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Bipolar Disorder: Relapse Signatures

A bipolar relapse signature is a set of 4-6 symptoms, unique to each person, that consistently predicts a manic or depressive episode. Some symptoms begin weeks before an episode, while others occur just days or hours before. When a person knows their relapse signature, they can seek help in order to prevent or mitigate a mood episode.

The Bipolar Disorder: Relapse Signatures worksheet provides a template for recording the symptoms of a relapse signature. In this handout, symptoms are divided into early and late prodromes (initial and late warning signs), and then written into a brief narrative.

Encourage your clients to regularly review their signature, and always be on the lookout for signs of relapse. It may be helpful to keep this handout somewhere visible at home, and pair it with the Bipolar Disorder Mood Log.

For more information about this subject, read our guide Bipolar Disorder: Relapse Warning Signs.

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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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