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By knowing the warning signs of a bipolar disorder mood shift, you can detect the onset and prevent a full-blown mood episode in a person with bipolar disorder.

The more you educate yourself, the better you can support your loved one who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Even if your loved one is committed to treatment, there may be times when the bipolar symptoms may worsen. By knowing the signs well, you may be the best person to detect the onset of a mood shift, and with speedy intervention, you may be able to prevent a full-blown mood episode. 

The signs of an oncoming manic episode

  • Frequently being awake at night or sleeping much less
  • Talking too quickly or jumping off-topic 
  • Starting several new projects simultaneously 
  • Acting more impulsively than usual or taking more risks
  • Spending money impulsively, without regard for financial issues
  • An unrealistic belief in their own abilities
  • An unrealistic grasp of personal limitations
  • Inappropriate or an unrealistic good mood
  • Irritability or short temper

The signs of an oncoming depressive episode

  • Sleeping during the day or much more than usual 
  • Losing interest in activities or abandoning projects
  • Complaining more about pains like headaches, stomach pains and muscle aches.
  • Mentioning suicidal feelings or having a preoccupation with death
  • Withdrawing from social events 
  • Having crying spells without an explanation
  • A change in eating patterns, such as often overeating or forgetting to eat
  •  Loss of motivation or lethargy 
  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or shame
  • Sad mood without an obvious cause

The signs of an oncoming mixed-mood episode

When the warning signs for mania and depression alternate or co-exist, it usually indicates a mixed-mood episode and is a disorienting and painful experience. A mixed-mood episode is the worst of both worlds. It is experiencing the symptoms of both mania and depression every day for at least one week. You should notify your psychiatrist if symptoms persist. 

Take action when you notice the signs of a mood shift

Take immediate action if you notice any troubling symptoms or mood changes. Point out the emerging signs to your loved one and discuss possible changes to daily activities and sleeping patterns. Always inform the psychiatrist when symptoms worsen, and changes in medication are required.  It is important not to read signs of mania or depression into everything your loved one does since it can come across as condescending. Do not define your relationship by the illness alone, and value your loved one as a unique human being, independently from bipolar disorder. 

Getting help for bipolar disorder

Remember, bipolar disorder should be treated by a psychiatrist and other mental health professionals. It requires continuous monitoring and treatment that involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy and admission to a mental health facility when necessary.  Having a solid support system to rely on is invaluable for people with bipolar disorder. In many cases, people with bipolar disorder who follow a long-term treatment plan and a healthy lifestyle manage to live well-balanced, successful lives.

Reach out to a mental health professional if you or a loved one needs help with a mental health issue. You can Whatsapp or phone the 24/7 Helpline on 072 7900 506

Read more:

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Get Serious About Bipolar Disorder Treatment

How To Support Someone With Bipolar Disorder

What You Need To Know About Suicide Prevention

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