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Old 10-20-10, 12:52 PM
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ADD or bipolar? How can you tell?

Oh boy Im starting to think I donít have ADD!!! As I keep researching Im starting to think I am bipolar!


My therapist told me from the answers of a questionnaire I did that I have anxiety/depression associated with ADD and I have anxiety/depression associated with bipolar.


I never thought I could be bipolar because I knew a girl in high school who was and well she was pretty crazy and I know Im not like her. But as I look it up bipolar I see MANY similarities to me! I thought people who were bipolar were well crazy. But of course I knew little about the disorder.


I am wondering how you can tell the difference between the two disorders?


I am thinking about talking to my therapist and printing out some papers on bipolar disorder and high lighting the parts the fit me and asking her about it more.


Before I any therapy my mother told me she always thought I should see a therapist so I have someone to talk to because I am very emotional and get hurt easily.



My mom doesnít believe ADD is real so she always said I donít have it. When I asked her if I seem bipolar she said I do big time because Im either really happy or depressed and I have strange moods.


This reminds me of last month when I was pretty depressed for about 2 weeks or maybe a week and a half. One day I was crying on the couch as my mom talked to me and a day or so later my mom came home from work and asked me if I took to many of my pills (as in if I was speeding off of them) but I wasnít taking my pills for a few days because someone said maybe they were making me depressed because I started being depressed when I got on them, but I realize now they werenít. The day I started them I was in a good mood until that night when I got in a huge fight with my then boyfriend. And I stopped taking my Adderall again because I cant sleep when Im on it!

So exactly can you tell what one you have?
If you have both how did you find out?
Or if you have been misdiagnosed with ADD when really you are bipolar, how did you find out?


Also, whats abnormally hyper? I never thought of myself as being abnormally hyper. I thought everyone was like how I am. Im not always hyper it just depends on who Im with and the mood I am in. Sometimes Im perfectly clam with friends or when Im home alone. Other times am talkative, singing, humming, dancing and/or just acting goofy hyper.
Even when Im home with just me and my 3 month year old son Im like that. Like today I cant seem to stay still and I think I may hum more then any one ever should hum!


I thought everyone was like this because thats how my little brother and my mom are. We have always had are goofy days.

My little brother is just more like does and says goofy things and sings sometimes.
My mom sings to and I remember when I was younger I jokingly asked her if she does crank in the morning because she once woke me up for school by jumping on my bed haha.

I guess I just have an odd family, but I love it!
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Old 10-20-10, 01:30 PM
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Re: ADD or bipolar? How can you tell?

Please see my recent thread. We've just been through this with our adult daughter. This is a testable thing. If you don't get it done, time will go by, maybe a lot of it, before you receive proper help.

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Old 10-20-10, 01:38 PM
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Re: ADD or bipolar? How can you tell?

Alright thank you
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Old 10-20-10, 01:50 PM
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Re: ADD or bipolar? How can you tell?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ky4giraffe View Post
Oh boy Im starting to think I donít have ADD!!! As I keep researching Im starting to think I am bipolar!
Not exactly exciting news. Bipolar disorder sucks. Maybe more than ADHD, actually. Still, it's better to have an accurate diagnosis than a favorable diagnosis.

Quote:
My therapist told me from the answers of a questionnaire I did that I have anxiety/depression associated with ADD and I have anxiety/depression associated with bipolar.
I have to ask what kind of questionnaire. Was it an MMPI-2 short scale? I seem to recall you mentioning it had 280 odd questions so that's possible. I wasn't aware that this test could provide answers that specific. Interesting.

Quote:
I never thought I could be bipolar because I knew a girl in high school who was and well she was pretty crazy and I know Im not like her. But as I look it up bipolar I see MANY similarities to me! I thought people who were bipolar were well crazy. But of course I knew little about the disorder.
It sounds like you're dangerously bordering on the ill-side of self-diagnosis. It's possible to see ourselves in a lot of things, especially if we want to. Unconsciously, you may be wanting a bipolar disorder diagnosis (for whatever reason) and you may be finding similarities based on that. Bipolar disorder is a much easier diagnosis to make than ADHD, though the condition is marginally rarer.

Quote:
I am wondering how you can tell the difference between the two disorders?
They're radically different. They can coexist, although ADHD can't be diagnosed until after bipolar disorder is stable.

Essentially, one is a mood disorder and one is an executive functioning (behavioral) disorder. Bipolar disorder affects mood and only affects behavior inasmuch as mood modulates behavior. A person with bipolar disorder will have long periods of depression and long periods of mania, with the "rapid cycling" modifier reducing this to a few weeks. It can be further complicated by mixed states, but I should think most people having a mixed episode would be fairly easily identified.

Mania and bipolar disorder can look similar. The difference my doctor used was degree of impairment. I told him I was concerned I was becoming manic because I was spending money impulsively, and he looked over the tests I used for the ADHD diagnosis (to reconfirm it and make sure it was accurate) and then told me that the difference is that people with mania will be generally more agitated and less controlled even than a person with ADHD. They will also make reckless decisions and spend money they don't really have, whereas ADHD tends to make reckless impulsive decisions but within reason. There are other differences as well, but mainly the difference between hyperactivity and mania is what hyperactivity doesn't have that mania does.

Quote:
I am thinking about talking to my therapist and printing out some papers on bipolar disorder and high lighting the parts the fit me and asking her about it more.
That's a fair thing to do, but I have to ask myself, why are you so interested in a bipolar disorder diagnosis? Like ADHD, bipolar disorder can only be effectively controlled by medications. Unlike ADHD, bipolar disorder medications are not nearly as fun or benign.

Quote:
Before I any therapy my mother told me she always thought I should see a therapist so I have someone to talk to because I am very emotional and get hurt easily.
This is not an indicator of bipolar disorder, just of a fragile personality. Not everything has to be symptomatic - a mistake many people with psychiatric disorders and many clinicians alike make. Being emotional could be a depression thing, it could be a mania thing, it could just be a normal thing. I'd always lean towards "normal thing" without more evidence of one of the other two being present.

Quote:
My mom doesnít believe ADD is real so she always said I donít have it. When I asked her if I seem bipolar she said I do big time because Im either really happy or depressed and I have strange moods.
Laypeople can't accurately judge bipolar disorder exactly for this reason: they think that strange moods and happiness or depression that cycles is automatically some kind of bipolar disorder. It's not. Some people are just emotional.

Quote:
This reminds me of last month when I was pretty depressed for about 2 weeks or maybe a week and a half. One day I was crying on the couch as my mom talked to me and a day or so later my mom came home from work and asked me if I took to many of my pills (as in if I was speeding off of them) but I wasnít taking my pills for a few days because someone said maybe they were making me depressed because I started being depressed when I got on them, but I realize now they werenít. The day I started them I was in a good mood until that night when I got in a huge fight with my then boyfriend. And I stopped taking my Adderall again because I cant sleep when Im on it!
All of this sounds pretty normal to me, minus the crying on the couch. What were you crying about? Was it related to your relationship stress? Because getting in a huge fight with your then boyfriend would cause emotionality in people with or without bipolar disorder.

Quote:
So exactly can you tell what one you have?
See a competent doctor and give him as much information as possible. ADHD is more common but less readily diagnosed. Bipolar disorder is more impairing to adults and unlike ADHD the symptoms do not abet with age.

Quote:
If you have both how did you find out?
I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 8 or 9, which was probably a poor diagnosis at the time because I've had bipolar disorder for just as long. I was diagnosed with Mood Disorder NOS when I saw a therapist in September of 2008 because I was having some severe mood problems. I was formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder upon being admitted to a psychiatric unit for suicidal ideation.


Quote:
Also, whats abnormally hyper? I never thought of myself as being abnormally hyper.
Abnormally hyper depends on how you're defining hyperactivity. I would say that "abnormally hyper" would be "unable to slow down as if driven by a motor."

Quote:
I thought everyone was like how I am. Im not always hyper it just depends on who Im with and the mood I am in.
This would indicate it's not ADHD. It would also indicate it's not mania. This is pretty normal. How old are you?

Quote:
Sometimes Im perfectly clam with friends or when Im home alone. Other times am talkative, singing, humming, dancing and/or just acting goofy hyper.
Again, this is pretty normal.

Quote:
Even when Im home with just me and my 3 month year old son Im like that. Like today I cant seem to stay still and I think I may hum more then any one ever should hum!
I'm glad you're in a good mood.

Quote:
I thought everyone was like this because thats how my little brother and my mom are. We have always had are goofy days.
Again, this isn't abnormal. It could be, but it doesn't seem to be on its face. The abnormally elevated mood without a reason is a red flag for me because I do have the disorder. It's not a red flag for other people because, well, they don't have the disorder, and it just means they're having a good day.
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Old 10-20-10, 02:39 PM
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Re: ADD or bipolar? How can you tell?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KMiller View Post
Not exactly exciting news. Bipolar disorder sucks. Maybe more than ADHD, actually. Still, it's better to have an accurate diagnosis than a favorable diagnosis.
I didnt mean it as a happy way, more of an "OMG?!" kind of way. And yes I would like to know what I have.


Quote:
I have to ask what kind of questionnaire. Was it an MMPI-2 short scale? I seem to recall you mentioning it had 280 odd questions so that's possible. I wasn't aware that this test could provide answers that specific. Interesting.
I'm sorry, I have no idea what an MMPI-2 is.
Also, I just know what the therapist told me.

Quote:
It sounds like you're dangerously bordering on the ill-side of self-diagnosis. It's possible to see ourselves in a lot of things, especially if we want to. Unconsciously, you may be wanting a bipolar disorder diagnosis (for whatever reason) and you may be finding similarities based on that. Bipolar disorder is a much easier diagnosis to make than ADHD, though the condition is marginally rarer.
More of I want to know what is wrong with me I dont want anything.


Quote:
They're radically different. They can coexist, although ADHD can't be diagnosed until after bipolar disorder is stable.
This is what I dont get I saw my therapist the first day and she sent a referral to my doctor for adderall. The more I go to the therapist the more she finds other thing. Also, after I saw the therapist on friday she talked about bipolar, but adderall says dont take if bipolar.

Quote:
Essentially, one is a mood disorder and one is an executive functioning (behavioral) disorder. Bipolar disorder affects mood and only affects behavior inasmuch as mood modulates behavior. A person with bipolar disorder will have long periods of depression and long periods of mania, with the "rapid cycling" modifier reducing this to a few weeks. It can be further complicated by mixed states, but I should think most people having a mixed episode would be fairly easily identified.
I read that not everyone who is bipolar has server depression or mania. That you could have hypomania and mild depression. And some last for days instead of weeks.

Quote:
Mania and bipolar disorder can look similar. The difference my doctor used was degree of impairment. I told him I was concerned I was becoming manic because I was spending money impulsively, and he looked over the tests I used for the ADHD diagnosis (to reconfirm it and make sure it was accurate) and then told me that the difference is that people with mania will be generally more agitated and less controlled even than a person with ADHD. They will also make reckless decisions and spend money they don't really have, whereas ADHD tends to make reckless impulsive decisions but within reason. There are other differences as well, but mainly the difference between hyperactivity and mania is what hyperactivity doesn't have that mania does.
What are the differences between hyperactivity and hypomania?


Quote:
That's a fair thing to do, but I have to ask myself, why are you so interested in a bipolar disorder diagnosis? Like ADHD, bipolar disorder can only be effectively controlled by medications. Unlike ADHD, bipolar disorder medications are not nearly as fun or benign.
I am intrested because I want to know what I have, I want a right disgnoses. Also, fun? I hate my add meds I dont take them as much as I should (therapist said everyday) because I cant sleep and sometimes I just feel sick (headache, dizy, puky, one time tingly, moody, and others)



Quote:
This is not an indicator of bipolar disorder, just of a fragile personality. Not everything has to be symptomatic - a mistake many people with psychiatric disorders and many clinicians alike make. Being emotional could be a depression thing, it could be a mania thing, it could just be a normal thing. I'd always lean towards "normal thing" without more evidence of one of the other two being present.
I mentioned it because it could be a symptom


Quote:
All of this sounds pretty normal to me, minus the crying on the couch. What were you crying about? Was it related to your relationship stress? Because getting in a huge fight with your then boyfriend would cause emotionality in people with or without bipolar disorder.
Actually most of it had nothing to do with that fight. Me and the guy hardly saw each other and werent very close. A lot of it had to do with me thinking about my past and how I see myself. Also one night I was very depressed and the next I told myself I was going to be in a better mood. Then my friend texted me saying how people in her school remind her of me and another ex who I dated for about a year and a half, we broke up in january. He was pretty emotionally abusive. I started going off on a bunch of stuff. It was more my thinking that got me depressed. Also the crying was do to nothing specific more of a build up of life.



Quote:
See a competent doctor and give him as much information as possible. ADHD is more common but less readily diagnosed. Bipolar disorder is more impairing to adults and unlike ADHD the symptoms do not abet with age.
Really? I got diagnosed with ADD right away after the first therapist visit.
I have been like how I am now for a long time. I think since I was about 9 or 10. It was after I moved from one town to another and changed schools.


Quote:
I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 8 or 9, which was probably a poor diagnosis at the time because I've had bipolar disorder for just as long. I was diagnosed with Mood Disorder NOS when I saw a therapist in September of 2008 because I was having some severe mood problems. I was formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder upon being admitted to a psychiatric unit for suicidal ideation.
THis is why I didnt think I am bipolar, I have never been admitted to any where for anything and all the bipolar people I know have.
I just got diagnosed with ADD in september of this year.




Quote:
Abnormally hyper depends on how you're defining hyperactivity. I would say that "abnormally hyper" would be "unable to slow down as if driven by a motor."
Yes, but I always thought everyone got like that. I still dont understand what abnormally hyper is.

Quote:
This would indicate it's not ADHD. It would also indicate it's not mania. This is pretty normal. How old are you?
What about hypomania?
I am 19.



Quote:
Again, this isn't abnormal. It could be, but it doesn't seem to be on its face. The abnormally elevated mood without a reason is a red flag for me because I do have the disorder. It's not a red flag for other people because, well, they don't have the disorder, and it just means they're having a good day.
Again, it could so I want to find out if it is, I randomly get hyper all the time. Thats why I thought I might be bipolar.
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Old 10-20-10, 02:55 PM
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Re: ADD or bipolar? How can you tell?

Also Id like to add it seems like I have 2 major moods:
1. hyper love life love me I can do anything I can accomplish anything I am amazing!
2. depressed I hate life I hate me I suck at everything my life sucks Im good at nothing Im a failure.

And I have a lot of blank nothing moods where I just feel nothing at all just kind of emotionless.

Also, I think if I am bipolar I think it would be cyclothymia.
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Old 10-20-10, 03:33 PM
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Re: ADD or bipolar? How can you tell?

Iwas going to say, yes, cyclothymia is possible, and harder to tell the difference. The difference between hyperactivity and hypomania is goal-directed behavior. With hypomania, the energy is focused on something.

I didn't meanto come off as hostile, btw. I just worry about self diagnosis.

Has the Adderall made you hypomanic? It is safe to take Adderall when bipolar, but only if you're also taking a mood stabilizer.
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Old 10-20-10, 04:01 PM
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Re: ADD or bipolar? How can you tell?

I tried googling the difference between the two, but I found nothing.
I dont know if it made me, but I have been while on adderall.
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Old 10-20-10, 05:22 PM
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Re: ADD or bipolar? How can you tell?

It's very common for people to be diagnosed ADHD initially and later reclassified as bipolar. Particularly children tend to be dx'd ADHD and changed to bipolar as adults as there's still a lot of argument over whether it's even possible to diagnose bipolar in children - personally I think it is possible but it takes a dr with a lot of knowledge in the area, and they arent exactly falling out of the woodwork!

The majority of ADHD symptoms are also present in bipolar, there's a huge overlap between the two. The major difference for diagnosis is the presence of mania, without clear manic episodes most dr's will dx ADHD. Bipolar will only be (should only be) dx'd after 2 or more manic episodes. And manic doesnt always mean happy, it can be irritable or angry too.

"..the difference is that people with mania will be generally more agitated and less controlled even than a person with ADHD. They will also make reckless decisions and spend money they don't really have, whereas ADHD tends to make reckless impulsive decisions but within reason. There are other differences as well, but mainly the difference between hyperactivity and mania is what hyperactivity doesn't have that mania does." - this is a good explanation, ADHD is impulsive - action without sensible thought....bipolar can be reckless - they tend to feel untouchable, super-human!.

I'ts very wise to arm yourself with as much info as you can, but also be careful that you dont start to associate with symptoms. It's natural to want a reason for things, especially when you've lived the misunderstood life of ADHD or bipolar without dx. You've got the right idea, gather as much info as you can and discuss it with your dr.

Either disorder can be managed, good luck :-)

Oh and MMPI is a personality scale used by psychologists, not a diagnostic tool. It picks up temperaments (that are there at that time) rather than symptoms. Personality tests are fun and interesting but they are known to have their issues. Neither ADHD nor bipolar have an actual test, most dr's would get you to do a depression checklist and then discuss your history with you and another person that knows you well.
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Old 10-20-10, 09:13 PM
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Re: ADD or bipolar? How can you tell?

What is the differences between cyclothymia and ADD??
Hmm it was just a rate yourself type of thing, and my therapist never talked to anyone I know, not even to diagnose me as ADD
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Old 10-20-10, 10:05 PM
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Re: ADD or bipolar? How can you tell?

The difference between mania and ADD is that manics will tend to have little to no desire for sleep (i.e., from nil to a couple of hours). And manics feel invicible, and take excessive risks. A manic will start to develop psychosis from lack of sleep also.

People with bipolar tend to go manic when given an SSRI, or a stimulant.
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Old 10-20-10, 10:07 PM
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Re: ADD or bipolar? How can you tell?

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The difference between mania and ADD is that manics will tend to have little to no desire for sleep (i.e., from nil to a couple of hours). And manics feel invicible, and take excessive risks. A manic will start to develop psychosis from lack of sleep also.
Psychosis is not present in all people with mania. Lack of sleep is common in manic people but not universal.

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People with bipolar tend to go manic when given an SSRI, or a stimulant.
Or, just, you know, whenever.
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Old 10-20-10, 10:23 PM
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Re: ADD or bipolar? How can you tell?

Hmm I cant really judge on sleep, I never can sleep because of my son.
Although, I normally am perfectly normal and awake and sometimes hyper after only a few hours of sleep.
And before I got pregnant that were times when Id stay up all night no sleep one night and be hyper the next day and go to bed that night at like 3am.
While I was pregnant and now I try to sleep, but I tend to just lay there awake in my bed sometimes.
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Old 10-20-10, 10:40 PM
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Re: ADD or bipolar? How can you tell?

How long do your moods last? Hours? Days? Months?

Do they have a trigger? Or do they just happen?

When you're feeling elevated, do you spend money you don't have? Become hypersexual? Gamble recklessly? Make massive life changing decisions on a whim? Act like you have a death wish?
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Old 10-20-10, 10:55 PM
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Re: ADD or bipolar? How can you tell?

Depends, some moods last weeks some last days or hours.
Also depends some moods are random some are triggered.
And well, I am home alone with no car or money or anything so I dont really do anything.

But I am thinking if I would have bipolar it would probably be cyclothymia.
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