The Feminine Side of Bipolar Disorder

Special advice for women with bipolar disorder from The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide (11 Photos)

David J. Miklowitz on Mar 2, 2011 at 2:59PM

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The Feminine Side of Bipolar Disorder

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Know Your Facts

The more you understand about bipolar disorder, the better able you’ll be to manage your illness. Some general things to keep in mind:

Women have longer, more frequent and more treatment-resistant depressions than men, and are therefore more likely to be misdiagnosed with recurrent major depressive disorder and so may not get the treatment they need right away.

Mixed episodes, rapid cycling and bipolar II disorder are more common in women. These conditions are often treated with complex combinations of medications that can pose health risks such as weight gain.

Because women are more prone to depression, they’re more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant without an accompanying mood stabilizer, which can trigger manic, mixed or hypomanic episodes.

Women are more likely than men to have physical disorders and pain conditions, including weight- and insulin-related such as diabetes and migraine headaches.

Both bipolar disorder and its treatments can affect functioning during pregnancy and after giving birth. Women with bipolar disorder are at high risk for postpartum depression.

Women are more likely to ruminate when depressed, and to have anxiety, panic attacks, body image problems and eating disorders.

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