ADHD in adults with major depressive or bipolar disorder: does it affect clinical features, comorbidity, quality of life, and global functioning?

BMC Psychiatry volume 22, Article number: 707 (2022)Cite this article



This study compared clinical characteristics, concurrent disorders, level of function, and quality of life in adults with bipolar (BD) or major depressive disorder (MDD) in those with/without adult attention defici1t hyperactivity disorder (AADHD).


The participants were recruited among adult inpatients and outpatients with MDD or BD in their current partial remission in a psychiatric hospital. They were evaluated using the interview for adults with ADHD (DIVA-5), Conners’ Adult ADHD Rating Scales–Self-Report-Screening Version (CAARS-SR-SV), Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-V (SCID-5), Beck Depression Inventory-II and Young Mania Rating Scale, Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) and World Health Organization Quality of Life Scale-Brief (WHOQoL-BREF).


In those with MDD (n = 105) and BD (n = 103), AADHD was detected as 13.3% and 16.5%, respectively. The inattentive presentation was the most prevalent type among patients with AADHD. Compared to the patients without AADHD, the results regarding the prevalence of comorbidities, suicidal attempts, severity of affective episodes, the early emergence of the affective disorders, and level of quality of life and global functioning were poorer in the group with AADHD (p < 0.05).


The participants were individuals with major depressive or bipolar type I disorder with a mostly manic episode, chosen among the referrals to a tertiary psychiatric hospital with high comorbidity and more severe psychopathology. This may limit the generalizability of the findings.


ADHD was common in adults with MDD and BD, along with high psychiatric comorbidity and negative consequences. Clinicians are suggested to screen adults with mood disorders for the symptoms of ADHD for a more precise and comprehensive diagnosis and to provide a more appropriate therapeutic intervention.

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