What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by extreme shifts in mood. Symptoms can include an extremely elevated mood called mania. They can also include episodes of depression. Bipolar disorder is also known as bipolar disease or manic depression.
Types of bipolar disorder
There are three main types of bipolar disorder: bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymia.
Bipolar I is defined by the appearance of at least one manic episode. You may experience hypomanic or major depressive episodes before and after the manic episode. This type of bipolar disorder affects men and women equally.
People with this type of bipolar disorder experience one major depressive episode that lasts at least two weeks. They also have at least one hypomanic episode that lasts about four days. This type of bipolar disorder is thought to be more common in women.
People with cyclothymia have episodes of hypomania and depression. These symptoms are shorter and less severe than the mania and depression caused by bipolar I or bipolar II disorder. Most people with this condition only experience a month or two at a time where their moods are stable.
Bipolar disorder symptoms in women
Men and women are diagnosed with bipolar disorder in equal numbers. However, the main symptoms of the disorder may be different between the two genders. In many cases, a woman with bipolar disorder may:
- be diagnosed later in life, in her 20s or 30s
- have milder episodes of mania
- experience more depressive episodes than manic episodes
- have four or more episodes of mania and depression in a year, which is called rapid cycling
- experience other conditions at the same time, including thyroid disease, obesity, anxiety disorders, and migraines
- have a higher lifetime risk of alcohol use disorder
Bipolar disorder symptoms in men
Men and women both experience common symptoms of bipolar disorder. However, men may experience symptoms differently than women. Men with bipolar disorder may:
- be diagnosed earlier in life
- experience more severe episodes, especially manic episodes
- have substance abuse issues
- act out during manic episodes
Bipolar disorder treatment
Several treatments are available that can help you manage your bipolar disorder. These include medications, counseling, and lifestyle changes. Some natural remedies may also be helpful.
- Sleep medications
- Lifestyle changes