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Bipolar Disorder: Common Warning Signs

An important part of managing bipolar disorder is recognizing one’s early warning signs of mania and depression before an episode is in full swing. While everyone’s experience of bipolar disorder is unique, there are many common early warning signs of relapse.

The Bipolar Disorder: Common Warning Signs worksheet includes brief descriptions of mania and depression, along with a list of their warning signs. For example, an increase in energy or rapidly flowing thoughts may signal mania, while sadness or fatigue may signal depression.

This handout is best used during the exploration of past episodes of mania and depression. Family member involvement may be especially valuable during this stage because they often notice warning signs that are not obvious to the client.

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1. Miklowitz, D. J., & Gitlin, M. J. (2015). Clinician's Guide to Bipolar Disorder. Guilford Publications.

2. Morriss, R. (2004). The early warning symptom intervention for patients with bipolar affective disorder. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 10(1), 18-26.

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