What Triggers a Bipolar Episode?

When you are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the key to living a happy and healthy life is trying to avoid the manic highs and depressive lows of bipolar episodes. Since there is currently no cure for bipolar disorder, treatment is all about managing symptoms. One of the strategies for managing symptoms of bipolar disorder is avoiding bipolar episode triggers. Bipolar triggers are scenarios, situations, or stimuli that can cause an intense bipolar episode. Here are a few of the most common bipolar episode triggers to avoid if you are bipolar.

Poor Sleep


If you are not getting enough "Zzz" each night, you are more likely to trigger a bipolar episode. Try to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night that is high quality and uninterrupted. If you have abnormal sleeping patterns, wake up often in the middle of the night, or have sleep that is low-quality you are more likely to have a manic or depressive episode.

Using Drugs and Alcohol


Unfortunately, drug and alcohol abuse and bipolar disorder go hand in hand, with many diagnosed with bipolar disorder abusing or addicted to drugs or alcohol. Many individuals use drugs and alcohol to treat the symptoms of bipolar disorder, a method that is incredibly unwise and ineffective. Drinking or drug use will actually worsen bipolar mood swings, and can eventually lead to suicidal thoughts.

Giving Birth to a Child


Numerous studies have found a strong link between giving birth to a child and bipolar disorder. In fact, one study found that following childbirth women were 18 times more likely to see depression turn into bipolar disorder when compared to the average man and woman. Therefore, if a pregnant woman has already struggled with depression in her life, make sure to watch her closely for signs of bipolar disorder after giving birth.

Seasonal Triggers


The changing seasons can trigger bipolar episodes in some individuals, creating a seasonal pattern. There has been some evidence that suggests more manic episodes occur in the spring and summer, while more depressive episodes occur in fall and winter. While you cannot prevent seasons from changing, at the very least you can try to figure out if your bipolar episodes follow seasonal changes. If they do, you can prepare for a manic or depressive episode before it occurs and prepare to fight the symptoms.

Certain Medications


There are certain medications and combinations of medications that can make the symptoms of bipolar disorder worse and more intense, and possibly even lead to a manic episode. Certain antidepressants, such as sertraline or fluoxetine, should not be taken by individuals with bipolar disorder unless they are also taking an antipsychotic or mood stabilizer. Another medication that can trigger a manic episode are stimulants used to treat ADHD. Make sure to let your doctor know you are bipolar whenever taking a new medication.

Trauma or Stress


The stress that comes from a traumatic experience can trigger a bipolar episode. An example of some traumatic experiences that can be a bipolar trigger includes losing a loved one, financial troubles, divorce, moving, or a major accident. It is essential to develop stress coping methods to attempt to keep bipolar symptoms under control.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment in San Diego at Affinity Treatment Centers


Keep your bipolar triggers under control and get effective bipolar disorder treatment at Affinity Treatment Centers in San Diego. No matter what triggers your bipolar episodes, the team at Affinity Treatment Centers can provide you with the medication and coping methods to keep the symptoms of bipolar disorder in check. To learn more about bipolar disorder treatment in San Diego, contact us by calling (760) 917-1112.