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J Affect Disord. 1998 Nov;51(2):81-91.

Prepubertal and early adolescent bipolarity differentiate from ADHD by manic symptoms, grandiose delusions, ultra-rapid or ultradian cycling.

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Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, 63110, USA.



In contrast to differential diagnosis (ddx) of older adolescent and adult bipolarity (BP), which includes schizophrenia and substance use disorders, the main ddx of prepubertal and early adolescent BP is attention-deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADHD). To address this ddx issue, and to provide prepubertal mania manifestations, interim baseline data are presented from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded study 'Phenomenology and Course of Pediatric Bipolarity'.


Data are from the first 60 BP and the first 60 ADHD cases from 270 consecutively ascertained subjects (90 BP, 90 ADHD and 90 community controls). Comprehensive assessments included the Washington University at St. Louis Kiddie and Young Adult-Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia--Lifetime and Present Episode Version-DSM-IV (WASH-U-KSADS) blindly administered by nurses to mothers about their offspring and to children/adolescents about themselves. Caseness was established by consensus conferences that included diagnostic and impairment data, teacher and school reports, agency records, videotapes and medical charts.


Mean baseline age of BP cases was 11.0+/-2.7 years and the mean age at onset of BP was 8.1+/-3.5 years. Elated mood, grandiosity, hypersexuality, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts and all other mania items except hyperenergetic and distractibility were significantly and substantially more frequent among BP than ADHD cases (e.g., elation: 86.7% BP vs. 5.0% ADHD; grandiosity: 85.0% BP vs. 6.7% ADHD). In the BP group, 55.0% had grandiose delusions, 26.7% had suicidality with plan/intent and 83.3% were rapid, ultra-rapid or ultradian cyclers.


Sites for consecutive case ascertainment from the lowest socioeconomic status classes were unavailable due to current health care policies.


Prepubertal and early adolescent BP cases differentiate from ADHD by mania-specific criteria and commonly present with ultra-rapid or ultradian cycling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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