Connection between ADHD and Rise in Bipolar Disorder Intrigues Researchers

ADHD for a while now has been noted for its startling similarity to Bipolar disorder. Both of the conditions have overlapping symptoms and at times one condition leads to the other.

Both these conditions are marked with early commencement, hyperactivity, fidgeting and mood swings. However, as the child gets older, the symptoms of ADHD subsides, the Bipolar conditions does not.

A BD (bipolar disorder) is defined as a combination of depression as well as elevated moods.

It has been noted that Bipolar Disorder develops during the teenage years after having early childhood ADHD .A staggering 70 % of individuals who were diagnosed with BD had prior history of ADHD. However, on the other hand, the people who were diagnosed only with ADHD, only 20% had BD.

With growing concerns regarding comorbid ADHD, it has become necessary to find what triggers bipolar disorder among children with ADHD.

Presently, a study with the sole aim of determining the link between Bipolar disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is being conducted under the guidance of the Director of the Lipidomics Research Program Dr Robert McNamara, PhD, of University of Cincinnati, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience.

READ: More recent news on ADHD

Bipolar Disorder

Dr McNamara along with Melissa DelBello, MD, Dr. Stanley and Mickey Kaplan at the university are trying to find how and if the drug prescribed for early childhood ADHD affect the later bipolar disorder among adults.

The researchers are using modes of brain-imaging such as a MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to understand the probable effects of ADHD treatment drugs (Adderall) on the structure of the brain as well as its role among individuals who have a close family member suffering from BD.

At the first appearance of ADHD in early childhood, individuals are given the usual psychostimulant. Dr McNamara and team have pointed out that the effect of this drug is unknown and whether this drug be responsible for increasing the chances of Bipolar needs to be studied in detail.

It was necessary, therefore, to investigate the brain images of high-risk individuals (one with BD in family) to determine the probability of their ADHD to turn in to the more complicated bipolar disorder.

The same project also aims to study the lack of Omega-3 acids among ADHD affected individuals affects the prescribed psychostimulant differently.

Results from studies like these will significantly help the doctors prescribing and treating children with ADHD, by helping them to recognise high-risk individuals whose medication and conditions need close monitoring.

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