Dealing with ADD and ADHD Symptoms: The Bipolar Question of the Week
I need your help. Over the months and years, I have written extensively on the overlap between bipolar and other illnesses and conditions, typically as a series of articles. Right now, I am six pieces into the connection between past trauma and bipolar. Before that it was bipolar and schizophrenia, bipolar and alcohol/drug use, bipolar and stress, bipolar and personality issues. I know I’m leaving a few out.
My next project is bipolar and ADD, which is long overdue. Always, in the course of a series, I rely on you, the real experts. My pattern is to get the conversation going with a first article, then let your comments guide me as to what to write next.
This time there is a catch: I will be leaving on a three-week road trip at the end of July. I will be off the grid, camping out and doing stuff I’ve long been looking forward to. This means writing three ADD pieces in advance, without the benefit of your comments. But I can still get your input, only this time it needs to be front-loaded. This week’s Question of the Week is a series of questions. Feel free to answer as many or as few as you like:
- Do you have a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD in addition to bipolar? Which condition gives you the most trouble? What aspect of your ADD is the most difficult to manage? Is it difficult for you to separate your bipolar behavior from your ADD behavior?
- Whether you have an ADD diagnosis or not, do you have problems focusing your attention or trouble concentrating or controlling your impulses or being too active for your own good? Is it difficult for you to separate out your bipolar behavior from your ADD or ADD-like behavior?
- Can ADD trigger your bipolar? Can bipolar make your ADD more difficult to manage?
- How has ADD impacted your life? Failed relationships? Education interrupted? Career scuttled? Financial, legal troubles? Psychiatric crisis?
- Are there any advantages to having ADD? (Such as thinking outside the box?)
- How difficult was it getting the correct diagnosis - for either the ADD or the bipolar?
- What insights from your lived experience do you feel others need to know?
- How do ADD-meds work for you? Is there a mania risk we need to know about?
- How does talking therapy work for you?
- What lifestyle choices and "bag of tricks" do you rely on to get you through the day. (I would be interested to know if mindfulness works or not.)
- Do you feel that controlling the ADD better helps you manage the bipolar? Or is it the other way around for you?
- If you are a loved one: How do you cope living with someone with ADD? How do you help your loved one manage his or her ADD? What have been your frustrations in living with someone with ADD? Any rewards?
Please feel free to comment on anything I may have left out. Comments below …
John is an author and advocate for Mental Health. He wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Depression and Bipolar Disorder.