Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings from mania to depression. Although bipolar disorder affects men and women equally, men are typically diagnosed at a younger age and their illness is more severe, says EverydayHealth. Moreover, women go through the manic depressive cycle of the condition faster than men, notes a 1998 “American Journal of Psychiatry” article, and some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder are different in men than in women.
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Manic episodes are particularly prominent among men with bipolar disorder, according to EverydayHealth. This means the time spent in a depressed state is much longer in women than in men. Men are also more likely to act out during mania. Because men show more aggression and violence during manic periods, they get hospitalized more often than women, says EverydayHealth.
Approximately 50 to 60 percent of bipolar disorder patients abuse drugs or alcohol, according to an article published in the “American Journal of Psychiatry” in May 2005, and this substance abuse is more common and more severe among men. The study investigated alcoholism among 267 bipolar patients, and found that although alcoholism was common among both sexes, men with bipolar disorder met the criteria for lifetime alcoholism far more often than women.
Aggression and Violence
A study published in the “Journal of American Academy of Psychiatry and Law” in 2005 showed that violent crimes committed by bipolar men seemed to be more “visible,” whereas women tended to be guilty of violent act towards family members. Unfortunately, these types of situations are notorious for having a low level of police involvement; in many instances, the authorities are simply not aware that anything is wrong. Regardless, the study found that significantly more bipolar men than women had a lifetime history of legal offenses.