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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:
|Symptoms of bipolar disorder||Symptoms 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 The child may be withdrawn or irritable one moment and extremely happy or giddy the next.||The child's moods can change quickly but are not extreme.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.|
|Primary Medical Reviewer||John Pope, MD - Pediatrics|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||David A. Axelson, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry|
|Last Revised||April 10, 2013|
Last Revised: April 10, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
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