Question: What medical conditions can be confused with bipolar disorder, and are these different in chidren/adolescents, adults and elderly people?
Answer: The medical conditions that can produce symptoms that might be mistaken for bipolar disorder, are -- it's an extremely long list.
So, things such as seizure disorders would be common, potential for brain tumors, for infectious diseases and things like meningitis or encephalitis.
Sometimes people with impending strokes and what are called cerebrovascular accidents, or CVAs, can mimic bipolar disorder.
Certainly substance-induced causes, so people who are using drugs or alcohol in excessive amounts can also mimic bipolar disorder. That's true for children, adolescents and adults.
The elderly population presents a unique challenge, in that sometimes, some of the symptoms that go along with some of the dementias, again -- some of the more common medical issues such as strokes and seizure disorder -- can also present in that age group as well.