Bipolar Disorder and Gender

Knowledge about gender differences in the prevalence and clinical characteristics of bipolar disorder may improve its assessment and effective management. In terms of prevalence rates, epidemiological studies indicate that rates of bipolar I disorder are comparable across genders. Clinical studies suggest (somewhat inconsistently) that bipolar II disorder may be more common in women, which may reflect gender differences in treatment seeking. This gender disparity is less distinctive than it is for major depression, where the female preponderance is 1.5 to 3 times higher and where interpretations range from “real” (hormonal explanations, social and gender roles) to “artifactual” (differential help seeking and reporting) explanatory factors.

Gender differences in clinical presentation (e.g., differential symptoms) are potentially important in relation to making a diagnosis and developing an effective management ...

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