In a recent study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders researchers found that men with bipolar disorder leaned toward the manic end of the spectrum, while women with bipolar disorder tended to lean toward the depressive end of the spectrum.
This difference in symptoms was most widely reflected in patient’s first episodes (predominantly mania for men and depression for women), and is suggested to be why women usually take longer to reach a bipolar diagnosis and are at a greater risk of suicide.
The study, led by psychiatrist Dr. Jean-Michel Azorin (associated with Sainte Marguerite Hospital, Marseille, France) also suggested men and women differed in respect to comorbid conditions as well. Men were shown to have a higher rate of bipolar comorbidity (sharing bipolar and another condition) with substance abuse, while women had a higher rate of bipolar comorbidity with eating disorders.
The study went on to speculate that these gender specific comorbidities may be why men were also shown to experience more neurologic conditions and cancer, while women experienced more metabolic disorders.