Differences Between ADHD and Bipolar Disorder in Children - Topic Overview
Bipolar disorder in children and teens and
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) share
some similar characteristics. It is possible for a child to have both
conditions, but certain characteristics help distinguish one from the
Comparing symptoms of bipolar disorder and ADHD
| Symptoms of bipolar
|| Symptoms of ADHD
|The child throws violent, destructive
temper tantrums that can last for hours. The child hits, kicks, destroys
property, and may threaten to harm someone else.
||The child throws temper tantrums that
usually last for only minutes, and he or she does not usually destroy
|The child can act as though he or she is
losing touch with reality during a temper tantrum.
||The child does not lose touch with reality
during a temper tantrum.
|Mood swings and strange behaviors occur
unpredictably. The child may be withdrawn or irritable one moment and extremely
happy or giddy the next.
||The child has difficult behaviors (such as
hyperactivity) that are fairly consistent. He or she can get very happy or
|The child's response to external events is
prolonged and out of proportion to the event.
||The child's reaction to external events is
not extreme and is resolved in a normal amount of time.
|The child shows signs of hypersexuality
(talking or thinking about sex, having sex, or using sexual language).
||The child can show some signs of sexually
inappropriate behavior, but the behavior is usually not severe or the child can
be distracted from this behavior.
Sleep disturbances and inability to sleep
occur periodically. The child often has plenty of energy despite not getting
||Sleep disturbances and inability to sleep
are long-term (chronic). The child is usually tired when he or she does not get
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
April 12, 2011
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Differences Between ADHD and Bipolar Disorder in Children Topics