Signs of Bipolar Disorder in Women

Signs of Bipolar Disorder in Women

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a type of depression in which the affected person will display extremes in temperament --- from the highest high to the lowest low. However, seeing the signs of bipolar disorder in women can be tricky because people are often quick to write these mood swings off as hormonal changes.

Manic Mood
When a woman is transitioning into a manic state you might notice that her attitude will be greatly elevated. She can seem abnormally chipper and outgoing. However, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, a woman with bipolar disorder can also display manic mood changes that can easily appear to be PMS. For instance, many women will be easily agitated or cranky when they are manic.

Depressive Mood
Often, depressive mood changes are easier to recognize in women then manic mood changes. A depressed woman sometimes complains of being abnormally anxious. She might also seek for some meaning in her life as she tries to cope with feelings of emptiness. Furthermore, she can withdrawal and lose interest in doing most things. This is notably seen by a woman's partner when she suddenly and adamantly rejects her partner's sexual advances.

Manic Behavior
While manic moods can be hard to recognize, manic behaviors are not. Women experiencing a manic episode will frequently display erratic and illogical behaviors. For instance, some women will max out an entire credit card in one shopping binge. Others will skip work to start on a new personal project. Some women will engage in spontaneous sexual encounters with strangers or will be uncharacteristically interested in sex. Manic women will also experience trouble sleeping, will speak quickly and are easily distracted.

Depressive Behavior
When a woman becomes depressed her behavior changes are typically noticeable to anyone close to her. These changes include frequent complaints of being tired or worn-out, problems concentrating and thinking clearly, irritability or changes in eating and sleeping habits. While these types of changes can be synonymous with a woman's monthly cycle, a period of behavior lasting longer than two weeks is something to take notice of.

Fluctuations
Bipolar disorder manifests itself in a variety of ways. Some women with the illness will experience prolonged periods of mania or depression while others will drift only briefly between the two, spending most of the time feeling very normal. However, bipolar disorder of any degree can become serious and is often a lifetime condition. If you suspect someone has the disorder it is important to offer your emotional support and always report suicidal threats to a therapist or emergency response team.