Written & Reviewed by
Gaston Molina
Published on
July 3, 2023

Gaston Molina

Medically Reviewed by Gaston Molina, Clinical Psychologist & Therapist

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms in Females: A Comprehensive Guide

bipolar disorder symptoms in females

What is Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental health condition that affects a person’s mood, energy, activity levels, and ability to function. The condition is characterized by episodes of mania and depression, which can last for several days, weeks, or even months. During a manic episode, individuals may feel euphoric, and hyperactive, and have a decreased need for sleep. In contrast, during a depressive episode, individuals may experience feelings of sadness, and hopelessness, and have a decreased interest in activities they once enjoyed.

Understanding the Prevalence of Bipolar Disorder in Females

While bipolar disorder affects both males and females, research suggests that women may be more vulnerable to the condition. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), bipolar disorder affects approximately 2.8 percent of the adult population in the United States, with women being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at a slightly higher rate than men. The reasons for this gender difference in prevalence are not yet fully understood, but hormonal and genetic factors may play a role.

The Different Types of Bipolar Disorder

There are several types of bipolar disorder, each with its own set of symptoms and characteristics. The most common types of bipolar disorder are bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorder.

Bipolar I disorder

Bipolar I disorder is characterized by at least one episode of mania, which can be preceded or followed by a depressive or hypomanic episode. During a manic episode, individuals may experience an elevated or irritable mood, increased energy, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and risky behavior.

Bipolar II Disorder

Bipolar II disorder is characterized by at least one episode of major depression and one episode of hypomania. Hypomania is a less severe form of mania and may not cause significant impairment in functioning.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder is characterized by numerous periods of hypomanic and depressive symptoms that do not meet the criteria for a full-blown episode of mania or major depression.

Key Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Females

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary from person to person, and they can also differ depending on the type of bipolar disorder. However, some common symptoms of bipolar disorder in females include:

Manic Episode Symptoms

  • Feeling euphoric, high, or overly happy
  • Increased energy, restlessness, and hyperactivity
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts and rapid speech
  • Poor judgment and impulsivity
  • Engaging in risky behavior such as drug use, gambling, or sexual promiscuity

Depressive Episode Symptoms

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, and empty
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Decreased energy and fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Appetite and weight changes
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors

Mixed Episode Symptoms

  • During a mixed episode, individuals may experience symptoms of both mania and depression simultaneously. Symptoms can include:
    • Feeling irritable, agitated, or restless
    • Racing thoughts and rapid speech
    • Decreased need for sleep
    • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
    • Engaging in risky behavior such as drug use, gambling, or sexual promiscuity

Other Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

  • In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, individuals with bipolar disorder may also experience other symptoms, such as:
    • Anxiety or panic attacks
    • Psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions
    • Substance abuse or addiction
    • Social withdrawal or isolation
    • Problems with memory or concentration

Coping Mechanisms and Treatment Options

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that requires ongoing management. While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, there are several treatment options available that can help manage the symptoms. These include:


Medications are often the first line of treatment for bipolar disorder. Mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants are commonly used to help manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder.


Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, can help individuals with bipolar disorder learn coping strategies, improve their relationships, and manage their symptoms.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

For individuals with severe bipolar disorder who do not respond to other treatments, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be recommended. ECT involves applying an electrical current to the brain to induce a seizure, which can help alleviate severe symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Lifestyle Changes to Help Manage Symptoms

In addition to medication and therapy, there are several lifestyle changes that can help individuals with bipolar disorder manage their symptoms. These include:

  • Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
  • Engaging in regular exercise
  • Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Avoiding drugs and alcohol
  • Reducing stress through relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation

Supporting a Loved One with Bipolar Disorder

Supporting a loved one with bipolar disorder can be challenging, but it is essential to remember that they are not defined by their illness. Here are some tips for supporting a loved one with bipolar disorder:

  • Educate yourself about bipolar disorder
  • Encourage your loved one to seek professional help
  • Be patient and understanding
  • Practice active listening
  • Help your loved one maintain a healthy lifestyle


Bipolar disorder is a complex and lifelong condition that can be challenging to manage. However, with the right treatment and support, individuals with bipolar disorder can lead fulfilling and productive lives. If you or a loved one is struggling with bipolar disorder, it is essential to seek professional help. Additional resources and support can be found through organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA).

If you or someone you know is struggling with bipolar disorder, seek professional help and support.

Gaston Molina
Medically Reviewed by Gaston Molina, Clinical Psychologist & Therapist

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