Bipolar Disorder and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adolescents

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The relationship between bipolar disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents has been one of the most hotly debated topics in recent child psychiatry literature. At the heart of the matter is whether large numbers of children with bipolar disorder are being unrecognized or misdiagnosed. The differential diagnoses of juvenile-onset bipolar disorder can be complicated by many factors, but the most common clinical dilemmas seem to arise from overlapping symptomatology with ADHD and the differing treatment strategies these diagnoses imply. This article discusses the similarities and differences between these disorders with respect to phenomenology, epidemiology, family history, brain imaging, and treatment response.

J Clin Psychiatry 2000;61(suppl 9):31-34