Is It Bipolar Disorder or ADHD?

Diagnosis and treatment

If you suspect that you or someone you love might have either of these conditions, speak with your doctor or get a referral to a psychiatrist (or if it is someone you love, encourage them to make an appointment with their doctor or get a referral to a psychiatrist). Your first appointment will likely involve information gathering so your doctor can learn more about you, what you are experiencing, your family medical history, and anything else that relates to your mental and physical health.

There is no cure for bipolar disorder or ADHD. Instead, your doctor will focus on treating your symptoms with the help of certain drugs and psychotherapy. Kids with ADHD who engage in treatment tend to get much better over time. Though the disorder can worsen during periods of stress, there are usually no psychotic episodes unless the person has a coexisting condition. People with bipolar disorder also do well with medicines and therapies, but their episodes can become more frequent and severe as the years go on.

When to speak with your doctor

Speak with your doctor or call 911 immediately if you or someone you love has thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Depression in bipolar disorder is particularly dangerous and difficult to spot if the person’s mood is cycling between extremes. Additionally, if you notice that any of the symptoms above are interfering with work, school, or relationships, it’s a good idea to tackle the root issues sooner rather than later.

Forget the stigma

It can be more than challenging when you or a loved one is experiencing signs and symptoms of either ADHD or bipolar disorder. You’re not alone. Mental health disorders affect approximately one in 17 individuals in America. Getting the help you need is the first step toward living your best life.