Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health challenge characterized by extreme mood changes. People with this disorder alternate between bouts of mania and depression. During the height of a manic episode, you may feel euphoric, invincible and full of grand plans. Meanwhile, a depressive period can cause hopelessness and despair.
Women and Bipolar Disorder
While bipolar disorder can happen to anybody, its symptoms present differently in women than they do in men. For women, depressive periods tend to be more frequent and longer-lasting, and may also include elements of anxiety and psychosis. Women are also more likely to experience a milder form of mania called hypomania. Additionally, women’s bipolar mood swings are frequently seasonal, and women have mixed episodes more often than men.
Research suggests the hormonal changes that happen throughout women’s lives may play a role in these gender differences. For example, many women with bipolar disorder report more dramatic emotional disturbances when transitioning into menopause.
The most significant evidence of a hormonal association with bipolar disorder occurs during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Women with bipolar disorder who are pregnant or have recently given birth are more likely to have a recurrence of symptoms, which can be severe enough to warrant hospitalization in some cases.
How to Get Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder
If you suspect you have bipolar disorder, your first step is to schedule an appointment with your doctor. They’ll want to discuss your symptoms and screen you to rule out other conditions that may mimic bipolar disorder. If your health provider doesn’t find an underlying cause, they’ll refer you to a professional such as a psychiatrist for a psychological evaluation.
During this evaluation, a mental health specialist will want to know about your family history of mental illnesses. They will also ask about your symptoms’ severity and duration, how they are affecting your overall well-being and how often your mood swings occur.
Treating Bipolar Disorder
While there is no known cure for bipolar disorder, you can manage your symptoms with a combination of mood-stabilizing medications and talk therapy. Taking medicine as prescribed and keeping doctor’s appointments are crucial for managing your mental health and preventing future manic or depressive episodes.
Bipolar disorder frequently co-occurs with other mental and behavioral health issues, including substance use disorders. Treatment specialists call this phenomenon a dual diagnosis. Simultaneously addressing both components of a co-occurring disorder is essential to uncover the root causes of these conditions and equip you with new coping skills for dealing with complex moods and emotions.
Women’s-Only Recovery in Prescott, AZ
At Canyon Crossing, we understand women’s unique needs for mental health and addiction treatment. Our women’s-only treatment program allows our clients to address gender-specific issues, make new friends and express themselves more openly than they could in a mixed-gender environment. We optimize long-term success for women who complete our residential program with outpatient recovery, structured transitional living and family therapy.
To learn more about how our therapies can help you find new freedom and renew your self-esteem, please reach out to us today.