Sound like a brain with attention difficulties to you? But this time something different seems to be going on, more like a state of high arousal rather than low. Perhaps a stimulant may boot up the brain’s executive function to help bring order to the chaos. Or perhaps a stimulant may worsen the chaos, add oil to the fire. It’s a crap-shoot. Who knows?
In my research for this series, I came across no shortage of hard data and expert commentary for ADD and likewise for bipolar. For instance, when I did a PubMed search for “bipolar treatment,” 26,713 article titles popped up. For “ADHD treatment,” the tally was 10,626.
But when I searched for “comorbid bipolar ADHD treatment,” the yield was a piddling 124, most of them false positives. What this is telling me is despite the fact that nearly one in five with bipolar also experience ADD, despite the fact that attentional difficulties of some sort are endemic throughout the entire population, and despite the fact that current research has opened up the relatively new field of cognitive deficits in bipolar disorder, precious few are bothering to investigate the obvious overlap between bipolar and ADD.
So, there you are - your morning coffee has just failed you. Now what?
For the ADD side of the equation in this series of posts, I am relying very heavily on my friend Gina Pera’s highly original book, “Is It You or Me or Adult ADD?” Please check out her exceptionally provocative and riveting blog, ADHD Roller Coaster.
I am also working off of Eileen Bailey and Donald Haupt’s very informative and straightforward “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD.” Eileen is a fellow Health Guide here at HealthCentral, with extremely useful posts on ADHD.
For the bipolar side of the equation, I am largely connecting my own dots based on my research into how the brain processes information, focuses attention, modulates impulses, and responds to dopamine. I am also guided by the comments of my readers in response to a recent Question of the Week.