I’ve had ADD since I was very young and in school. But in the 60’s ADD was not diagnosed disease. I went through life struggling and not being able to succeed in anything – especially work.
I’ve been confused over the last four years on whether or not the Bipolar is actually the ADD since bipolar medications were not working. One doctor would say I had bipolar the other would ask if I thought I had bipolar. I DON’T KNOW THAT’S YOUR JOB! All the medications were doing were just medicating me, and making me feel sick all the time. Because of my Hepatitis C the only medication I could take at the time was Lithium. I was told it didn’t affect the liver, but it did affect the kidney’s. The last doctor said I wasn’t taking enough Lithium to do any good but enough to harm me. He said, ‘You have a dead brain. Nice thing to say, huh? So why am I on medicine that’s not helping. I don’t feel doctors have gone in great lengths to diagnose what I have or had.
I’m convinced after two weeks of being off Bipolar medications and feeling better than I have ever had – Bipolar was not the correct diagnoses. I’m mad yet at peace in a way. I did some research on Bipolar vs. ADHD and found they are similar but not the same –
1. Age of onset: ADHD is a lifelong condition, with symptoms apparent (although not necessarily impairing) by age seven. While we now recognize that children can develop BMD, this is still considered rare. The majority of people who develop BMD have their first episode of affective illness after age 18, with a mean age of 26 years at diagnosis.
3. Mood triggers: People with ADHD are passionate, and have strong emotional reactions to events, or triggers, in their lives. Happy events result in intensely happy, excited moods. Unhappy events — especially the experience of being rejected, criticized, or teased — elicit intensely sad feelings. With BMD, mood shifts come and go without any connection to life events.
4. Rapidity of mood shift: Because ADHD mood shifts are almost always triggered by life events, the shifts feel instantaneous. They are normal moods in every way, except in their intensity. They’re often called “crashes” or “snaps,” because of the sudden onset. By contrast, the untriggered mood shifts of BMD take hours or days to move from one state to another.
5. Duration of moods: Although responses to severe losses and rejections may last weeks, ADHD mood shifts are usually measured in hours. The mood shifts of BMD, by DSM-IV definition, must be sustained for at least two weeks. For instance, to present “rapid-cycling” bipolar disorder, a person needs to experience only four shifts of mood, from high to low or low to high, in a 12-month period. Many people with ADHD experience that many mood shifts in a single day.
On number 3 – I don’t have mood swings. When the doctor asks me how many times do I cycle I don’t know what to tell him because I don’t know. To me it’s normal reactions. In number 4 “they are normal moods in every way except intensity” is right on.
My mom has ADHD as well as my son and who know who else in my family especially mom’s side. She had to quit school when she was 14 and worked as a waitress most of her life. I finally had to quit work because my mind was just not getting it any more.
Having being diagnosed with Bipolar felt like a death sentence. I lost friends because they had heard bad things about people with bipolar.