Gender Differences in Bipolar Disorder

  • Saioa López-Zurbano
  • Ana González-Pinto


The main objective of this chapter is to summarize the clinical differences found in the literature between men and women suffering from bipolar disorder. The secondary objective is to analyze the treatment and how there are gender differences in the adherence to medication. Briefly, we could say that in men the manic component predominates, both at onset and throughout their lifetime, and that they usually have comorbid drug abuse. On the other hand, women usually tend to have a predominance of depression; they have a depressive polarity both at onset and during their lifetime and experience more mixed mania episodes. Furthermore, in women onset often occurs at an older age, comorbidity of physical pathological conditions is common, and adherence to medication is greater than in men.

We cannot forget that women can experience two very important periods: pregnancy and postpartum. Both can be critical periods for the disorder, and a relapse or recurrence at either stage can have serious consequences not just for the woman but also for her baby. Because the effect of medication on the fetus still remains unclear, it makes it even more difficult to set the treatment during these periods.


Bipolar disorder Gender Differences Woman Pregnancy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saioa López-Zurbano
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ana González-Pinto
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Alava University HospitalVitoriaSpain
  2. 2.University of the Basque Country UPV/EHULeioaSpain
  3. 3.CIBERSAMBarcelonaSpain

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