Are Bipolar Disorder and ADHD Related?

Understanding bipolar disorder and ADHD can be difficult. It is important to know that they are not the same, but there are some similarities in how these two disorders affect people. If you or a loved one is struggling with either of these issues, Absolute Awakenings is here to help.

We’ll look at the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder, what similarities may lead one to think that ADHD and bipolar disorder are related, how they can lead to substance use disorder, and treatment options.

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Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, a type of mood disorder, is a serious illness that can be overwhelming to patients and their loved ones. People who are bipolar have extreme ups and downs in how they feel, think, behave, and react. Unfortunately, the signs are not always easy to spot because each person experiences different symptoms.

Some people experience more manic bouts than depressive lows. Other people are more prone to depression during bipolar episodes than mania.

During a manic state, the sufferer may experience:

  • Overwhelming feelings of happiness and excitement
  • Racing thoughts and ideas
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Hyperactivity and/or talking too much without giving others a chance to interject
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Spending too much money or spending beyond their resources
  • Poor judgment, impulsive behavior, and risky sexual encounters are also common.

During a depressive state, the sufferer may experience:

  • Feelings of hopelessness and sadness that are not easily relieved by positive experiences in life
  • Thoughts of death or no longer being present
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Prolonged feelings of tiredness and overwhelming lethargy
  • Thoughts of suicide

Let’s talk about that last one for a moment. 

Thinking about suicide is a symptom of bipolar disorder. Suicidal thoughts are not the same as wanting to die. People who are suicidal are thinking of ways they can take their own life. They are contemplating suicide and are at increased risk for actually committing suicide.

It’s important to talk with your loved one about this if you think they are struggling with bipolar disorder and suicidal thoughts. It is a symptom that needs to be addressed by a professional. 

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Symptoms are not the same for everyone. It takes work with qualified professionals to get an accurate diagnosis because the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder are not always clear.

People struggling with bipolar disorder will often turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. Drugs may provide temporary relief, bringing the user “down” from the elation of a manic episode or bringing them “up” from a depressive state. This can lead to substance use disorder, which brings its own set of struggles along with it beyond the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Drug use will also make their symptoms much worse in the long run.

If you or a loved one are struggling with bipolar or substance use disorder, Absolute Awakenings can help. Call 866-768-0528 to speak with an Admissions Specialist today. 

Signs and Symptoms of ADHD

ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is the most commonly diagnosed mental health condition in young people. An estimated 9 percent of children are affected by ADHD before they turn 18 years old.

Different signs are present in children before the age of 12 years old than in adults over the age of 18.

Signs are generally different for each person affected, but tend to fall into two categories:

  • Inattention symptoms- These symptoms are more common in children. Examples include not being able to pay attention, daydreaming a lot, and seeming not to listen even when spoken directly to.
  • Hyperactivity and impulsivity- These symptoms are usually more common in adults. Some examples of these are extreme restlessness, jitters, talking nonstop, problems waiting their turn, and interrupting others.

Not everyone with ADHD will have all of the symptoms present in both categories. For example, one person may have only a few hyperactive signs, while another person has mostly inattention signs. The severity of signs may also be different for each person.

Symptoms are not the same for everyone. It takes work with qualified professionals to get an accurate diagnosis because the signs are not always clear.

ADHD can lead to difficulties with drugs and alcohol. If this is the case for you or a loved one, speak with Absolute Awakenings. Treatment is available, and our compassionate team is ready to help.

While someone can be bipolar and have ADHD, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are co-occurring conditions. ADHD is not considered a mental illness like bipolar disorder. However, it can be diagnosed with one or the other or both conditions at once.

It’s important to go to a professional when you are concerned about your mental health, no matter which illness or illnesses are present. Treatment works best when it begins early. The longer symptoms go untreated, the more serious difficulties the sufferer will face.

If you are struggling with bipolar disorder and substance use, call us. Absolute Awakenings is familiar with co-occurring disorders. We are dedicated to helping you get the treatment you need and deserve.