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J Affect Disord. 2012 Dec 15;142(1-3):241-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.04.034. Epub 2012 Jul 26.

The impact of cyclothymic temperament in adult ADHD.

Author information

1
Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway. elisabeth.landaas@biomed.uib.no

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder in children and adults. Many ADHD patients experience affective symptoms that resemble the cyclothymic temperament trait, which is suggested to be a part of the bipolar spectrum. However, the relationship between adult ADHD and cyclothymic temperament has never been systematically studied.

METHODS:

A sample of 586 clinically diagnosed Norwegian adult ADHD patients and 721 population derived controls responded to the 21-item cyclothymic subscale of the Temperament Evaluation of Memphis, Pisa, Paris and San Diego auto-questionnaire (TEMPS-A). Self-reported data on psychiatric symptoms, comorbidity, educational and occupational level, and known comorbidity in family members, including bipolar disorder, was also obtained.

RESULTS:

The mean TEMPS-A scores were 13.0 for patients and 4.6 for controls (p<0.001), and 71% of the patients compared to 13% of the controls were classified as having a cyclothymic temperament (TEMPS score ≥11 points). Among ADHD patients, cyclothymic temperament was strongly associated with more childhood and adult ADHD symptoms, lower educational and occupational achievements and increased psychiatric comorbidity, including bipolar disorder (10%). In addition, 49% screened positive on the Mood Disorder Questionnaire.

LIMITATIONS:

Although the cyclothymic TEMPS-A scale has been used in clinical settings in Norway for many years, it has not yet been officially validated.

CONCLUSIONS:

Cyclothymic temperament is highly prevalent in adults with ADHD, and this characterises a subgroup of more psychiatrically impaired individuals, possibly reflecting an underlying affective instability with a pathophysiology closer to the bipolar spectrum disorders.

PMID:
22840630
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2012.04.034
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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