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bipolar as a kid?

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Hey all

my doc suggested to me today about the possibility of me having ADHD as well... and i know that bipolar in kids often looks like ADHD.

I feel like now, my symptoms are way better explained by bipolar diagnosis... however, does anyone here have ADHD too? what is it like?

and, has anyone here had bipolar since they were a kid? Looking back at the symptoms - I can see them as early as 6, and it makes sense, that i have rapid cycling bipolar, that i am struggling with mixed states, apparently thats linked?

Thing is, i remember feeling agitated and stuff, but its all quite vague. A lot of my childhood i guess wasnt too enjoyable, i just dont remember it.

I talked to my mum about this briefly - she said that ADHD was suggested when i was a child. I often had lots of energy and didnt sleep, talked too much, was irritable, and then also had times where i complained a lot, especially about headaches, and feeling sick. I think that maybe that was depression showing up differently?

I also used to wet the bed as a kid... ;) and i only discovered just then that i was given Ritalin for a while - i have no recollection of that whatsoever! apparently it didnt help the bedwetting and my mum took me off it because she doesnt like meds. i dont think i was on it very long.

So - this has brought up some interesting questions for me to think about. I'm not sure how much it helps to know that i was a little crazy as a kid as well. It would explain a lot, But im not sure. when my mum found out about my bipolar dx, she said, yeah, well looking back i could see signs when you were quite young. at the time i thought...yeh right. but now im thinking....and it seems more possible.

has anyone got any experience with this? and... do you think it has any impact on how im being treated now? My doc suggested trying a stimulant to see what happens, but i'd want to be more clear on things first, i think i would be *very* manic with a stimulant if i wasnt an ADHD type!!

my doc thought i'd probably be more the inattentive type, but i looked it up and match most of the criteria for hyperactive - i just wasnt naughty at school. i guess i never considered it!!

your thoughts?

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I'm interested in hearing the replies... my son has been dx'd as add (he's 8), but I'm worrying that it's BP, not add. He has an appt soon, to check on the effectiveness of his med (generic dexedrine), and that's something I'm going to bring up. Looking back, I now see signs of BP in my own life that started at around 10. Never dx'd at that time, tho, I just went on a wild rollercoaster for decades, and it's a miracle I'm still alive.

It's sad that hindsight is 20/20.

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Well, I for one know that I was different than everyone else growing up. My Mom tells me that she can look back and see the signs too (duh). So yes I think I was BORN this way!!

My son was dx ADHD and they put him on ritalin, straterra, concerta, focalin, etc all sent him MANIC, they said oops! take him to a pdoc. Current dx Bipolar and adhd--what a shock (sarcastic I know).

They are treating the BP first and will treat what remains for adhd when he is stable.

Best of luck to you


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Well i've been having a look at the umm....signs and symptoms of bipolar in kids.. and also ADHD.

Manic symptoms -

increased energy

very irritable or very silly

decreased need for sleep

talks too much, too fast, changes topic, cant be interrupted

physical agitation. fidgeting. cant sit still

defiance of authority

bed wetting and night terrors

strong and frequent cravings for carbohydrates - sugar.

excessive involvement in multiple projects

Depressive symptoms


physical agitation

feelings of worthlessness and guilt

frequent complaints of headaches, stomachaches, sickness, tiredness

talk about running away from home


very sensitive to rejection or failure.

on the other hand....


hyperactive type

- fidgets, squirms, cant sit still

- difficultly playing quietly

- always 'on the go'

- talks excessively

- blurts our answers before questions finished

- has trouble waiting one's turn

- frequently interrupts others

So - those arent all the symptoms of either, just the ones that fit me. personally, considering that i have bipolar now - i feel that its more likely that i had bipolar as a kid - more of those symptoms seem to fit. I'm not quite sure whether its helpful to know this, but im quite interested.

ive always felt that i have some unexplained 'thing' that caused me to be unhappy. i always said i was happy but something was 'not quite right' and when i got to 13ish, i said that, a few times. Thats when the suicidal ideation started, that was when i really was full on depressed. then i think i progressively got worse - rapid cycling makes it hard to pin down how bad things were, i just dont remember. but, i think from having the 'kid symptoms' to being depressed, to hypomanic, to depressed, to mixed - it seems more logical than this just popping out of nowhere? although i suspect high stress around the age of 14 probably really set this off, might not have been so bad without that trigger.

and after all this, im still not sure how its actually helpful to know this stuff!!

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They can look very similar. It has been suggested that higher subscale scores in the Attention Problems, Aggressive Behaviour and Anxious/Depressed of the Child Behavioral Check List (CBCL) is suggestive of pediatric BD.

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When I was a kid I was a bed wetter too, I saw a psych for many years, tried to kill my brother on more than one occasion, and was on the edge diagnosis of ADD/ADHD.

I saw a psych for several years, I didn't take any meds... I remember how boring it was and found out that if I tell my psych what he wants to hear then I got out of there early... This led to me not having to go to the psych any longer.

I've not formally been diagnosed as bipolar yet, I think I may at my next interview with my psych. I've always been called ADHD, my Mum took me off gluten, sugar, so many different diets trying to work out if I was hyper and what caused it.

It's only in recent interviews with my psych when I've realised I go up and down quite a lot, I thought this was normal... In my high times I start new businesses, companies, make them successful. I create new things, get recognition, it's just awesome. However this is only about 10% of my life...

In my down times I sleep, I can't get out of bed, when I do get out of bed I self-medicate, take codeine, drink, I'm very withdrawn, my anxiety kicks in, I can't use the phone and I find it difficult to even check my mail.

So ADHD, bipolar... I think it's difficult to distinguish at times. As a kid when I felt withdrawn I played with my computer, this led me to become really great at what I do, which led into career opportunities but in the end whatever I have bit me in the arse.

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As a young child I was concidered "very high strung" during grade school I was depressed, got shitty grades and stayed out sick alot, by 6th grade I attempted suicide, that's when counseling began and continued into high school. But in high school I was an A B student, that was after my mother tried to commit suicide with a gun, I still managed to graduate 6 months early, I worked all thru high school as well. I then went to nursing school graduated 1yr. early. Went on to work in my chosen proffession and did very well (with taking time off to have my babies) I bounced back and forth with mania and depression. I was finnally diagnosed with BP1 when I was 35 and have been on the medication roller coaster since. My pdoc said I was born with it. My mother, her sister and 3 cousins all were MI and an uncle on my Dad's side, so I was doomed from the start. My best and closest friend hung himself in Oct. 2007, I continue to become more depressed since so now my pdoc wants to start another AD. I am still not convinced I want to start yet another drug. I am 52 now and the games keep on rolling.

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I definatly think I have had Bipolar all along. I have a family history so it is not surprising. My son is 6 and will most likely be DX with early onset bipolar as well. It should be no surprise since he is my mini me. At least he will have some one who can relate. I'm just waiting for school to let out before we start any kind of medication. Meds have not been easy for me, so I hope they are better for him. There are some meds I don't think I would even want him to be on.

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