The main symptoms of ADHD include inattention, distractibility, and impulsivity. In most cases of adult ADHD, these symptoms are present in childhood but don’t become problematic until adulthood. ADHD affects 4.4% of adults.
How common is bipolar disorder in women with adult ADHD?
The lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder in women with ADHD is 10%. This is three times the prevalence in women without ADHD and about the same rate as that in men with adult ADHD. Other sources have given prevalence rates of 30% for bipolar in adult ADHD women.
Interestingly, about 30% of patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder have adult ADHD.
Patients who may have ADHD should always be screened for bipolar disorder for two important reasons. There is a risk of triggering a manic episode in a bipolar patient starting Ritalin when not taking stabilizing medication for their bipolar disorder. Also, if the patient is having manic symptoms of their bipolar disorder, they may appear to have ADHD because of their hyperactivity, rapid speech, impulsiveness, inattention, and distractibility. ADHD-like symptoms may disappear if their manic episode is treated with a mood stabilizer.
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