Bipolar relapse explained plus signs and symptoms of a bipolar relapse for those diagnosed with bipolar disorder and their families and friends.
A relapse is said to occur when the symptoms of bipolar disorder worsen or when previous bipolar symptoms return. Many people have experienced one or more relapses of their illness. After a relapse, you may still experience persistent symptoms-which is different from worsening symptoms.
Before a relapse happens, people often experience changes in their symptoms or in some aspect of their behavior, thoughts or feelings. These changes are called warning signs and they are indications that a bipolar relapse may be imminent.
Signs of a Bipolar Episode
- Feeling more tense or nervous**
- Feeling that people are talking about me**
- Having more trouble sleeping**
- Change in level of activity**
- Having more trouble concentrating**
- Losing interest in things I usually like doing
- Seeing friends less
- Enjoying things less
- Feeling more depressed (or suddenly grandiose)
- Eating less
- Having more religious ideas
- Preoccupied with one or two ideas
- Having trouble making sense when talking
- Feeling like I was forgetting things more
- Feeling worthless
- Feeling like I was going crazy
- Hearing voices or seeing things
- Feeling that someone else was controlling me
- Feeling badly for no apparent reason
- Stopped caring how I looked
- Having more nightmares or bad dreams
- Feeling more angry over little things
- Thinking about hurting myself
- Feeling more aggressive or pushy
- Feeling too excited or overactive
- Having trouble relating to family
- Having frequent aches and pains
- Drinking more alcohol
- Using more drugs (uppers, downers, LSD, marijuana)
- Thinking about hurting someone else
** Universal Warning Signs
These signs are different for everyone. It is important to work out which signs may be relevant to you and have a plan of what to do should any of these signs of a bipolar relapse appear.
- McFarlane, W., Terkelson, K., "New Approaches to Families Living with Schizophrenia." Institute, 62nd Annual Ortho-Psychiatric Meeting, N.Y., 1985.
- Inner North Brisbane Mental Health Service, Warning Signs of A Possible Relapse