Examples of bipolar warning signs

Warning signs are changes in the way the person behaves, thinks or feels that indicate that they are becoming unwell. Getting to know their warning signs can help people with bipolar disorder take prompt action to prevent full relapse. The person you care for may share some of the more common warning signs or have their own individual signals. Below are some examples of:

  • Warning signs of mania or hypomania
  • Warning signs of depression
  • Warning signs of mixed episodes

Warning signs of mania or hypomania

Common changes that may be warning signs of mania or hypomania include when the person:

  • Sleeps less
  • Is more active or pursues more goals (has lots of energy)
  • Is more sociable
  • Is irritable and impatient
  • Talks much more than usual or speaks very fast
  • Can’t concentrate well or is easily distracted
  • Has increased self-confidence, self-importance or optimism
  • Has an elevated mood
  • Is agitated or restlessness
  • Thinks much more quickly or has racing thoughts

Other warning signs of hypomania or mania that have been reported include when the person:

  • Has lots more ideas and plans
  • Starts doing more risky activities
  • Has an increased sex drive
  • Drinks lots more alcohol
  • Has heightened senses (e.g. everything looks more colorful or scents are more intense)

Examples of more individual warning signs of mania or hypomania include when the person changes their hair color more often, wears more make up or more seductive clothing. These signs are more unusual. It can be useful to work out if the person behaves in certain distinct and noticeable ways before becoming hypomanic or manic.

Warning signs of depression

The most common changes that may indicate warning signs of depression include when the person:

  • Is less interested in doing things that they usual enjoy
  • Is less interested in being with close friends
  • Is anxious or worries a lot
  • Has sleep problems
  • Is tearful or sad

Other warning signs of depression include when the person:

  • Is tired a lot
  • Neglects certain tasks and does less
  • Has physical aches and pains
  • Is more forgetful
  • Withdraws from social interaction

More individual warning signs of depression include when the person:

  • Does not want to make phone calls
  • Loses their sense of taste

Warning signs of mixed episodes

People who experience mixed episodes may get warning signs that are typical of depression or mania. Common changes that may be warning signs of mixed episodes include when the person:

  • Is agitated and restlessness
  • Loses weight
  • Is easily distracted
  • Feels tired
  • Engages in harmful activities
  • Loses interest in things
  • Has increased activity levels
  • Talks very fast
  • Has sleep problems

For suggestions about ways to help the person recognize warning signs to prevent full relapse see:

Comments are closed.