Delineating ADHD and bipolar disorder: A comparison of clinical profiles in adult women

Glenn L. Kitsune, Jonna Kuntsi, Helen Costello, Sophia Frangou, Georgina M. Hosang, Gráinne McLoughlin, Philip Asherson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
335 Downloads (Pure)


Objective Overlapping symptoms can make the diagnostic differentiation of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder (BD) challenging in adults using current clinical assessments. This study sought to determine if current clinical measures delineate ADHD from BD in adults, comparing relative levels of ADHD, BD and emotional lability (EL) symptoms. Methods Sixty adult women with ADHD, BD or controls were compared on self-report and interview measures for ADHD symptoms, mania, depression, EL, and impairment. Results ADHD interview measures and self-ratings of ADHD symptoms best discriminated between ADHD and BD. Self-report measures of EL and depression showed non-specific enhancement in both clinical groups. BD-specific items may distinguish BD from ADHD if a retrospective time-frame is adopted. Conclusions Using measures which capture specific symptoms of ADHD and chronicity/episodicity of symptoms facilitates the delineation of ADHD from BD in adult women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-133
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Early online date23 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Adults
  • Attention/deficit Hyperactivity-disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Diagnostic errors
  • Mood disorders


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