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BD and ADHD share a lot of similar symptoms such as comorbidities, age of onset, chronic, enduring course of illness with interference of vocational, educational, and developmental milestones. There is immense challenge when it comes to differentiating these disorders due to significant overlap and variable courses of psychopathology in children. Providers need to be aware of the medications that are beneficial for each condition separately and which medications can benefit both conditions. Mood stabilizers are commonly used in bipolar disorder while stimulants are a common treatment for ADHD. A literature review was performed using search databases such as PubMed to answer the question of whether mood stabilizers, stimulants, or the combination of the two would have the most positive effect on these two disorders in children. A total of 14 articles fit the criteria for this literature review. The diversity of pharmacological interventions, including mood stabilizers like lithium and divalproex sodium, and atypical antipsychotics such as aripiprazole and risperidone, underscores the complexity of managing this population. The reviewed literature suggests that stimulant medications, such as lisdexamfetamine dimesylate and mixed amphetamine salts, may contribute to an improved quality of life for individuals with comorbid ADHD and BD. This literature review determined that children with BD and comorbid ADHD respond well and show improvement in ADHD symptoms when treated with polypharmacy of a mood stabilizer and a stimulant, with the suggestion that the mood stabilizer be started first before adding the stimulant.


Physician Assistant Studies

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

Date of Work


Publication Date

Spring 2024


attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity, ADHD, bipolar disorder, central nervous system stimulants, antipsychotic agents, anticonvulsants, and piperazines


Medicine and Health Sciences

Mood Stabilizers vs Stimulants for the Management of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Comorbidity Bipolar Disorder