When ADHD is the Wrong Diagnosis 

Does the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder not feel right? Think something more significant is going on? Having trouble getting answers or getting doctors to listen to you? You’ve come to the right place. 


Kids with bipolar are very often misdiagnosed with ADHD.  Parents know when the diagnosis doesn’t really fit, but it can be hard to get providers to listen. The symptoms and behaviors kids with bipolar have get misunderstood because most providers haven’t been trained in how bipolar shows up in kids. They mistake mania and hypomania for the hyperactivity and distractibility of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.


This can have significant consequences. When kids with bipolar are given ADHD stimulant medications like Ritalin and Adderall it can make bipolar disorder symptoms worse.


Sometimes, at really low doses, those medications might seem like they’re helping a little. But when they’re increased kids can have their sleep disrupted, have manic episodes, or become physically and verbally aggressive.


“It was very frustrating because I was being told it was ADHD and, you know, I thought this can’t be.

I thought, she can’t have ADHD because how she’s reacting to a stimulant is not how a child with ADHD reacts

to a stimulant. It calms those kids down, it doesn’t speed them up like it did my daughter.”

-Parent of a child with bipolar disorder


When this happens, the problem medications are usually increased because providers think kids aren’t getting enough medicine. They may also add new meds like anti-psychotics which can cause weight gain, sexual problems, and increased risk of diabetes. But the real problem is that they’re treating ADHD when the child actually has bipolar.


It’s hard to try to explain to a doctor that you don’t think your child has ADHD.

It’s hard to get them to listen when you tell them you think there’s something else going on.


We know how exhausting this process can be. It takes an average of 10 years for parents to get an accurate diagnosis for their child, which is just too darn long! It makes parents feel like there’s no hope that things will ever get better.

But it can get better, and it will.


You’re not alone on this journey and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Our staff can help you figure out what your options are, explain industry terms, provide resources and support, and advocate for you child right alongside you. 

You’re not alone. 

We’re here to help. 


For more information, schedule a free consultation and take the symptom survey. Let us help you find the answers and solutions you and your child deserve.