ADHD News & Research

Review: ADHD Three Times More Common in People with Mood Disorders

Individuals with mood disorders are at a significant risk for ADHD, according to a new meta-analysis. ADHD was also found to be 1.7 times more common in patients with bipolar disorder (BP) compared to those with major depressive disorder (MDD).

February 9, 2021

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) is three times more common in people with mood disorders compared to those without, according to a meta-analysis published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.1 ADHD was also found to be 1.7 times more common in patients with bipolar disorder (BP) compared to those with major depressive disorder (MDD). Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that is characterized by extreme mood swings, abrupt changes in energy levels, and distorted decision making. Major depressive disorder is a serious condition that’s symptoms interfere with all aspects of life, such as sleep, work, school, and eating.

A systematic review was conducted on 92 studies including 17,089 individuals. The studies came from PsycInfo and PubMed, published before September 21, 2020. Random‐effect meta‐analyses were used to gauge the prevalence of ADHD by developmental period and disorder.

Researchers found prevalence of ADHD in individuals with BP was 73% (95% CI 66‐79) in childhood, 43% (95% CI 35‐50) in adolescence, and 17% (95% CI 14‐20) in adulthood. Researchers used 52 studies including 16,897 individuals to demonstrate that the prevalence of ADHD in individuals with MDD was 28% (95% CI 19‐39) in childhood, 17% (95% CI 12‐24) in adolescence, and 7% (95% CI 4‐11) in adulthood.

The significant risk for ADHD among individuals with mood disorders led researchers to conclude that individuals with BP and MDD should be routinely assessed for ADHD, which may require the development of additional comprehensive assessment strategies to aide diagnosing ADHD alongside mood disorders.

Sources

1Sandstrom, Andrea, et al. Prevalence of attention‐deficit/hyperactivity disorder in people with mood disorders: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica (Feb. 2021) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acps.13283

Updated on July 9, 2021

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