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Dr. J
Dr. J, Psychiatrist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 8
Experience:  Board certified practicing psychiatrist, trained at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
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Hi, My daughter is bipolar (diagnosed 6 years ago, at the

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Hi,
My daughter is bipolar (diagnosed 6 years ago, at the age of 20, following her second psychotic episode.) She has coped well on lithium therapy since then, with no further episodes. She tends to get a bit down, and suffers from inappropriate low self-esteem, but has recently been prescribed a small dose of Prozac which has been effective in lifting her mood slightly.

Her psychologist has recently formed the opinion that she is ADD(since she was a small child, despite being very bright, she has struggled greatly to concentate and to focus on tasks and has never reached her true potential.)

Is a link between ADD and bipolar common and would medication for ADD be an effective therapy, in addition to her current medication.
Thank you
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Dr. J :

There is not a direct link between the two that I know of. If she has bipolar disorder, it can be difficult for these people to focus and concentrate if they are in a manic or hypomanic episode, as well as in a depressive episode. Thus, her focus and concentration problems could be secondary to her bipolor disorder or she could have ADD as well. Has she ever been formally tested for ADD? The treatment for ADD is stimulants, which help improve focus and concentration. It is important to realize if you give a stimulant to anyone their focus and concentration will improve, but people with ADD tend to improve more dramatically. When a stimulant is given to someone with bipolar disorder, there is a risk, similar to the risk when you give them an anti-depressant like Prozac, that it can exacerbate an manic or hypomanic episode. Consequently, you want to go slow in increasing the dose of the stimulant, and watch for these potential side effects.

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