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Is bipolar disorder more common for men or women?

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Quick Answer

Bipolar disease affects both sexes equally, according to WebMD; however, women are more prone to rapid cycling than men. The disease is more likely to begin in the manic state for men and depressive state for women. Bipolar disease also affects people of all ethnic groups and socio-economic statuses equally.

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Full Answer

Bipolar disease affects over 10 million Americans, reports WebMD. It includes periods of mania, a high-energy stage that lasts a week or longer, and of depression, lasting at least two weeks. During the manic periods, the bipolar person talks rapidly and has racing thoughts. He may become reckless or aggressive. During this time, the patient has a decreased need for sleep and an exaggerated self-confidence. The manic state includes sexual inappropriateness and infidelity for some people who live with this disease.

During the depressive state, the person becomes sad and withdrawn. Energy levels are low, and he may become irritable. For many, the depressive state brings thoughts of death or suicide, WebMD indicates.

As of 2015, the exact cause of bipolar disease remains unknown, according to WebMD. It includes a genetic factor, meaning it sometimes runs in families. Stress, a lack of sleep, and drug or alcohol use may also play a role in developing the disorder.

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