Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Bipolar Disorder Health Center

Font Size

Differences Between ADHD and Bipolar Disorder in Children - Topic Overview

Bipolar disorder in children and teens and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are similar. It is possible for a child to have both conditions. But certain symptoms help distinguish one from the other:

Comparing symptoms of bipolar disorder and ADHD
Symptoms of bipolar disorderSymptoms of ADHD
The child's mood and behavior problems get distinctly worse or more intense for days at a time, but then return to the child's usual behavior.The child has difficult behaviors (such as impulsivity and hyperactivity) that are fairly consistent.
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 The child may be withdrawn or irritable one moment and extremely happy or giddy the next.The child's moods can change quickly but are not extreme. These changes in mood are usually in response to something.
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 much sleep.Sleep disturbances and inability to sleep are long-term (chronic). The child is usually tired when he or she does not get enough sleep.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Differences Between ADHD and Bipolar Disorder in Children Topics

    Today on WebMD

    lunar eclipse
    Signs of mania and depression.
    Pills on blank prescription paper
    Learn about this popular bipolar disorder medication.
    serious looking young woman
    Assess your symptoms.
    teen girl in bad mood
    How is each one different?
    Feeling Ups and Downs
    Bipolar or Schizo
    Foods to Avoid
    Man being scolded by his shadow
    lunar eclipse
    depressed man
    young women not speaking
    man talking with therapist