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Gend Med. 2009 Jul;6(2):356-61. doi: 10.1016/j.genm.2009.07.004.

Gender differences in psychotic bipolar mania.

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  • 1Klinink für Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie und Psychosomatik, Vivantes Humboldt-Klinikum, Berlin, Germany.



This study examined gender differences in the prevalence and types of psychotic symptoms in bipolar mania.


Participants were drawn from consecutive admissions to the psychiatric clinic in Chemnitz, Germany, in 2005. The diagnosis of bipolar disorder, manic episode was made within 24 hours of admission, and the severity of mania was assessed using the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) and the German version of the Altman Self-Rating Mania Scale. Data collected for each patient included age at the onset of bipolar illness, number of previous episodes, social functioning between episodes, and duration of hospitalization for the index episode. Based on the Task Force for Methods and Documentation in Psychiatry system, psychotic symptoms were classified as hallucinations (visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile, acousma, somatic); delusions (paranoid, reference, guilt, grandeur, religious, erotomania, hypochondriac, poverty, jealousy); and ego disorder (thought control, thought broadcasting).


One hundred thirty-seven women and 109 men met the criteria for an acute manic episode, of whom 93 women and 62 men had psychotic symptoms. Compared with psychotic men, psychotic women had more delusions and hallucinations, both overall and per patient, and more delusions of reference and paranoid delusions. Psychotic women had more mixed states compared with psychotic men. Psychotic women differed from both psychotic men and nonpsychotic women on a number of clinical and social variables: they had higher YMRS scores and more previous episodes of depression despite an earlier onset of illness.


Women with bipolar mania exhibited a specific pattern of psychotic symptoms that appeared to be associated with greater severity of the acute episode, more mixed states, and a more severe course of illness.

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