Comorbidity: Bipolar Disorder

The comorbidity that I want to discuss in this post is Bipolar Disorder. It is perhaps not one that may think about in relation to ADHD. However it is one of ADHD’s comorbidities. It’s a good topic to discuss.

So let’s get into it.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorders (BD) is a mood disorder that causes intense shifts in a person’s mood, energy level, decision making, and ability to function. Individuals with bipolar disorder will experience these intense emotional shifts that can last for periods of days to weeks at a time. It will last much longer than those without the disorder.

These emotional episodes fall into two categories: mania and depression. 

The manic phase is the less prevalent of the two phase. Here are some examples of characteristics of this phase.

  • Feelings of euphoria or severe irritability
  • Unusually high self esteem
  • Poor judgement with regards to potential risky behaviours
  • Decreased need for sleep

Unlike the manic phase, those with BP are more likely to experience depressive phases. Some of the characteristics of this phase are:

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness and apathy
  • Extreme feelings of guilt and regret
  • Loss of interest in favourite activities
  • Decrease in their energy levels.

So, the manic episodes are described as energetic moods and restlessness. While the depressive phase is the opposite.

Although there is more to BD than just this, I just wanted to focus on some of the main points of this mood disorder and get a general idea of what it is. 

ADHD and BD

Bipolar disorder often co-exists in those with ADHD. Comorbidity is quite common among those with ADHD. 

There have been some recent researches done, looking into ADHD and BP. According to an article on the Additude Magazine website, written by Roberto Olivardia, these researches “suggest that about 1 in 13 patients with ADHD has comorbid BP, and up to 1 in 6 patients BD has comorbid ADHD.” These statistics do seem to show that it is not uncommon for people to have both ADHD and BD.

However, diagnoses are often missed. ADHD and bipolar disorder do have some common symptoms, which can at times make it difficult to diagnose properly. 

Although the proper diagnosis can be difficult to get, it is not impossible to get. In the right situation, many are able to get the right diagnosis, whether it involves ADHD, BD, both, or another condition entirely. 

Treatment Options

There are a few different treatment options available for those with bipolar disorder. 

One of the more effective treatments for bipolar is medication. The most commonly prescribed type of medication is mood stabilizers. This type of medication can help minimize the symptoms and the high and lows.

Therapy is another treatment that can help those with BD. Talking to a therapist can help find strategies to help keep the feelings under control, and be able to manage day-to-day life. 

There are other things that can help with managing BD, such as:

  • Exercise
  • Learning about bipolar disorder
  • Making healthier choices in your eating habits

These are just some options available to those with BD. 

Final Thoughts

​It’s not uncommon for some to have both ADHD as well as bipolar disorder. It can make life challenging whether you have one or both. 

Thankfully, there are things that can help with managing these conditions. It’s all about finding what works. 

Author :

2 Comments

  • Thank you for raising awareness on this important topic. You’ve taught me something I didn’t know before and it’s great for other people to read about these subjects.

    • Thank you for reading! I’m glad that you were able to learn something. It definitely is important to bring awareness to these types of issues.

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