Approximately 20 percent of ADHD adults also have Bipolar Disorder. It’s difficult to differentiate between the 2 conditions as some symptoms are the same. For example: ADD is diagnosed by elevated levels inability to concentrate, impulsivity, distractibility and hyper-activeness. During a manic episode someone with Bipolar Disorder experiences high levels of impulsivity and hyper- activeness.

People with ADD can be inattentive and during a depressed mood someone with Bipolar Disorder may also experience this inattentiveness.

However, there are lots of differences too.

ADD usually appears in childhood (although not always diagnosed in childhood) and is consistently present lifetime.

Bipolar Disorder (with some exceptions) usually appears in the very late teens or early 20’s. There are long periods of ‘normal’ mood levels. As well as experiencing the intense highs and lows that are characteristic of Bipolar.

In both ADHD and Bipolar Disorder there are swings from one mood to another. But while someone with ADHD experiences more intense moods than a peer with ADHD, there moods are still deemed ‘normal’. By contrast someone with Bipolar experience intense moods, swinging from an incredible high and happy mood or mania to a deep low depression.

People with ADHD’s emotions and moods are connected to life events. So if something happy happens they feel joyful, if a sad event happens they feel sad. This differs from someone with Bipolar Disorder as their moods are not connected to events in their life.

There is no reason to feel scared or fearful if you think you have one or both ADHD and Bipolar disorder. Both can be managed, and you can enjoy a happy and fulfilling life. However like all conditions it’s important to first understand what you are dealing with and then it can be treated  according, so visit your doctor to begin the diagnosis process.

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