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Bipolar Disorder

Approximately 10 million people in the United States have Bipolar Disorder (BD). Bipolar disorder often co-occurs with ADHD in adults. According to 1 study, about 20% of those diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder are also diagnosed with ADHD. The tragedy is that, when the disorders co-occur, the diagnoses are often missed.

Bipolar Disorder has 2 sets of symptoms because they are on opposite ends of the spectrum, Manic and Depressive. In order to be officially diagnosed with BD, a patient must have at least 5 of the symptoms that last for longer than 1 week at a time.

As Bipolar Disorder is hard to deal with on it's own, combined with the lack of impulse control of ADHD, it can be downright dangerous. If you have ADHD and suspect that you have Bipolar Disorder based on the following symptoms it is important that you talk to your doctor about it so you can receive the appropriate diagnoses as soon as possible.

Manic symptoms include:

  • Severe changes in mood, either extremely irritable or overly silly and elated

  • Overly-inflated self-esteem, grandiosity

  • More energy

  • Can go with very little or no sleep for days without tiring

  • Talks too much and too fast, changes topics too quickly, or can't be interrupted

  • Distracted, attention moves constantly from one thing to the next

  • Hypersexuality, with more sexual thoughts, feelings, or behaviors; uses explicit sexual language

  • More goal-directed activity or physical agitation

  • Doesn't care about risk, takes on risky behaviors or activities

Depressive symptoms include:

  • Sad or irritable mood that doesn't go away

  • Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed

  • Big change in appetite or body weight

  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping

  • Physical agitation or slowing

  • Loss of energy

  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide


  1. Solving the ADHD-Bipolar Puzzle. ADDitude. Published August 22, 2016. Accessed March 11, 2022.

  2. Perroud N, Cordera P, Zimmermann J, et al. Comorbidity between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder in a specialized mood disorders outpatient clinic. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2014;168:161-166. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2014.06.053

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