– ADHD and bipolar disorder can look very similar to one another but they are treated very differently so it’s important to get it right as to which is which. That’s what I’m talking about today in this video. I’m Dr. Tracey Marks, a psychiatrist, and I produce videos on mental health education and self-improvement. I have other videos that define bipolar disorder and ADHD and you can see those in the corner and I’ll have a link in the description and you can watch them after this video. With ADHD and bipolar disorder, you can have trouble thinking, you can be hyperactive, and you can feel disorganized. That’s how the symptoms overlap. Here are some of the ways that they differ. And for the purposes of this video, I’m gonna use the term mania but everything I say can also apply to hypomania. First is in the area of energy. With mania you can feel as though you have unlimited energy. And it’s not just in your head. You can actually have the capacity to just keep going until the episode is over. With ADHD, you tend to feel like you’re more on the go or hyped up, and you may even intend to do a lot of things, but your energy is not unlimited and it doesn’t have the superhuman quality to it. Speech. One of symptoms of mania or hypomania is pressured speech and racing thoughts. Racing thoughts is an internal experience. In your head you experience your thoughts moving quickly from one thing to another. Pressured speech is something that someone else observes of you. The person you’re speaking with can feel as though you’re talking without any pauses and it’s very hard for them to get in a word. Because your thoughts are racing, you may interrupt someone while they’re talking. On the other hand with ADHD, you can interrupt people, not because of fast talking or racing thoughts, but you may have just zoned out while the person’s talking and not even realize that someone’s speaking to you and just interrupt people’s thoughts. – Honey, have you seen my glasses? – In the middle of the conversation. Next, mood. With bipolar disorder, your mood changes are random and they cycle, meaning they come and they go. In the classic picture of bipolar disorder, your mood states alternate from depression to mania to depression and then mania. However you can have recurring episodes of depression back to back or mania back to back. The mood states don’t have to alternate. With ADHD, any mood changes you experience are situational meaning that they’re triggered by something that’s going on in your life. They don’t just spontaneously come and go like they do with bipolar disorder. Let’s look at impulsivity. With bipolar disorder you can see things like hypersexuality and random ridiculous spending habits. If you’ve read some of my comments on the bipolar disorder videos, you’ll see where people share how they spent $5000 in two days and now they don’t have money to buy groceries. This is just an example but it’s a pretty classic example. The person with ADHD may make unwise decisions because it just wasn’t thought out very well. But with mania, you have this momentum behind it that just keeps on going in a way that you completely devastate your life without realizing it until it’s too late. Let’s look at the area of sleep. With mania, you have very little, if any, need for sleep along with the increased energy. So you may say up painting your home, reorganizing closets, starting a new business, and all kinds of seemingly exciting productive things. But with ADHD, you may get hyperfocused on something such that you stay up late but it’s because you’re into it. But then you are tired the next day and you don’t have that superhuman energy that pushes you to go without any sleep. Let’s look at when it starts. Bipolar disorder develops over time and usually starts in the teenage years to early adulthood. There is a late onset bipolar disorder that can happen in the forties and fifties and even the sixties. And this is less common but it can happen. ADHD does not start at 40. ADHD is a brain disorder that starts in childhood and there are people who don’t get any treatment as a child for their problem but the problem continues into adulthood and it’s not until it causes enough problems for them that they start on medication as an adult. But even with those people, there is some element of it in their childhood that was just never addressed. So you can start out with ADHD as a child and later on develop bipolar disorder on top of the ADHD. The clinical term for this is comorbid conditions. It means that you have two illnesses occurring at the same time. On the issue of medication response, bipolar disorder needs mood stabilizers to control the ups and downs. If you have ADHD then later develop bipolar disorder, your ADHD problem is going to be worsened by your bipolar disorder. The mania can disorganize your thoughts in a way that overrides whatever effect your ADHD have on your thoughts. It’s like the mania becomes the dominant problem so your ADHD may no longer respond as well to stimulants alone. Also your stimulants can worsen your mania because it can speed you up even more. So it gets complicated treating poor concentration in someone who has bipolar disorder and ADHD because your ability to focus can fluctuate depending on the mood state that you’re in. In contrast, with ADHD your inattention, focus, and concentration respond to stimulant medication alone. You don’t need mood stabilizers to help you think. So a clue that your thought problems are ADHD and not bipolar disorder, is that if you take a stimulant medication and don’t need anything else, it’s probably not bipolar disorder because bipolar disorder does not get better only from taking a stimulant like Adderall or Ritalin. So this is all clear right? Making this distinction is something that your doctor would do and you don’t need to make sure you know this so that you can get this right. This information is just to help you understand how we can tell the difference between these illnesses. And in general, information or education on mental health helps you understand how these illnesses affect you so that you can better cope with them or better cope with how someone you know is dealing with them. For more information on ADHD, you can watch this video that I have. And in that video I define a manic episode. See you next time.
With ADHD and bipolar disorder you can have trouble thinking, be hyperactive, feel disorganized etc. That’s how the symptoms overlap. This video I discussed how these two disorders can be distinguished from each other. I discuss how they differ in energy levels, speech, mood, impulsivity, sleep, onset and medication response.
I have other videos where I define this disorders, so in this video I jump straight to the comparison between the two.
Here’s a video where I define a manic episode https://youtu.be/ydLWlAqCpLA
For more information on Bipolar Disorder, watch the playlist https://goo.gl/1hKamL
ADHD Explained https://youtu.be/WoN7GFOTvu8
ADHD playlist https://goo.gl/sEsiY1
Disclaimer: All of the information on this channel is for educational purposes and not intended to be specific/personal medical advice from me to you. Watching the videos or getting answers to comments/question, does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. If you have your own doctor, these videos can help prepare you for your discussion with your doctor.
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