ADHD Symptoms in Children Difficult to Distinguish from Bipolar Disorder

ADHD symptoms in children can be difficult to distinguish from symptoms of bipolar disorder according to Boris Birmaher, M.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh.  Psychiatry News reports Birmaher as stating that since symptoms such as impulsivity, hyperactivity, and excessive talking can be evident in both ADHD or bipolar disorder,  it is often not easy to distinguish from the two. Difficulty of establishing a clear  identity of a psychiatric disorder is especially difficult in children and adolescents, where the range of “normal” can be subjective, and varies from child to child.

Symptoms common to bipolar disorder and ADHD:

  • impulsivity
  • hyperactivity
  • excessive talking

Child psychiatrist, Dr. Scott Shannon, states that he often prefers dealing with the issues at hand rather than trying to pinpoint a label when working with children’s psychiatric problems.

References for ADHD Symptoms in Children Difficult to Distinguish from Bipolar Disorder:

1. Arehart-Treichel, J. Targeting Specific Factors Might Improve Bipolar Disorder Outcomes. Psychiatric News. Retrieved November 18, 2014.

2. Overcoming ADHD Without Medication: A guidebook for parents and educators. (2012). Newark: AYCNP.

2. Psychiatric Labeling and Children – Look Beyond the Labels! (2012, December 8). AYCNP.  Retrieved November 18, 2014.

3. Shannon, S. (2007). Please Don’t Label My Child: Break the Doctor-Diagnosis-Drug Cycle and Discover Safe, Effective Choices for Your Child’s Emotional Health. New York: Rodale Inc.






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