6 Ways to Spot the Differences between ADHD and Bipolar in Children and Teens

Bipolar Disorder and ADHD (Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder) have a lot of similarities, and due to this, there may sometimes be difficulty in telling these two apart. In this article, we shall be learning about six ways to spot the differences between these two conditions.

They include;

  1. Irritable Moods vs. Explosive Rage

Kids experiencing ADHD do not usually destroy property or lose touch with reality when they have temper tantrums. Additionally, their burst of anger is usually for a short period.

Kids suffering from bipolar disorder always have explosive rage. This varies from anger because it comes without any sign and without reason behind it. It usually lasts for hours and is quite hard to control because it is more like a seizure instead of an emotional event.

  1. Behavior/Attention vs. Mood

Teens and children who are experiencing ADHD usually have issues with distractibility, cognitive functioning as well as finishing assignments/tasks. Bipolar disorder has an impact on mood. It can result in mood swings which can move from hypomanic to depressive lows.

A bipolar kid may be inattentive if going through a state of depression because the desire to care about any activity has been lost while an ADHD child is not inattentive because of the lack of capacity to focus on a specific thing at any given period.

  1. Mood Intensity

The way kids suffering from ADHD react to life events is basically seen as expected and is usually less intense and serious when linked with the event while in a bipolar child, reaction to life events is usually overboard when compared to the events.

  1. Mood Shifts Duration

Bipolar kids experience maniac feelings which can be life disrupting and deep. Their depression can stay for long periods of time and can lead to serious life issues in the aspects of their lives like school, home and friends while the kids experiencing ADHD have moods that appear and vanish and usually do not remain in a manic or depressed state.

  1. Treatment

A kid experiencing ADHD is usually provided a stimulant which works faster than an antipsychotic medication or antidepressant and is able to focus better with lower levels of energy within a short period.

In the case of a bipolar kid, an antipsychotic medication is utilized when suffering from a manic episode which aids in evening out the energy level of the kids. Additionally, when a kid who is bipolar in an episode of depression is offered an antidepressant, their moods will become better in some weeks, and their attention and energy comes back.

  1. Hyperactivity vs. Mania

Teens and children suffering from ADHD are more likely to get low self-esteem because of the poor feedback they get from adults about how they behave. They are also known to be energetic when they are hyper.

Teens and children suffering from bipolar mania can showcase grandiosity where they feel they are number one in the world at a specific thing which in turn makes them engage in behaviors which are risky and life threatening. They have also been reported to require less sleep than other children.