Other conditions with symptoms similar to child and teen bipolar disorder

Several conditions have symptoms similar to bipolar disorder in children and teens. At first, symptoms may be so similar that your child can be misdiagnosed with another condition when, in fact, your child has bipolar disorder. But bipolar disorder is a condition with distinct features that a doctor can separately diagnose with a proper evaluation.

Disorders that might at first have symptoms similar to child and teen bipolar disorder include:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) , a behavioral condition in which people have trouble paying attention, may be more active than normal, and tend to act without thinking.
  • Conduct disorder , a child or teen disorder that involves defiant behavior, such as violating social rules or hurting other people.
  • Substance abuse problems , repeated use of alcohol or drugs even though this use causes unpleasant or distressing events in the user's life.
  • Depression , an illness that causes a person to feel sad and hopeless for much of the time.
  • Schizophrenia , a severe brain illness that, without treatment, interferes with the ability to think clearly, manage emotions, and interact with other people. It causes symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and disorganized thinking.
  • Anxiety disorders , a type of mental illness that includes severe anxiety that interferes with a person's life.
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), which can sometimes cause symptoms of mania (such as excitability or being overly energetic).
  • Neurological problems. These conditions can include:
    • Head injuries, which can have effects that last weeks, months or in some cases, a lifetime.
    • Pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), a group of disorders characterized by delays in the development of social and communication skills. Examples include autism, Rett's disorder, and Asperger's syndrome.
    • Multiple sclerosis, a chronic neurological disease of the central nervous system, specifically involving the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves.
    • Stroke. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel (artery) that supplies blood to the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot.
    • Seizure disorders. Seizures are sudden bursts of abnormal electrical activity in the brain that may affect a person's muscle control, movement, speech, vision, or awareness (consciousness).

ADHD, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and conduct disorder may also occur along with bipolar disorder.

Last Updated: May 8, 2009

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.