Summary: Bipolar disorder occurs more frequently in women than men. They also exhibit different manifestations that may look “normal” to the untrained eye. This is why it is essential to understand the signs and symptoms for proper diagnosis and management.
Bipolar disorder is a serious psychiatric condition that is characterized by episodes of mania and depression in a patient. People that suffer from bipolar condition will often exhibit excess temperamental changes. They may feel at one time to be in a state of pure delight while also at some point feel severe sadness for no apparent reasons. When compared to men, women have more severe symptoms of bipolar disorder and can be due to a number of factors such as hormonal changes and other triggers. Sometimes symptoms in women can be mistaken for simple mood changes because of their monthly cycle. This is one of the primary reasons why there is a need to understand bipolar disorder in women.
If a woman is shifting to a manic episode, other people besides her will notice a change in her behavior. There are elevated feelings as well as grandiose ideas and an abnormal sense of self-esteem. To the untrained eye, the person may look all of a sudden to be hyper and very outgoing. Based on data from the NIMH or National Institute of Mental Health, a woman’s manic episode can also exhibit as severe crankiness and agitation and can easily be mistaken for premenstrual syndrome.
In a majority of instances, depressive or negative symptoms of bipolar disorder in women are by far easier to detect when compared to the manic state. Women with depressive symptoms feel an overwhelming sense of anxiety. There may be efforts to find some purpose to her existence as she tries to come to grips with an overwhelming sense of emptiness for no apparent reason. Moreover, there will also be instances where she will begin to lose interest in everyday things that she enjoys. If a woman has a spouse, there will be problems with their sexual relationship because when a person is in a depressive state, she is unable to feel any form of enjoyment whether physical or emotional.
While it is true that a manic mood can be sometimes hard to detect in women, the manic behavior can clearly be seen. Women that display episodes of mania will often times show behavior that is illogical and unusual. A classic example of manic behavior would be using up all the available credit on her credit card on a single shopping trip. They will no longer report to their usual place of work but instead begin on a new illogical activity. Part of the manic episode also deals with high risk behavior such as engagement in sexual activities with strangers or will simply be interested more in having a sexual encounter than they used to. A woman in a manic state will be unable to sleep and will always be seen speaking in a fast tone and almost unintelligibly. They often cannot focus on finishing a task and may skip activities of daily living such as bathing and personal hygiene.
Vacillations of Bipolar Disorder in Women
Bipolar disorder in women can also manifest in many different ways; sometimes the mania and depression will occur within moments of one another producing a form of cyclic variation. Some sufferers will only experience manic episodes while some would have only the negative symptoms. If you know someone who may have some of the symptoms listed above, it is important that a timely intervention be initiated because there may be fatal consequences if left unchecked especially if the woman goes into the major depressive state. Once diagnosis has been made, prompt treatment with appropriate medication as well as counseling is initiated in order to lessen or control the instances of relapse episodes which may occur time and again depending on the triggers.