boredkidcrpdA recent study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics states that in the past 10 years Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) increased 24% in California. In 2001, 2.5% of children ages 5-11 were diagnosed with ADHD, and by 2010 the number increased to 3.1%.

Now, are we over diagnosing or misdiagnosing a mental illness that might actually be something else?

Psychiatrically speaking, Bipolar II does not have a main stream pulse in our culture, whereas ADAH is more known and a buzz word used to describe a mental illness.  

If you think your child has ADHD, you might want to consider the chance your child might be Bipolar II.  When I was a child I was hyperactive due to an underlying hypomanic condition.  I started to diagnose myself in college.  I knew something was wrong and didn’t have a name for it.  My peers, (who like most) were only familiar with the term ADHD, would make jokes here and there on my exuberant endless energy, and even suggested trying Ritalin.  Due to the prevalent access to medications, I was able to get my hands on it.  I used it a few times while studying for finals and yes, it made me sit down for longer periods of time, but, it didn’t curb other symptoms of Chronic Hypo Mania which at the time I knew nothing about.

After trying Ritalin for only a handful of times, I stopped taking it.  I continued to suffer from symptoms associated with Bipolar II but, once again, had little education or expose to that form of manic depression.  It wasn’t until years later when I finally entered treatment at 28 years old that I discovered a name for my condition:  Chronic Hypo Mania aka Bipolar II.

I remember when my psychiatrist diagnosed me and felt like I suffered years from a disease that could have been managed earlier on in life.

If you, or your child, have been diagnosed with ADHD, he or she might actually be Bipolar II.  I strongly recommend you do research on this disease and ignore falling into the trap of buzz words that are go-to reasons to medicate a child.  Your child might be wrongfully medicated, and misdiagnosed, thus, as a result, spend years treating the wrong disease, and end up like me in their late twenties, finally having answers to a less known condition. 

ADHD diagnoses increased in California from 2.5% to 3.1%.  I am willing to bet Bipolar II is in the mix but, like I said, we have little knowledge, education and conversation on this form of  manic depression, so, as a result, end up with children walking around with the wrong meds, the wrong diagnoses,  and the wrong treatment.

Educate yourself.  Bipolar II might not be a common term at parent teacher conferences, but it is a real disease, and it is not ADHD, and everyone should know the difference.

Bored kid photo available from Shutterstock