Is It Bipolar Disorder or ADHD?

Bipolar disorder vs. ADHD

There are some similarities between the manic episodes of bipolar disorder and ADHD. These include:

  • an increase in energy or being “on the go”
  • being easily distracted
  • talking a lot
  • frequently interrupting others

One of the biggest differences between the two is that bipolar disorder affects mood, whereas ADHD affects behavior and attention. In addition, people with bipolar disorder cycle through different episodes of mania or hypomania, and depression. People with ADHD, on the other hand, experience chronic symptoms. They do not experience a cycling of their symptoms.

Both children and adults can have these disorders, but ADHD is typically diagnosed in younger individuals. Genetics may also play a role in developing either condition. You should share any related family history with your primary care doctor to help with diagnosis.

ADHD and bipolar disorder share certain symptoms, including:

  • impulsivity
  • inattention
  • hyperactivity
  • physical energy
  • behavioral and emotional liability

In the United States, ADHD affects a larger number of people. According to a study published in 2014, 4.4 percent of adults have been diagnosed with ADHD and only 1.4 percent of adults in the United States have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

In addition, ADHD symptoms usually begin at a younger age than bipolar disorder symptoms.

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