If you are a woman with bipolar disorder, you may have already encountered some of the differences in how the condition affects men and women.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disease, is a condition that causes excessive shifts in mood, energy and activity levels that affect everyday life. BP is believed to be equally common in men and women.
Differences between men and women with bipolar disorder can be seen starting with the process of getting a diagnosis.
Health Magazine reported that women with bipolar disorder have approximately three times the risk of being misdiagnosed as men with BP experience .
This may be due to the confusing combinations of symptoms and typical differences in the way the disease presents in men and women.
The same situation arises when someone has a heart attack. The most common symptoms first reported by women and men don’t always match up.
So a doctor who is looking for typically male symptoms may misdiagnose BP as something else in a female patient.
In general, men with bipolar disorder first present with symptoms of mania. Women more often show symptoms of depression.
Bipolar disorder is generally categorized based on symptoms:
• Bipolar I Disorder is distinguished by manic or mixed episodes lasting at least seven days, or by severe manic symptoms that require hospital care. Depressive episodes typically last at least two weeks.
• Bipolar II Disorder follows a pattern of depressive and hypomanic episodes without full manic or mixed episodes.
• Rapid-cycling Bipolar Disorder is a severe type of bipolar that results in frequent cycling between symptoms including mania, depression, hypomania, or mixed within a given year. Women are more likely than men to have this type of bipolar disorder.
Research reported on the PsychCentral website shows that in a study of men and women with bipolar I disorder, women typically reported more symptoms of depression, while men showed more manic symptoms.