious of the amino acid fad treatments, because you already get those in food. I'm not a psychiatrist or neurologist, but I feel that it's entirely possible that there is no "cure" or even "treatment" and probably never will be, and that surviving consists of learning to get by any way we can and to live within our means.

In secondary school I excelled in everything except math and PE. I get concepts pretty well, but details sometimes evade me. Arithmetic is the hardest part of math for me. By the time I've calculated part of a problem, I've forgotten what I was doing with it. This means that I take a lot longer on tests. College was disastrous because of procrastination and lack of focus, energy, or interest. I finally earned a BA though (and some graduate credits).

I agree to some extent with those who've said exercise helps. Exercise helps a little (weightlifting and bag workouts are particularly stimulating for me- maybe I have anger issues). The hard part about exercise is convincing yourself to start doing it. It helps if you have someone who can push you. Basically where I am in life now is, trying to learn to be happy with less and stop dreaming so big. I'm trying to take some cues from Diogenes and Epicurus (but I haven't fully convinced myself yet). Giving up on long-held dreams is kind of like choosing to leave someone that you're hopelessly in love with (not an easy task). Just remember what the Sufis say, "This too shall pass".

I know that I don't have the answers, but I'm wishing that you get the help you need.

01-28-08, 02:52 AM
Wow this is like the first time I hear about someone having 90% of the same symptoms I do.

Diagnosed depressed as a teenager, ADD at 21 and now bipolar-2 at 23. Stimulants don't do much good for me. My doctor is very confident that I have both and its not that rare really. I never was completely satisfied with just ADD diagnose, felt he was missing something. There is a theory that both of these come from the same genetics, and even more brain related diseases. Looking at my family history I think its very possible. So having more than one isn't that unlikely.

From your post I would say its very likely you have both just like me. Give up on the stimulants (at least for now while dealing with bipolar). I just started Lamictal and also Im going to switch from Zoloft to Effexor. Zoloft only changes the serotonin level while both serotonin and norepinephrine levels are affected with Effexor (which is suppose to be more effective dealing with bipolar2 depression). Taking anti-depressants can do good for bipolar2 but you just need to take something else with it (like Lamictal).

01-28-08, 06:20 PM
Lamictal rocks. I was on it years ago, then went off of it when I came up pregnant. Just started it again and I can already tell my brain is quieter.

IF you are bipolar then the stimulants, without a mood stabilizer, can upset your moods quite radically. My doc is going to get the Lamictal in my system well and then try Strattera (maybe) if I need it.

I second the exercise. Running does a world of good for me. So does taking vitamins, eating lower carb/higher protein, taking fish oil, ginkgo, etc. But honestly the only thing that makes a complete difference in my life is the medication.

I think there is a fine line between BPII and ADD.

01-28-08, 06:35 PM
Sounds like LDs might be in the mix too (reading problems; problems understanding "concepts").

Have you had any LD Testing?

08-14-08, 12:11 AM
A suggestion:

Possibly start off with a mood stabliser eg Seroquel and then add either Dexamphetamine or Ritalin.


08-28-08, 01:26 AM
Hello RaizeHim,

My husband has ADD and slightly bipolar as well. We went to Dr. Hallowel's ADD/ADHD Summer Workshop in Michigan and after that, my husband tried Wellbutrin. It has been a year now and it has worked 70% of the time - if taken once a day. All the symptoms improve if he remembers to take it twice a day.

07-10-09, 03:14 PM
Wow after reading this thread, I wonder why I don't come here every single day!!!!!!!!

Here is something Posted in another place:
I am on Cymbalta 60mg, Adderall 20+10+10 and Lamictal 100+100mg.
We recently upped the Lamictal from 100 to 150 to 2000.

But still.... I have so little energy all day, and very little motivation to do anything. Also my jaw clenches frequently, and it is hard for me not to want to snack or chew gum or something esp late at night (former smoker here, quit Nov 2007)

There were times I felt like I was making progress and chipping away at my responsibilities... Felt great. But then there are weeks I think "I'll do better tomorrow" but I am so listless I just want to sit at the computer...

I am still late frequently, losing 10 or 20 minutes trying to do "just a few more things" before I leave the house or just missing it. I am trying to actively notice the time with more clocks etc.

Doc says I am ADD and have symptoms of Atypical Bipolar. I can be cranky, anxious, or happy and impulsive. These drugs DO help me as a mother, giving me the pause I never had esp in dealing with noise and chaos in my home with 3 kids. I don't yell at my kids nearly at all compared to before these drugs. I don't experience 'mania' like I have read about, except maybe I get overexcited about topics I am passionate about and will talk too much. I do feel totally compelled when I get on a topic or interest - Like I can spend 7 hours at a thrift store because I "have to" look at everything.

But... it seems like my 'get up and go' has been permanently lost. I might have one or two days out of 10 that feel like I am doing well and making progress on my goals. I am overwhelmed and often don't know where to begin... so I don't.

I am seeing my Psychiatrist every 2-4 weeks depending on what we are doing. She has mentioned Abilify as an option but I was afraid to move because of how the Cymbalta has helped me with my kids.

Comments are greatly appreciated.

So... maybe better here. HEY whoever mentioned Fish Oil and exercise, thank you. My doc has been saying that for awhile now and I have mostly ignored it.

Being disciplined on proper health (eating and exercise), not isolating, and taking pills at the prescribed times is simply a challenge... but one I understand more now that I need to address.

11-13-09, 12:15 PM
A suggestion:

Possibly start off with a mood stabliser eg Seroquel and then add either Dexamphetamine or Ritalin.


Oh my god, I stumbled on this mix myself! I have Celexa for mild depression as well, ever since i started taking the dex and the ad in the morn and seroquel for my sleep at night I find I have been spot on at my job it is amazing!

You folks are describing me here to a T! Right down to hating math and PE (if nots not interesting, you're just not into it...i love hockey and play hockey, but i forever despised wasting an hour of my time in gym class playing sports i found dull and boring! And math! Im 26 and still don't know how to devide!)

I would love to speak with more people who fit in this category, anyone out there?