Category Archives: adhd

adhd and bipolar disorder

Can You Suffer From ADHD and Bipolar Disorder?

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder symptoms overlap and are often difficult to differentiate. Confusing a diagnosis more, ADHD and bipolar disorder can be co-occurring. However, working with a professional prevents missing a diagnosis of ADHD and bipolar disorder.

How Can You Have ADHD and Bipolar Disorder?

ADHD and bipolar disorder symptoms include restlessness, being easily distracted, impulsivity, and poor concentration. Because ADHD is more common and the symptoms are similar, bipolar disorder is often undiagnosed. 

Furthermore, ADHD is generally diagnosed in childhood, while bipolar disorder is typically diagnosed in teens and adults. Because ADHD is usually the initial diagnosis and symptoms are so similar, any signs of bipolar disorder are blamed on ADHD.

What is the Difference Between ADHD and Bipolar Disorder?


ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder typically affecting children. However, many adults are also struggling with ADHD. Signs and symptoms of ADHD include:

  • Trouble focusing
  • Forgetfulness
  • Excessive fidgeting
  • Interrupting or talking too much 
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Risk-taking
  • Trouble forming relationships

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder causing extreme mood swings. People can experience mania (extreme highs) or hypomania (extreme lows). Daily life and living with bipolar disorder can be challenging because people can flip from one mood to another or be free of symptoms.

While there are various types of bipolar disorders, there are two distinct episode types – mania and hypomania. Mania is more severe, causing issues at school, work, social gatherings, and in relationships. 

Although they are different types of mood swings, the symptoms are the same and may include:

  • Abnormally jumpy and upbeat
  • Highly energetic
  • Extreme agitation
  • Exaggerating self-confidence or well-being
  • Sleeping less
  • Overly talkative
  • Racing thoughts
  • Easily distracted
  • Poor decision making

Mania may also cause a break from reality and require hospitalization. 

What are the Causes of ADHD and Bipolar Disorder?

Although ADHD and bipolar disorder share similar symptoms, what causes these disorders are different. While research continues on the causes, known risk factors increase the risk of developing these disorders. 


Studies show ADHD is often genetic, but the cause is still unknown. Environmental factors, such as nutrition, social environment, and brain injuries, may increase the risk of developing ADHD. 

In the past, professionals thought sugar, too much television, and family stress played a part. And while these factors can exacerbate symptoms, they have been debunked as causes. 

Bipolar Disorder

Research shows having a close relative, such as a parent, with bipolar disorder increases a person’s risk of developing the disorder. However, it is thought not to be just one gene but a collection of responsible genes. 

Furthermore, brain structure and function may increase the development of bipolar disorder. Studies have shown issues with how nerve signals are transmitted in the brain, and the balance of brain chemicals play a role in bipolar disorder. 

Why Can You Have ADHD and Bipolar Disorder at the Same Time?

It is relatively common for a person with bipolar disorder to have ADHD. Almost 70 percent of those with bipolar disorder have co-occurring ADHD. Furthermore, 20 percent of people with ADHD receive a diagnosis of bipolar disorder as teens and adults. 

According to the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, children whose parents have bipolar disorder have a higher occurrence of ADHD and eventually bipolar disorder. 

Diagnosing ADHD and Bipolar Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or the DSM-5 classifies ADHD and bipolar disorder as mental health disorders. It also lists the specific criteria used to diagnose both disorders. 


Generally, children receive a diagnosis of ADHD between the ages of 5 and 11. If an adult is being evaluated for an ADHD diagnosis, their symptoms must have been present by age 12. Often, a pediatrician diagnoses ADHD, but psychologists, psychiatrists, or primary care doctors can also diagnose ADHD. 

Bipolar Disorder

Typically, bipolar disorder develops in older teens and adults. There are various types of bipolar disorder, and each has its criteria for diagnosis. It can take a few years to get a diagnosis since it’s based on a history of mania and depression symptoms, medical history, and tests to rule out any physical issues causing the symptoms. 

What are 6 Factors that Differentiate ADHD and Bipolar Disorder?

Because ADHD and bipolar disorder have similar signs and symptoms, the risk of misdiagnosis is high. As a result, professionals often use the following six factors as a guide. 

1. Age of Onset

ADHD is a chronic or lifelong disorder with symptoms appearing before age 12. Although children can have bipolar disorder, it is rare. Most people experience their first bipolar episode after age 18. 

2. Consistency of Episodes

Because ADHD is a chronic disorder, it is always present. Bipolar episodes come in waves with periods of “normal” moods. 

3. Mood Triggers

A person with ADHD has passionate, emotional reactions to life events. Intense happiness and excitement occur with happy events. Likewise, unhappy events such as rejection, criticism, and teasing cause extreme sadness. However, those with bipolar disorder can have mood swings and emotional episodes without being triggered by any connection to life events. Here we cover ten bipolar triggers and how to manage them.

4. Speed of Mood Changes

The mood changes in ADHD are instant because life events trigger them. While the shift in mood is valid, it’s the intensity that becomes abnormal. Because they come on rapidly, episodes are often called “snaps” or “crashes.” On the other hand, bipolar episodes are typically untriggered and may take days to fluctuate. 

5. Duration of Episodes

Despite the diagnosis, severe loss and rejection often cause weeks of hypomania. The mood swings of ADHD are typically measured in hours. While bipolar episodes must last at least two weeks according to the DSM-5. 

For example, for a diagnosis of “rapid-cycling” bipolar disorder, a person must experience four mood shifts in a year. However, people with ADHD may experience four or more mood changes every day. 

6. Family History

Both ADHD and bipolar disorder run in families. However, people with ADHD have multiple cases of ADHD in their families. On the other hand, bipolar disorder generally has fewer genetic connections.

What is the Treatment for ADHD?

ADHD is a chronic disorder which means there is no cure. However, treatment options help manage symptoms and develop coping skills. 

Since ADHD is often seen as a childhood disorder, adults may avoid a diagnosis. Unfortunately, this can seriously affect work, relationships, and overall well-being. But, a combination of medications, behavioral therapies, and lifestyle changes can improve daily life. 

Medications for ADHD

Two medications have approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating ADHD – stimulants, and non-stimulants. Stimulants are the most commonly prescribed, with 70-80 percent of children seeing fewer symptoms on stimulants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Common stimulants to treat ADHD include:

  • Adderall
  • Concerta
  • Desoxyn
  • Dexedrine
  • Focalin
  • Vyvanse

Non-stimulant medications may be used when stimulants produce unwanted side effects. They may also be used when people have other health issues or fear addiction. Common non-stimulants for ADHD include:

  • Strattera
  • Wellbutrin XL
  • Intuniv
  • Catapres

Sometimes, a person may use both stimulants and non-stimulants to manage ADHD. This combination improves behavior and cognitive function over stimulants alone for some people. 

What Therapies Help Manage ADHD and Bipolar Disorder?

The therapies used to manage ADHD, and bipolar disorder varies depending on age. Most therapies help people understand their disorder, its effects and help change their thinking and behaviors. 


Older children and adults find meeting with a therapist a safe space to share their feelings. Psychotherapy or individual therapy helps develop coping skills and address co-occurring mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder. 

Behavioral Therapies

Some teachers are specially trained in behavioral therapies to help children replace unhealthy behaviors with posit ones. Tools such as goal setting, reward systems, and teaching organizational skills can reinforce positive behaviors. 

Therapies including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, are useful in treating ADHD and bipolar disorder adults.

CBT and EMDR help people process their negative thought patterns and behaviors, allowing them to heal and cope with their conditions and the symptoms that occur as a result, such as emotional distress. Processing these patterns changes a person’s perspective, allowing them to make better decisions and improve their relationships. 

What Lifestyle Changes Can Improve ADHD and Bipolar Disorder 

Although medications and various therapies are beneficial in managing ADHD and bipolar disorder, lifestyle changes can help balance mood and minimize episodes. Healthy eating, exercise, and good sleep hygiene can prevent relapses. 

Eat Healthy Foods

Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for brain health. While vitamin D and B can help fight hypomania. So, eating various foods, including fresh produce, whole grains, lean meats, tuna, and salmon, is vital in managing ADHD and bipolar episodes. 

Good Sleep Hygiene

ADHD and bipolar disorder can make sleep challenging. Mania can cause people to sleep very little. At the same time, hypomania can make it difficult to get out of bed. On top of it all, a lack of sleep can trigger mood changes. 

Tips to sleeping better include:

  • Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day
  • Keep your room cool and dark
  • Avoid screen time (computer, tv, and phone) before bed
  • Take a bath, read a book, or do another relaxing activity
  • Avoid large meals at bedtime

Get Regular Exercise

Although exercising too hard or too often can trigger mania, regular exercise can ease depression and changes in mood. For example, riding a bike or taking a walk in the fresh air and sunshine is proven to be a mood booster.

Can Alternative Therapies Manage ADHD and Bipolar Disorder?

Adding alternative therapies to your medication and behavioral therapies can enhance the benefits of treatment. Adding yoga and meditation to your daily routine can help balance your thoughts and feelings while minimizing mood changes. 

Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and meditation can calm and relax your mind. They can also boost concentration and focus while lowering blood pressure, anxiety, and mood swings of ADHD and bipolar disorder. 

Many people believe that yoga and meditation take an hour or more to do. However, when a person is experiencing mania or hypomania, taking five minutes to find a quiet spot can help them regain control and balance emotions. 

Treating ADHD and Bipolar Disorder at Lido Wellness Center 

Are you wondering if you struggle with ADHD, bipolar disorder, or both? Have you tried treatments, but nothing worked? At Lido Wellness Center, our mental health approach gives people access to the proper resources they need to take control of their mental and emotional health. We develop customized individualized treatment plans to help you get your life back. Contact us today to find out more. 


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Can ADHD Cause Depression?

Can ADHD Cause Depression?

ADHD or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It can affect behaviors, emotions, and the way a person learns. But, can ADHD cause depression?

While a diagnosis of ADHD typically occurs in childhood, it is not a kid’s disorder. Many adults struggle with diagnosed ADHD, while others never receive a diagnosis. When ADHD is left untreated, it often results in ADHD and depression in adults. 

Whether you recently received a diagnosis of ADHD and depression or think you may be struggling with both disorders, it is important to seek counseling to understand your diagnosis and treatment options better.

What is ADHD?

Before we discuss how ADHD can cause depression, it is vital to understand the disorders individually. 

Neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD are present in childhood and throughout life. Many people with ADHD struggle to complete tasks and are often disorganized. As a result, they often lose things and miss appointments. 

ADHD may present itself in three different ways – inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and a combination of inattentive and hyperactive-impulse. 

Inattentive ADHD

Inattentive ADHD causes people to struggle with staying focused on tasks they find boring. They are often distracted by their internal dialogue or things going on around them. People with inattentive ADHD may also struggle to follow conversations and organize their thoughts. Symptoms include:

  • Missing details or making careless mistakes
  • Trouble listening, paying attention, or staying focused
  • Needs reminders, repetitions, and extra help following directions
  • Forgetful or disorganized
  • Avoids difficult tasks

Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD

People struggling with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD constantly feel restless and find it challenging to sit still. They may also say things without thinking first. Symptoms include:

  • Fidgeting and squirming
  • Trouble staying seated
  • Noisy, running, climbing at inappropriate times
  • Talking out of turn and more than others
  • Interrupting others or blurts things out
  • Always on the go

Inattentive and Hyperactive-Impulse Combination ADHD

It is not uncommon for a person with ADHD to have both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD. While any form of ADHD is challenging, treatments such as counseling, behavioral therapies, and medications can help manage symptoms.

What is Depression?

People say they are depressed when they are sad or feeling blue. However, depression is more than just feeling down for a day or two. People with depression have recurrent episodes that last weeks, months, and even longer. Furthermore, depression is more than feeling sad. 

Symptoms of Depression

The most common symptoms of depression include:

  • Sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Irritability, frustration, or restlessness
  • Lack of interest in things you once liked doing
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Change in eating habits
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue

People struggling with depression may find it hard to handle daily responsibilities such as work or school. They often struggle with personal hygiene and eating healthy meals. When depression goes untreated, it can be life-threatening and lead to suicidal ideations. 

Can ADHD Cause Depression?

Is there a link between ADHD and depression in adults? Research shows that both ADHD and depression are comorbid conditions. As a result, people diagnosed with one disorder are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with the other. 

According to the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety, people with severe depression, early-onset depression, or chronic depression have higher rates of ADHD. Other facts that support the link between ADHD and depression in adults include:

  • Teens with ADHD are ten times more likely to struggle with depression than their peers.
  • Adults with ADHD are three times more likely to receive a diagnosis of depression than adults without ADHD.
  • People with depression are 30 to 40 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. 
  • Seventy percent of people with ADHD may experience depression in their lifetime. 

Because ADHD and depression can increase suicidal thoughts, it is crucial to seek help. If you or someone you love are in immediate danger, call 911.

How Does ADHD and Depression Overlap?

People may have difficulty telling ADHD and depression apart. Not only do the disorders have overlapping symptoms, some medications for ADHD cause side effects such as trouble sleeping and loss of appetite, which mimic depression. 

While concentration, mood, and motivation issues are symptoms of ADHD and depression in adults, they are different disorders.


The mood of a person with ADHD can change quickly and spontaneously. ADHD begins in childhood and continues throughout life. While a person with depression experiences mood episodes that last weeks or months. Depression is typically seen in teens and adults.


When an activity is enjoyable to someone with ADHD, there is motivation to participate. However, a person struggling with depression will struggle with motivation even when the activity is fun and exciting. 


An active mind and the lack of feeling tired are symptoms of ADHD. These symptoms make it difficult to sleep. A person with depression feels tired, but negative thoughts and worries make falling asleep or staying asleep difficult.

How Long Does ADHD and Depression in Adults Last?

ADHD is a lifelong disorder typically diagnosed in childhood. As research continues, professionals can recognize the signs and diagnose ADHD at younger ages. 

Depression is typically diagnosed in teens and adults. Symptoms may last days, weeks, or months before a person feels normal again. Staying involved in various therapies can minimize or eliminate episodes. 

How Can ADHD Cause Depression?

Multiple factors increase the risk of co-occurring ADHD and depression in adults. If you or someone you love has ADHD, it is important to be aware of these risk factors. Depression can be life-threatening and needs immediate attention.


According to the National Institutes of Health, males are more likely to have ADHD. But, University of Chicago researchers find females are at higher risk of developing depression. 


The same study finds that the type of ADHD also affects the risk of developing depression. People struggling with inattentive ADHD or combination inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD have a higher risk of co-occurring depression. 

Mother’s Mental Health History

A person’s risk of developing depression is affected by their mother’s mental health. A JAMA Psychiatry article finds pregnant women struggling with low serotonin levels, or depression often has children who struggle with ADHD, depression or both. However, research is continuing on serotonin levels and a developing fetus.

Undiagnosed or Untreated ADHD

If a person with ADHD goes undiagnosed or doesn’t treat diagnosed ADHD, their risk of depression increases. Secondary issues such as low self-esteem also increase depression in people with ADHD.

Can ADHD Cause Depression and Suicidal Thoughts?

Another study published in JAMA Psychiatry finds children diagnosed between the ages of 4 and 6 have a higher risk of developing depression and having suicidal thoughts. It also finds girls between 6 and 18 with ADHD have more suicidal thoughts than peers without ADHD. 

Furthermore, people with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD have a higher risk of being suicidal. Overall, the risk of suicidal thoughts in people with ADHD is low. However, if you know someone has, suicidal thoughts it is crucial to call 911 and never leave them alone. 

What Treatments are Available for ADHD and Depression in Adults?

There are various treatments for ADHD and co-occurring depression. Generally, treatment focuses on the disorder that is most impairing first. However, treatments vary depending on the person and their diagnosis. 

Medications For ADHD and Depression

There are three types of medications used to manage ADHD and depression in adults. Let’s take a look at what they are and how they work. 


ADHD is often treated with stimulants such as Adderall. Stimulants increase brain chemicals to improve focus. However, stimulants may interfere with appetite and sleep. 


Strattera or atomoxetine is also a non-stimulant medication often used in treating ADHD. 


Depression is often treated with antidepressants such as Wellbutrin (bupropion). Antidepressants can also help manage ADHD symptoms. However, it typically takes a few weeks to notice a difference. 

Can Therapy Help When ADHD Causes Depression?

Psychotherapy or individual therapy can help manage ADHD and depression in adults and teens. It helps improve focus and build self-esteem in people struggling with ADHD. While also addressing the negative thoughts and behaviors of depression. 

Types of therapies used in treating ADHD and depression in adults include:

What Lifestyle Changes Can Help When ADHD Causes Depression?

Are there changes you can make to improve your ADHD and depression? Yes, there are three easy ways to improve your symptoms, and they are also necessities of life – eating healthy meals, regular exercise, and good sleep hygiene. 

Keeping yourself from being bored is also essential when you have ADHD, as it can worsen your mood. Additionally, when you struggle with depression, boredom can increase negative thoughts. Learning time management skills can keep you focused and prevent boredom. 

Treating ADHD and Depression in Adults at Lido Wellness Center

Living with ADHD and depression is challenging, but both disorders are manageable with a successful mental health approach. At Lido Wellness Center, we combine medication, behavioral therapies, and lifestyle changes to help you live your best life.

Can ADHD cause depression? How can Lido Wellness Center help you? Our caring representatives are waiting to answer these questions and more. Contact us today and regain control of your life.


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