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Prevalence of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

  • Amani Hassan (a1), Sharifah Shameem Agha (a1), Kate Langley (a2) and Anita Thapar (a2)
Abstract
Background

Some research suggests that children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a higher than expected risk of bipolar affective disorder. No study has examined the prevalence of bipolar disorder in a UK sample of children with ADHD.

Aims

To examine the prevalence of bipolar disorder in children diagnosed with ADHD or hyperkinetic disorder.

Method

Psychopathology symptoms and diagnoses of bipolar disorder were assessed in 200 young people with ADHD (170 male, 30 female; age 6–18 years, mean 11.15, s.d. = 2.95). Rates of current bipolar disorder symptoms and diagnoses are reported. A family history of bipolar disorder in parents and siblings was also recorded.

Results

Only one child, a 9-year-old boy, met diagnostic criteria for both ICD–10 hypomania and DSM–IV bipolar disorder not otherwise specified.

Conclusions

In a UK sample of children with ADHD a current diagnosis of bipolar disorder was uncommon.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Professor Anita Thapar, MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics, Department of Psychological Medicine and Neurology, 4th Floor Main Building, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK. E-mail: thapar@cardiff.ac.uk
Footnotes
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See pp. 171–172, this issue.

The study was supported by a grant from the Wellcome Trust on the genetics of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder to A.T., M. O'Donovan, M. Owen, P. Holmans, M.B.M. van den Bree (Cardiff University) and L. Kent (St Andrew's University).

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Prevalence of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

  • Amani Hassan (a1), Sharifah Shameem Agha (a1), Kate Langley (a2) and Anita Thapar (a2)
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eLetters

Bipolar disorder in children and adolescents with ADHD

M.S. Bhatia, Professor & Head, Psychiatry
15 July 2011

This study by Hassan and colleagues is a well planned systematic preliminary study of prevalence of MOOD disorder among children and adolescents with ADHD. However it could have been further improved, firstly by taking a larger sample as the prevalence of bipolar disorder or hypomania is low in these children as found in the present study (0.5%); secondly,the mean age of sample was low i.e. only 11 years; thirdly, the sample contained predominantly the males (85%); fourthly the detailed description of some comorbid disorders not provided e.g. tic disorder (10%) and conduct disorder (in 14.5%). The study reveals certain important findings i.e. the children and adolescents with ADHD should be properly screened for mood disorder when there is family history of mood disorder especially major depressive disorder and future studies should include larger samples of children and adolescents from different age groups. ... More

Conflict of interest: None Declared

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