Bipolar Disorder in Women: What Are the Symptoms?

 

What is bipolar disorder?

Highlights

  1. The characteristics and effects of bipolar disorder can vary greatly between men and women.
  2. Women with bipolar disorder are at an increased risk of onset or relapse due to hormone fluctuations.
  3. With proper medical treatment and symptom management, women with bipolar disorder have a favorable outlook.

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes extreme changes in mood. These mood swings can fluctuate from feelings of euphoria to those of deep sadness. They can impair your ability to function at work and in your personal life.

This disorder affects about 2.8 percent of American adults each year. It occurs at an equal rate in men and women. The characteristics and effects of bipolar disorder can vary greatly between men and women, though. Keep reading for more on how women are affected.

What are the different types of bipolar disorder?

The three main types of bipolar disorder are bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorder. Other types of bipolar can be related to substance or medication use, or to another medical condition.

Bipolar I disorder

Bipolar I diagnosis involves at least one manic or mixed episode lasting at least one week or that causes hospitalization. The episode may have come before or after a hypomanic or depressive episode. However, you can have bipolar I without having a depressive episode. Men and women develop bipolar I disorder in equal numbers.

Bipolar II disorder

Diagnosis of bipolar II disorder involves a current or past major depressive episode lasting for at least two weeks. The person must also have had a current or past episode of hypomania. Women may be more likely than men to develop bipolar II disorder.

Cyclothymic disorder

People with cyclothymic disorder may experience ongoing bipolar symptoms that don’t meet the full criteria for a bipolar I or bipolar II diagnosis. Cyclothymic disorder is considered a less severe form of bipolar disorder. It involves the frequent recurrence of hypomanic and depressive symptoms that never become severe enough to be diagnosed as bipolar II. These symptoms generally persist for a two-year period.

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