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Commonly Shared Features of Bipolar Disorder and Adhd in Pediatric Patients

Commonly Shared Features Of Bipolar Disorder And Adhd In Pediatric Patients

Dealing with bipolar disorder and ADHD is a big challenge. Both have some common symptoms, so it’s hard to diagnose. So what is a commonly shared feature of bipolar disorder and ADHD in pediatric patients? Let’s get the answer in this article of BestLifeTips.

The more development the society is, the more mental illness increase. Bipolar disorder and ADHD tend to increase more recently. If you’re wondering what is a commonly shared feature of bipolar disorder and ADHD in pediatric patients, read this article of BestLifeTips to get the answer.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is mental illness. It’s a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.

People who have bipolar disorder can feel overly happy and energized, sometimes they feel very sad, hopeless, and sluggish. In between these two periods, they usually feel normal.

bipolar blog

Source: NAMI

There are three types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I Disorder: is a manic period that last at least 7 days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, depressive periods occur as well, typically lasting at least 2 weeks. Periods of depression with mixed features (having depressive symptoms and manic symptoms at the same time) are also possible.
  • Bipolar II Disorder: is a pattern of depressive periods and hypomanic periods, but not the full-blown manic periods that are typical of Bipolar I Disorder.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder (also called Cyclothymia): is periods of hypomanic symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least 2 years (1 year in children and teenagers). However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for a hypomanic period and a depressive period.

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. ADHD also affects many adults. ADHD is a mental health disorder that can cause above-normal levels of hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. People with ADHD may also have trouble focusing their attention on a single task or sitting still for long periods of time.

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Source: EurekAlert!

There are three types of ADHD:

  • Predominantly inattentive: People with this type of ADHD have extreme difficulty focusing, finishing tasks, and following instructions. This type is most common among girls with ADHD.
  • Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type: People with this type of ADHD show primarily hyperactive and impulsive behavior. This can include fidgeting, interrupting people while they’re talking, and not being able to wait their turn.
  • Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive type: This is the most common type of ADHD. People with this combined type of ADHD display both inattentive and hyperactive symptoms. These include an inability to pay attention, a tendency toward impulsiveness, and above-normal levels of activity and energy.

What it’s like to have bipolar disorder and ADHD?

Symptoms of bipolar disorder

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Source: Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials

There are three main symptoms that can occur with bipolar disorder: mania, hypomania, and depression.

  • Mania

A person with bipolar disorder experiencing mania may feel an emotional high. They can feel excited, impulsive, euphoric, and full of energy.

  • Hypomania

Hypomania is generally associated with bipolar II disorder. It’s similar to mania, but it’s not as severe. Unlike mania, hypomania may not result in any trouble at work, school, or in social relationships. However, people with hypomania still have changes in their mood.

  • Depression

During an episode of depression you may experience: deep sadness; hopelessness; loss of energy; lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed; periods of too little or too much sleep; suicidal thoughts.

  • Symptoms in children and teens

Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be difficult to identify in children and teens.

Children and teens may have distinct major depressive or manic or hypomanic episodes. And moods can transform. Some children may have periods without mood symptoms between episodes.

The most prominent signs of bipolar disorder in children and teenagers may include severe mood swings that are different from their usual mood swings.

Symptoms of ADHD

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Source: Psycom

Children with ADHD do not just grow out of having trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another. The symptoms continue, can be severe, and can cause difficulty at school, at home, or with friends.

A child with ADHD might have some of below symptoms:

  • Daydream a lot
  • Forget or lose things a lot
  • Squirm or fidget
  • Talk too much
  • Make careless mistakes or take unnecessary risks
  • Have a hard time resisting temptation
  • Have trouble taking turns
  • Have difficulty getting along with others

What is a commonly shared feature of bipolar disorder and ADHD in pediatric patients?

Emotional dysregulation isn’t the only symptom that is associated with both bipolar disorder and ADHD. There are many behaviors could be interpreted as signs of either bipolar disorder and ADHD, according to Dr. Carlson (director emerita of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Stony Brook University School of Medicine). For instance:

  • One criteria of mania is heightened activity, which can look like the hyperactivity associated with ADHD
  • The irritability of mania looks like the low frustration tolerance that comes with ADHD
  • The poor judgment of mania looks like impulsivity of ADHD
  • Both include distractibility
  • Both include difficulty sleeping

Bipolar disorder and ADHD treatment

Bipolar disorder treatment

Several treatments are available that can help you manage your bipolar disorder. These include medications, counseling, and lifestyle changes. Some natural methods may also be helpful.


Recommended medications may include:

  • Mood stabilizers, such as lithium (Lithobid)
  • Antipsychotics, such as olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • Antidepressant-antipsychotics, such as fluoxetine-olanzapine (Symbyax)
  • Benzodiazepines, a type of anti-anxiety medication such as alprazolam (Xanax) that may be used for short-term treatment


Recommended psychotherapy treatments may include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy

In this therapy, you and a therapist talk about ways to manage your bipolar disorder. They will help you understand your thinking patterns. They can also help you come up with positive coping strategies.

  • Psychoeducation

Psychoeducation is a kind of counseling that helps you and your loved ones understand the disorder. Knowing more about bipolar disorder will help you and others manage it.

  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy

Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) focuses on regulating daily habits, such as sleeping, eating, and exercising. Balancing these every day can help you manage your disorder.

Lifestyle changes

There are also some simple steps you can take right now to help manage your bipolar disorder:

  • Keep a routine for eating and sleeping
  • Learn to recognize mood swings
  • Ask a friend or relative to support your treatment plans
  • Talk to a doctor or licensed healthcare provider

ADHD treatment

Treatment for ADHD typically includes behavioral therapies, medication, or both.

ADHD medication

The two main types of medications used to treat ADHD are stimulants and nonstimulant medication.

Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants are the most commonly prescribed ADHD medications. These drugs work by increasing the amounts of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. Examples of these drugs include methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamine-based stimulants (Adderall).

If stimulants don’t work well for you or your child, your doctor may suggest a nonstimulant medication. Nonstimulant medications work by increasing levels of norepinephrine in the brain. These medications include atomoxetine (Strattera) and some antidepressants such as bupropion (Wellbutrin).

ADHD medications can have many benefits, as well as side effects.

Natural remedies for ADHD

Besides medication, several remedies have been suggested to help improve ADHD symptoms.

For starters, following a healthy lifestyle may help you or your child manage ADHD symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Limit daily screen time from phones, computers, and TV

Yoga, tai chi, and spending time outdoors can help calm overactive minds and may ease ADHD symptoms.

Mindfulness meditation is another option. It has positive effects on attention and thought processes, as well as on anxiety and depression.

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Bipolar disorder and ADHD have many common features. But actually they’re different from mental illness. This post is about what is a commonly shared feature of bipolar disorder and ADHD in pediatric patients. Hope it can provide you with useful information.