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Neuropsychological assessment in differential diagnosis between bipolar disorder and adhd in adults

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Σοφία Χ. Τζιράκη
Σοφία Χ. Τζιράκη

Abstract


The clinical phenomenologic similarities between residual Attention Deficit-
Hyperactivity Disorder in adults (ADHDa) and Bipolar Disorder (BD) often create
difficulties in distinguishing them during diagnosis. The two disorders do not benefit from the same medication; therefore, limiting a possible diagnostic error is of particular importance for the therapeutic intervention too. The present paper, based on research and bibliographic observations according to which the two entities present certain specific neuropsychological (NP) characteristics that are involved in the functional and psychosocial deficits of the patients, aims to outline the possibilities of employing the neuropsychological assessment (NPA) in the clinical procedure of differential diagnosis. The main conclusion drawn from this critical review is that, despite the difficulty in identifying and quantifying clear differential neurocognitive criteria through research and, thus, in standardizing characteristic NP models that could contribute to the clinical distinction of the two disorders, the NP examination as a detailed analysis, understanding and description of the cognitive problems, can indeed be of use in differential diagnosis of ADHDa and BD, yet individually and always as part of a thorough interdisciplinary clinical evaluation.

Keywords


adult ADHD; bipolar disorder; neuropsychological profile; neuropsychological deficits; differential diagnosis

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