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What Triggers A Bipolar Episode

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Trigger #4 Breakups And Divorce

Bipolar Disorder: Triggers

When you break up with someone or divorce them, you will no longer see them on a daily or regular basis. When someone dies in your life, you no longer get to see them. That is why the end of a relationship is seen as the death of a relationship.

The emotional impact causes extreme stress and thus can trigger an episode.

Trigger #9 Death Of A Loved One And Bereavement

Very deep and forlorn emotions can consume you when a loved one dies. It makes perfect sense. I have been there, so I know first-hand.

The intensity of grief can greatly range from person-to-person. We are all unique in our biological and emotional makeup. That is why some people are triggered, and others are not, with the death of a loved one.

Individuals who lose a loved one and have bipolar disorder are commonly triggered into a manic episode. It is actually counterintuitive, if you think about it. I think you would experience a depressive episode. To me, it makes sense because of the dark and down feelings you have when a person dies.

Make sure you have created a treatment and crisis plan to protect yourself in case the death of a loved takes place.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms

A person with bipolar disorder will go through episodes of mania and at other times experience episodes of depression . These aren’t the normal periods of happiness and sadness that everyone experiences from time to time. Instead, the episodes are intense or severe mood swings, like a pendulum that keeps arcing higher and higher.

Symptoms of mania include:

  • anger, worry, and anxiety
  • thoughts of death or suicide

In adults, episodes of mania or depression usually last for weeks or months, although they can be shorter in length. In children and adolescents, though, these episodes can be much shorter, and a kid or teen can even go back and forth between mania and depression throughout the day.

Episodes of mania or depression may happen irregularly and follow an unpredictable pattern or they may be linked, with a manic episode always following a period of depression, or vice versa. Sometimes episodes have a seasonal pattern. Mania in the spring, for example, may be followed by depression in the winter.

Between episodes, someone with bipolar disorder usually returns to normal functioning. For some people, though, there is little or no “break period” between their cycles. These mood swing cycles can change slowly or rapidly, with rapid cycling between mania and depression being much more common in women, children, and adolescents.


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Mood Swing Triggers In Bipolar Disorder

At first, mood swings may take you by surprise. But over time, you might start to see patterns or signs that you’re entering a period of mania or depression. Aside from a shift in your mood, look for changes in your:

  • Sleep patterns
  • Self-esteem
  • Concentration

Mood episodes in bipolar disorder often happen suddenly, for no particular reason. Sometimes, you may notice that there are specific things that can trigger mania or depression, such as getting too little sleep, changes to your daily routine, or jet lag when you travel. Many people find they’re more likely to become depressed or manic during stressful times at work or during holidays. Some people see seasonal patterns to their mood changes.

One good way to spot your triggers is to keep a journal. Make note of big events, stresses, your medication dose, and the amount of sleep you’re getting. Over time, you might see some patterns.

Of course, there may be triggers that you just canât avoid, like a serious illness or the death of a loved one. But if you can recognize the things that are likely to bring on mania or depression, you can prepare for times when you might be most vulnerable. Work with a mental health professional to plan what to do when you think a mood swing might happen. Ask for more help from family and friends. Have them check in more often so you get extra support.

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Living With Bipolar Disorder

A change or mood swing can last for hours, days, weeks, or even months. Typically, someone with bipolar disorder experiences one or two cycles a year, with manic episodes generally occurring in the spring or fall. A 2010 study of people with bipolar 1 disorder found that mood episodes lasted an average of 13 weeks.

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Coping With Bipolar Disorder

Living with bipolar disorder can be challenging, but there are ways to help make it easier for yourself, a friend, or a loved one.

  • Get treatment and stick with itrecovery takes time and its not easy. But treatment is the best way to start feeling better.
  • Keep medical and therapy appointments, and talk with the provider about treatment options.
  • Take all medicines as directed.
  • Structure activities: keep a routine for eating and sleeping, and make sure to get enough sleep and exercise.
  • Learn to recognize your mood swings.
  • Ask for help when trying to stick with your treatment.
  • Be patient improvement takes time. Social support helps.

Remember, bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness, but long-term, ongoing treatment can help control symptoms and enable you to live a healthy life.

Treatment And Dealing With Triggers

Successful recovery from psychosis depends upon early treatment, especially following the first episode. If those who witness the psychotic episode act quickly to get the sufferer help, their loved ones chances of getting better improve greatly. Psychosis can come on quickly or slowly, depending on its cause. And because it has a variety of causes, it may have a variety of triggers.

  • Psychologically-triggered psychosis should be treated by psychiatric professionals and with medication.
  • Medically-triggered psychosis also requires treatment from medical professionals.
  • Substance-triggered psychosis may call for the same kind of preventative measures taken in substance abuse clients, such as avoiding people or places that trigger substance use.
  • Trauma-based psychosis requires treatment from mental health professionals, such as in the case of psychosis resulting from a PTSD flashback.

No matter what the cause psychosis generally has the same treatment a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Psychotherapy can help manage psychotic episodes while medication can treat symptoms and reduce their impact. Depending on the circumstances, other therapies may be used. Treatment plans often include one or more of the following:

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What Are Triggers And How Do They Affect Bipolar Disorder

A list of bipolar triggers and how triggers affect mood stability associated with bipolar disorder.

Gold Standard for Treating Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar triggers are behaviors and outside events that lead to bipolar disorder symptoms. As you probably know from experience, these triggers can be positive or negative. You often have control of them, but some are just part of everyday life.

The more you control your bipolar triggers, the greater chance you have of finding stability. This can lead to a significant reduction in medications as well as more of an ability to work and maintain stable relationships. It can’t be stressed enough that triggers are the main environmental cause of bipolar disorder mood swings and must be monitored and reduced as much as possible. You can note all triggers on your mood swing chart as related to a particular mood swing.

Triggers come in many forms- from the positive, such as:

  • a new relationship
  • sleep changes due to work schedules
  • troublesome relationships
  • a death in the family
  • or most significantly, drug and alcohol abuse. Of all of the triggers, these two are the most detrimental.

Brain Structure And Function

Triggers that Cause Manic Episodes in Bipolar Disorder ( 3 Examples from My Life)

Researchers are learning that the brain structure and function of people with bipolar disorder may be different from the brain structure and function of people who do not have bipolar disorder or other psychiatric disorders. Learning about the nature of these brain changes helps doctors better understand bipolar disorder and may in the future help predict which types of treatment will work best for a person with bipolar disorder. At this time, diagnosis is based on symptoms rather than brain imaging or other diagnostic tests.

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What Are The Different Types Of Bipolar Disorder

There are different types of bipolar disorder.

What is bipolar disorder I disorder?

A diagnosis of bipolar I disorder means you will have had at least 1 episode of mania that lasts longer than 1 week. You may also have periods of depression. Manic episodes will generally last 3-6 months if left untreated. Depressive episodes will generally last 6-12 months without treatment.

What is bipolar II disorder?

A diagnosis of bipolar II disorder means it is common to have symptoms of depression. You will have had at least 1 period of major depression. And at least 1 period of hypomania instead of mania.

What is bipolar I or II disorder with mixed features?

You will experience symptoms of mania or hypomania and depression at the same time. You may hear this being called mixed bipolar state. You may feel very sad and hopeless at the same time as feeling restlessness and being overactive.

What is bipolar I or II disorder with rapid cycling?

Rapid cycling means you have had 4 or more depressive, manic or hypomanic episodes in a 12-month period.

What is bipolar I or II with seasonal pattern?

Seasonal pattern means that either your depression, mania or hypomania is regularly affected in the same way by the seasons. For example, you may find that each winter you have a depressive episode, but your mania doesnt regularly follow a pattern.

There can be some similarities between bipolar I or II with seasonal pattern and another conditional called seasonal affective disorder.

Conditions That Can Co

Many people with bipolar disorder also may have other mental health disorders or conditions such as:

  • Psychosis. Sometimes people who have severe episodes of mania or depression also have psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms tend to match the persons extreme mood. For example:
  • Someone having psychotic symptoms during a manic episode may falsely believe that he or she is famous, has a lot of money, or has special powers.
  • Someone having psychotic symptoms during a depressive episode may believe he or she is financially ruined and penniless or has committed a crime.
  • Anxiety Disorders Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder . Anxiety disorders and ADHD often are diagnosed in people with bipolar disorder.
  • Misuse of Drugs or Alcohol. People with bipolar disorder are more prone to misusing drugs or alcohol.
  • Eating Disorders. People with bipolar disorder occasionally may have an eating disorder, such as binge eating or bulimia.
  • Some bipolar disorder symptoms are like those of other illnesses, which can lead to misdiagnosis. For example, some people with bipolar disorder who also have psychotic symptoms can be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. Some physical health conditions, such as thyroid disease, can mimic the moods and other symptoms of bipolar disorder. Street drugs sometimes can mimic, provoke, or worsen mood symptoms.

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    What Is Rapid Cycling

    Some people with bipolar disorder develop rapid cycling where they experience four or more episodes of mania or depression within a 12-month period. Mood swings can occur very quickly, like a rollercoaster randomly moving from high to low and back again over a period of days or even hours. Rapid cycling can leave you feeling dangerously out of control and most commonly occurs if your bipolar disorder symptoms are not being adequately treated.

    The different faces of bipolar disorder

    Bipolar I Disorder This is the classic manic-depressive form of the illness, characterized by at least one manic episode or mixed episode. Usuallybut not alwaysBipolar I Disorder also involves at least one episode of depression.

    Bipolar II Disorder In Bipolar II disorder, you dont experience full-blown manic episodes. Instead, the illness involves episodes of hypomania and severe depression.

    Cyclothymia Cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar disorder that consists of cyclical mood swings. However, the symptoms are less severe than full-blown mania or depression.

    Coping With Bipolar Disorder Triggers Through More Advanced Treatment


    Bipolar disorder is a chronic condition that must be continuously monitored and managed over a lifetime. Even if you have achieved remission and are high-functioning, it is critical to remain vigilant to identify and cope with potential triggers and work closely with your treating clinicians to maintain stability. However, if you find that your mood episodes are not being effectively managed with outpatient care, it may be time to consider residential bipolar treatment.

    At Bridges to Recovery, you will have the time and space to fully devote yourself to healing in a warm, intimate environment. By working closely with a group of expert clinicians, you can examine your symptoms, identify your triggers, and develop the insight and skills necessary to more effectively manage your condition. This includes not only implementing an appropriate medication plan, but deeply exploring your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors through a range of therapies designed to address your individual needs. With the support of compassionate mental health professionals and peers who understand what you are going through, you can open up the door to more durable relief from symptoms and a restored sense of wellness.

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    Bipolar Disorder And Suicide

    The depressive phase of bipolar disorder is often very severe, and suicide is a major risk factor. In fact, people suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to attempt suicide than those suffering from regular depression. Furthermore, their suicide attempts tend to be more lethal.

    The risk of suicide is even higher in people with bipolar disorder who have frequent depressive episodes, mixed episodes, a history of alcohol or drug abuse, a family history of suicide, or an early onset of the disease.

    Suicide warning signs include:

    • Talking about death, self-harm, or suicide.
    • Feeling hopeless or helpless.

    Get more help

    Bipolar Disorder Symptoms, causes, and treatment.

    Rapid Cycling Signs, symptoms, and causes of rapid cycling in bipolar disorder.

    Bipolar Workbook and other self-help resources.

    Hotlines and support

    In the U.S.: Call the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-6264 or find DBSA Chapters/Support Groups in your area.

    UK: Call the peer support line at 0333 323 3880 and leave a message for a return call or Find a Support Group near you.

    Australia: Call the Sane Helpline at 1800 187 263 or find a local Support Group.

    Canada: Visit Finding Help for links to provincial helplines and support groups.

    India: Call the Vandrevala Foundation Helpline at 1860 2662 345 or 1800 2333 330

    The HelpGuide team appreciates the support of Diamond Benefactors Jeff and Viktoria Segal.

    What Is The Treatment For Mania Hypomania And Depression

    You can check what treatment and care is recommended for bipolar disorders on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence website.

    NICE produce guidelines for how health professionals should treat certain conditions. You can download these from their website at:

    The NHS doesnt have to follow these recommendations. But they should have a good reason for not following them.

    What medications are recommended?

    Mood stabilisers are usually used to manage mania, hypomania and depressive symptoms.

    The mood stabilisers we talk about in this factsheet are:

    • Lithium
    • Certain benzodiazepine medication

    Mania and hypomaniaYou should be offered a mood stabiliser to help manage your mania or hypomania. Your doctor may refer to your medication as antimanic medication.

    If you are taking antidepressants your doctor may advise you to withdraw from taking them.

    You will usually be offered an antipsychotic first. The common antipsychotics used for the treatment of bipolar disorder are:

    • Haloperidol
    • Quetiapine
    • Risperidone

    If the first antipsychotic you are given doesnt work, then you should be offered a different antipsychotic medication from the list above.

    If a different antipsychotic doesnt work, then you may be offered lithium to take alongside it. If the lithium doesnt work you may be offered sodium valproate to take with an antipsychotic. Sodium valproate is an anticonvulsive medication.

    Sodium Valproate shouldnt be given to girls or young women who might want to get pregnant.

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    Avoiding Triggers To Bipolar Episodes

    By | Submitted On February 08, 2008

    In this article, I’d like to go over the main four triggers, and I’d like to do it a little differently. I want you to see these triggers from both points of view – from both the survivor and the supporter’s views.

    Just to review, in general, a trigger is something external which can set in motion an oncoming bipolar episode. Everyone has different triggers. For some people, it might be excess stress. For others, it might be frustration at work or a major disappointment. For some people who are highly susceptible, even a seemingly “wrong word” can cause them to go into a bipolar episode.

    The person who has Bipolar Disorder should try to determine what those triggers might be for them, and go over these triggers with their supporter, so both of you are aware of these triggers. “Knowledge is power,” so the saying goes, and having this knowledge beforehand can help both of you to avoid an episode before it begins.

    Once you identify some key triggers, you can both work on handling those triggers more effectively so they will “lose their power,” being less likely to disrupt the stability of the disorder that you both have worked so hard to attain.

    1.Sleep irregularities –

    SURVIVOR: Sleeping too little or too much are not only signs of an episode, they can also trigger them. You should get 8-9 hours of sleep a night, even if it means adjusting your schedule in order to give you enough time.

    2.Poor nutrition –

    3.Stress –

    4. Isolation –

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