For those of you not familiar with bipolar disorder, it’s a mood disorder once known as “manic depression.” Persons with bipolar disorder alternate between a frenzied state known as mania and episodes of depression. While some individuals experience only the manic episodes, many affected individuals rapidly alternate between these two states and experience great irritability.
As with other psychiatric disorders, studies suggest that bipolar disorder may be relatively common among children and adults with autism. Some studies have found that as many as 27 percent of those with autism also have symptoms of bipolar disorder. By contrast, its prevalence in the general population is around 4 percent.
However, we believe that bipolar disorder is mistakenly over-diagnosed in those with autism. In part this is because some of their symptoms can overlap.