How Often Do Bipolar Disorder and ADHD Occur Together?
Many symptoms of ADHD and BPSDs are similar to each other, as well as other disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders and other depressive illnesses. Since many of the symptoms are common, it is difficult to form a diagnosis. There is not a specific test that can be used to diagnose any of these disorders with the precision of other medical conditions, such as a blood sugar test to determine if a person may be diabetic.
Several of the symptoms and conclusions are open to interpretation. Think about all the parents you encounter who swear that their children are hyperactive; when in reality, they are just ordinary, active children. One researcher noted that parents and teachers reported the same behaviors differently. How questions are worded has also influenced results.
Concerns have also been raised about the validity of the reported symptoms. Most of the studies have been conducted on a short term or one time basis. If symptoms were based upon behaviors observed during an episode which occurred when the individual was stressed, traumatized or under other distressing circumstances, the signs documented may not give a clear picture of what the person is really like. This can only be determined by long term research studies.
Some researchers have raised the question of whether or not people who are diagnosed with ADHD and a BPSD have an unidentified condition that doesn’t yet have a diagnosis, diagnostic criteria, or a name. The answers simply are not clear.
Do Researchers Think ADHD and BPSDs Are Genetic?
There is some evidence that genetics may be involved in both conditions. The portions of the involved genes appear to be closely related. Symptoms of BPSDs include the symptoms that are identified as signs of ADHD. However, people who have ADHD do not usually have most of the symptoms of a BPSD.
Some experts have wondered if one of the diagnoses causes or predisposes an individual to the development of the other condition. Again, it is not known. What’s clear is that ADHD is generally diagnosed at an earlier age than bipolar disorder. Many more people have ADHD when compared to the numbers of people who suffer from BPSDs, leading some researchers to believe that a BPSD does not cause ADHD.
Most people who have ADHD do not develop signs of PBSDs. It does not appear that ADHD leads to BPSD; however, the question has been raised as to whether the stress of having ADHD may trigger development of a BPSD in some individuals. Some clinicians wonder if an increase in ADHD symptoms may be early signs of a BPSD. Again, more research is needed.