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Bipolar Disorder: My Warning Signs

Clients with bipolar disorder will benefit from learning about the warning signs indicating that they are entering manic or depressive episode. The Bipolar Disorder: My Warning Signs worksheet provides a template for clients to begin recording their warning signs for both types of episode.

Focus on identifying the earliest warning signs, which often include subtle shifts in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. When a manic or depressive state is recognized before a full-on episode, there is a greater likelihood of taking precautions such as asking for help, managing risk factors (e.g. restricting access to alcohol or bank accounts), or taking measures to address swinging moods.

Prior to using this worksheet, it will be important that your client has a basic understanding of mania and depression. We suggest using the Bipolar Disorder Info Sheet for general psychoeducation.

After your client has identified their bipolar disorder warning signs, help them create a plan for what to do when they're spotted.

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1. Morriss, R., Faizal, M. A., Jones, A. P., Williamson, P. R., Bolton, C. A., & McCarthy, J. P. (2007). Interventions for helping people recognise early signs of recurrence in bipolar disorder. Cochrane database of systematic reviews, (1).

2. Russell, S. J., & Browne, J. L. (2005). Staying well with bipolar disorder. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 39(3), 187-193.

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