View Full Version : Can you be both adhd and bipolar?


Song of Mercy
09-16-08, 03:07 PM
I believe I may have both bipolar and adhd. Is that even possible? I am being treated for bipolar disorder yet in 7 years no med has stablized me. I read through an adhd self test on a drug web site and had enough symptoms to consider adhd as the issue. If fact, at one time a phd of psychology suggested I had adhd, however, a pdoc asked me to repeat three items back to him and I did in the proper order. He said that means I do not have adhd. I am really upset. If I could describe my self it would be as a "positive failure" because I am a genuinely positive person who fails at every endeaver I undertake. I have been crying for days. I am in college and have failed my last two accelerated classes. If I fail one more I will lose my funding. Basically, in two weeks I get my last chance to get the degree I want from the school I want. Even now I realize if some miracle does not occur I am going to fail again. To complicate matters I have a past issue of drug abuse and am scared that any doc will think I am just trying to get drugs...

Zoie
09-16-08, 04:02 PM
breathe.

Get a second opinion if you do not trust the one your pdoc gave you. Talk with you instructors and the disability office at your school. There may be accommodations that you can make that will allow you to pass your classes and achieve your goals.

Hang in there

Zoie
09-16-08, 04:43 PM
Another thought...There may be solutions other than medication to treat your symptoms as well.

And screw docs who think you are just looking for a hand out. If they cannot see that your functioning ability is suffering from your sx, then they need a new profession

Ravenna
09-16-08, 09:14 PM
It is very possible to have both BiPolar and ADHD. Its definately an avenue worth exploring.

Hang in there.

Song of Mercy
09-21-08, 09:55 PM
Another thought...There may be solutions other than medication to treat your symptoms as well.


I wanted to let you know that you really got me thinking about other tools I can utilize. I have picked up a couple of tools this week and am slowing working through the multitude of post here in the forums looking for what else will work for me. Thanks.

speedo
09-21-08, 10:05 PM
It is relatively common to have ADHD along with bipolar disorder.

ME :D

Danuts
09-22-08, 01:49 AM
Possible....yes. Common? not really in my opinion. It seems like nearly every person with bipolar disorder claims to be ADHD as well. I just don't believe thats the case. Bipolar people may appear to similar to ADHD because mania/hypomania, which can look severe case of the ADHD-hyperactive subtype, and have trouble concentrating, paying attention, etc. I don't believe this is ADHD, i think the distraction and inability to concentrate comes from having racing thoughts. It would be pretty hard to pay attention, and stay on task with your head always going a mile a minute.

Spongedaddy
09-30-08, 10:06 AM
Possible....yes. Common? not really in my opinion. It seems like nearly every person with bipolar disorder claims to be ADHD as well. I just don't believe thats the case. Bipolar people may appear to similar to ADHD because mania/hypomania, which can look severe case of the ADHD-hyperactive subtype, and have trouble concentrating, paying attention, etc. I don't believe this is ADHD, i think the distraction and inability to concentrate comes from having racing thoughts. It would be pretty hard to pay attention, and stay on task with your head always going a mile a minute.


It is somewhat common: "For example, the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Study<SUP>[1]</SUP> found that among individuals diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorders, the rates of ADHD were 32%, 21%, and 9.5%," (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/551840)

32% is high and that's just based upon the study. The number is probably higher considering people who are not aware of the comorbidity or just feel ashamed to report one more "mental problem." I believe the ADHD/BP comorbidity is more of a spectrum disorder, like autism, where a lot of people fall into different levels of the comorbidity specturm.

The real question, that not many have the b-lls to ask, is what does this mean. I bet there is an important piece of the healing puzzle hidden in this comorbid riddle.

Dizfriz
09-30-08, 11:19 AM
I saw this earlier and wanted to respond but could not locate it again.

If your current pdoc is the one that diagnosed you as not ADHD based on repeating three items back to him, then I would strongly suggest that you consider a new doc. I know something about the assessment for ADHD and that is *NOT* a part of the diagnostic protocol.

On your other question, yes you can be bipolar and ADHD. It is very real. As Russell Barkley frames it as if you meet the criteria for ADHD then you are ADHD.

As in all things scientific, there may be some changes in the future. I have some ideas on this that I would like to see explored but for now the answer is a firm "Yes".

BTW, let us know how you are fairing.

Good luck and keep fighting.

Dizfriz

Spongedaddy
09-30-08, 12:59 PM
I saw this earlier and wanted to respond but could not locate it again.

If your current pdoc is the one that diagnosed you as not ADHD based on repeating three items back to him, then I would strongly suggest that you consider a new doc. I know something about the assessment for ADHD and that is *NOT* a part of the diagnostic protocol.

On your other question, yes you can be bipolar and ADHD. It is very real. As Russell Barkley frames it as if you meet the criteria for ADHD then you are ADHD.

As in all things scientific, there may be some changes in the future. I have some ideas on this that I would like to see explored but for now the answer is a firm "Yes".

BTW, let us know how you are fairing.

Good luck and keep fighting.

Dizfriz

The McDonalds drive-thru school of diagnostics and treatments is the way most docs operate. It is a real shame, but their are many who have begun to see through this and take ownership of their challenges. It sounds like you guys are doing just that and more power to ya.

As I have said before..I have every intention of healing myself and don't care what the doubters say. Healing is possible.

dorian_deficit
09-30-08, 11:25 PM
I believe I may have both bipolar and adhd. Is that even possible? I am being treated for bipolar disorder yet in 7 years no med has stablized me. I read through an adhd self test on a drug web site and had enough symptoms to consider adhd as the issue. If fact, at one time a phd of psychology suggested I had adhd, however, a pdoc asked me to repeat three items back to him and I did in the proper order. He said that means I do not have adhd. I am really upset. If I could describe my self it would be as a "positive failure" because I am a genuinely positive person who fails at every endeaver I undertake. I have been crying for days. I am in college and have failed my last two accelerated classes. If I fail one more I will lose my funding. Basically, in two weeks I get my last chance to get the degree I want from the school I want. Even now I realize if some miracle does not occur I am going to fail again. To complicate matters I have a past issue of drug abuse and am scared that any doc will think I am just trying to get drugs...
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It's very possible to be both Bipolar and ADD. For ppl Dx'd with Bipolar, it's extremely common for comorbids to exist, i.e ADD, OCD, LD'S, etc. I'm both Bipolar and ADD actually. If you ever have any questions, feel free to shoot virtual hoops by posting and those of us that are the combination will hopefully reply (as I doubt it's a commonality shared amongst the majority in this forum).

Finding stabilizing meds for Bp is tricky. It often (commonly) take years for people with Bp to find the right med cocktail (again, often taking multiple meds to create a functional brain chemistry). Like the others who posted, I would suggest a really close, candid relationship with your pdoc. Seven yrs is, in fact, a long time to not find any type of relief. But it's never too late and you can continually persist on the med path.

Titles can often be misleading. I'm not discrediting this Phd student but you should really try (if you can) to seek a professional who can diagnose you properly, and again.. that can take some time as well.

And don't worry, we all lose our balance and sometimes (even often) things in our lives can seem really out of place. You're not alone. I think the concept of poor med reception, in certain cases, might have lots to do with a person's state of mind, esp. in a bipolar. Bp's need the meds, you know.

I wish you luck!

AndyK
10-17-08, 10:42 PM
Well I have both. Hypomania twice twenty years ago. Lithium ever since and no recurrence. As ongoing issue with tiredness, poor sleep, drowsiness in the mornings, poor focus and silly mistakes. GEtting steadily worse as more pressures accumulate.

Nobody could put a finger on it. It got worse when I got stress- and I would in a stressful situation descend into a spiral of worry and unfinished thoughts. I was finally diagnosed inattentive ADD after we realise my daughter had it.

My suspicion is that the ADD brain through its vulnerability to stress can enter into a downward spiral ending in depression, anxiety or substance abuse ( quality of thinking goes off when stressed- worsening the situation). This is pure speculation but I bet that in response to perceived stress we can drive our brains into a hypervigilant, hyperfocussed state to attempt to fight off the threat ending in a state that is either true mania or is indistinguishable from it.

Modern medicine focusses just on what can be observed. I read books on ADD and all I get is lists of symptoms. There is no attempt to explore what it is like for the sufferer or how that may impact on their life.The experience of ADD is neglected- indeed to consider the experience is regarded by researchers as going native. We are the ones who have the experience and our thoughtful consideration of our own experience can greatly advance the knowledge of the condition. We are confronted every day with the need to do our work, to care for our families and to confront the meaning of our existence just like everbody else- but we must do it through the medium of an unreliable and paradoxical brain. That experience has got to be of value.

DeathMetal2000
05-01-12, 05:45 AM
That's be crazy having ADHD and bipolar. Wow, didn't realize how old this thread was.

willawilla
05-03-12, 11:17 PM
It is. I have cyclothymia and ADD.

And then people don't get why they find me weird (in a fun way) :rolleyes: