AD/HD and Bipolar Disorder in Youth: comorbidity and differential diagnosis.

Project Details


The FACE-Bipolar multi-site study: prevalence and clinical implications of juvenile Bipolar Disorder. Prof. Dr. Smadar Celestin-Westreich, Ph.D., Dr. Leon-Patrice Celestin, M.D.

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BACKGROUND and AIMS: Juvenile Bipolar Disorder (BPD) has become increasingly recognized in recent years. Yet adequate juvenile BPD identification remains complicated by its developmental specificities along with important comorbidity including ADHD. Effective recognition has especially been hampered by a lack of systematic and adequate screening for bipolarity in youth. Also, European data about juvenile Bipolar Disorder remain relatively limited to date. In the context of the multisite FACE-program (for: 'Facilitating Adjustment of Cognitions and Emotions'), data are presented regarding the prevalence of juvenile Bipolar Disorder and the clinical implications hereof. METHOD: In the context of an ongoing collaborative research on the FACE© program in Belgium and France, youth referrals targeted for ADHD-like and/or affective symptoms are systematically screened for Bipolar Disorder. The study protocol comprises extensive medical and psychological assessment with multimodal data including K-SADS, C-GAS, Achenbach reports, WISC, neuropsychological testing and semi-structured youth and parent developmental psychopathology protocols. RESULTS: Overall, pooled estimate of juvenile Bipolar Disorder prevalence is found to amount to 14% of 136 targeted referrals over a six month period. Identified Bipolar youth are aged 6 to 13 (mean=8,9), 74% boys, with a Total IQ range 88-126 (mean=100,3) and displaying principally comorbid DSM-IV ODD and ADHD. Thus, subsample data from a Special Education Service for children with emotional and behavioural problems (N=26) indicate that, after systematic screening for juvenile BPD, manifest Bipolar diagnoses are established for three youth (12%) and strong bipolar spectrum indicators for six youth (23%, 1 girl). Comorbidities include mainly ODD and ADHD, as well as Attachment Disorder. Moreover, the identified BPD youth present with significant risk factors compared to non-BPD children (?
Effective start/end date1/01/0531/12/05

Flemish discipline codes

  • Psychology and cognitive sciences


  • psychology