difference between bipolar, ADHD, and Aspergers?
Joined: Dec 13, 2008
Joined: Jun 06, 2009
Location: New Bern, North Carolina
Joined: Dec 13, 2008
Joined: Feb 12, 2008
Location: Eastern PA, USA
Sounds like you're going to/are getting a doctor collaboration (guess you could check if you fit in the DSM profiles for all three conditions?). But as you have a mother whose a doctor I'd just ask her. What the person before me posted sounds correct about the difference between the three conditions. But I've noticed by having a friend or two who are bipolar and being an autie myself, I've noticed both bipolar & autistic people can have issues with emotional control (emotional expression issues seem more aspie/autie related).
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Joined: Jun 06, 2009
Location: New Bern, North Carolina
Yeah, they definitely can overlap. but as a whole they are different things. For example, someone with ADHD might seem to have moods that go up and down because of being distracted and going from one thing to another, but that doesn't mean they are bipolar... It's just a natural consequence of attention jumping from one thing to another. If they actually did clearly have periods of mania and depression that is much more than what would normally be caused by inattention and impulsivity though, then they could also be bipolar.
Joined: Aug 02, 2009
Joined: Jan 11, 2009
Location: United States
Bipolar I is when people's moods tend to go from being severely manic for a long period of time, to a period of "normal" mood, to a period of deep depression that lasts for a long time. Bipolar II is when the periods are less defined. Sometimes the depressive & manic states intermingle with one another into "hypo-mania" & "mixed states" etc. Moods tend to be more erratic & less defined in people who have Bipolar II disorder. ADHD is when a person has severe problems paying attention to things along with severe hyper-activity & even anger.
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Joined: Apr 01, 2009
I'm curious about Bipolar II . Never in my life have I been manic but I seem to go in cycles where I feel normal and capable and optimistic and then other times I feel incompetent and drained and depressed and there's no particular life event that triggers either. It's not situation based in other words. Does that sound like Bipolar II?
Joined: Nov 15, 2006
Bipolar I is when a person has a defined manic or mixed episode. Also, if you become psychotic during your high points/mania, you are automatically classified as bipolar I. Not all bipolar I individuals become psychotic, but many do. Mania is commonly thought of as this intense euphoric state, but this is not correct. While the classic form of bipolar I disorder is euphoric manias, some people become predominantly irritable, not euphoric, during mania. Also, even in those with euphoric manias, during full-blown psychotic mania, life is a very scary one filled with paranoia and the inability to slow oneself down.
Bipolar II is classified by major depressive episodes with only hypomania. In hypomania, the symptoms of mania are less severe, and the person never becomes psychotic. Hypomania can still be destructive to a person's life, if the individual engages in risky behaviors during their hypomanic-induced loss of judgment. However, most bipolar II individuals are most affected by the depression. Some don't realize that they're bipolar until they've been treated for depression with an SSRI and are thrust into SSRI-induced hypomania.
Cyclothymia is a very mild form of bipolar disorder where a person continually has mood shifts between dysthymia (very mild depression) and hypomania. Unlike bipolar I and II, the mood states are much shorter, and there is no break for a euthymic (normal) mood in between. Cyclothymics will cycle every 3-4 days between dysthymia and hypomania.
A mixed episode, as mentioned above, only occurs in bipolar I disorder. This is when a person has symptoms of both a major depressive and a manic episode at once. These individuals often describe themselves as feeling "tired but wired." They are restless and filled with energy and ideas from the mania, but they are so lethargic and apathetic from the depression that they can't get anything accomplished. It is interesting to note that many bipolar suicides take place during mixed states.
In children, early manifestations of bipolar disorder often look like ADHD symptoms. While it is very possible to have both ADHD and bipolar disorder, in children (especially those with a strong family history of bipolar disorder), it is very important to closely monitor the child when given stimulants for ADHD treatment. Like SSRIs, stimulants are known to induce hypomania or mania.
If you have any other questions, please let me know. Bipolar disorder is one of my special interests.
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Joined: Apr 01, 2009
Thanks, that cleared it up. It's hard to tell what is actually normal as compared to the general population as I've never experienced it. I had dysthymia since age 2 but was not properly diagnosed and treated until I was 35. Since by that time I was self medicating heavily with alcohol, it wasn't until age 41 when I got sober and stayed sober that I could tell a significant difference. I was surprised when my mother said she thought I was mildly depressed. I guess next to the average person I am. I asked the psychiatrist about it and she said my depression went untreated so long that I probably would never feel really good. Just not looking at life anymore as "when do I get to die" is a major improvement for me, so it's all relative. I've read that untreated depression leaves lesions on the brain. So I guess I'm not cyclothymic, just moody.
Joined: Dec 09, 2009
You could possibly have all three of those psychiatric disorders. So you have been diagnosed with one or two psychiatiric disorders. You have read a few definitions on Wikipedia and done more research. You may as well say that you have all the psychiatric illnesses out there. But do you want to be considered crazy? Huge social stigma associated with psychiatric disorders still exists within community due to widespread ignorance.
Joined: Sep 14, 2009
Location: 200 miles south of Little Rock
That was my diagnosis in 1977, but then the same social worker changed that to "alcoholic" and sent me to A.A. in 1981. A few years later I went back and tried to get more help for what I now know as my AS/HFA, but that man at that time insisted there was nothing else "wrong with me".
I think I have seen that change a bit over the years. Today, it seems almost the norm for people of all types to be taking all sorts of medications for varieties of mental or emotional disorders ... and the "social stigma" I now seem to face is that of refusing all medication and insisting upon "run what you brung". However, yes, and even though AS/HFA is not a psychiatric disorder, overall ignorance is also a big problem there.
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Joined: Apr 26, 2010
I've got a child with all three. He does take meds for the bi-polar, and for him that's a really good thing. He used to take ADHD meds as well but they were making him cycle more, which was really awful for him (and everybody who cares about him). There is no cure for AS but there are therapies to work on behaviors if you feel they are holding you back from what you want. I don't think most AS symptoms are in themselves pathological. My son stims by putting things in his mouth and has gotten a lot of nasty upper GI tract infections doing it, so I guess that's indirectly pathological. If I could cure his Bi-Polar disorder I would, but the AS is just interesting and different.
Joined: Sep 02, 2009
Location: Southeast US
I am diagnosed AS and generalized anxiety. I don't have the mania/depression of Bipolar. I guess all Aspies aren't like this, but I'm extremely flat/monotone/apathetic looking. I don't have moods go up and down and all around like Bipolar. I guess those that have meltdowns/shutdowns could be confused with Bipolar, but I don't experience those currently.
My little brother is ADHD and we are like night and day, but there are Aspies out there that have ADHD/ADD as a comorbid disorder. I have seen several kids just out and about that are definitely AS and their parents have said "they were diagnosed with that ADDD" Anyway...ADHD sometimes has the inattentiveness, but most importantly the hyperactivity and impulsiveness. As an aspie I have some inattentiveness (everyone does to some effect) so I don't think that's enough diagnostic criteria for ADHD. If you make decisions as an Aspie that seem like good decisions but really aren't, I guess those could be seen as impulsiveness...just a thought.
ADHD DSM criteria
Bipolar DSM criteria
DSM Aspergers criteria
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