If the person has warning signs of bipolar depression

'Melancholy' Edvard Munch


Warning signs of bipolar depression can be difficult to recognise (see examples of warning signs. Even if the person does not get warning signs of impending depression, recognising and responding to early symptoms of bipolar depression may help to reduce the severity of an episode.

If the person has warning signs or early symptoms of bipolar depression, encourage them to:

  • Restore or maintain a basic routine and regular sleep patterns (e.g. go to bed and get up at a regular time each day and not sleep during the day).
  • If the person is becoming less active than usual, encourage them to do something that involves a bit more physical activity (e.g. ask the person to help carry parcels into the house).
  • Set small manageable goals to do things, and divide these goals into smaller steps if they are hard to achieve.
  • Acknowledge their achievements no matter how small, as experiencing a sense of achievement can have a positive influence on mood.
  • Recognize positive events and experiences when they occur (e.g. talk about an experience you both enjoyed or acknowledge good news the person has received).
  • Discuss their warning signs or early symptoms with their clinician.

See also: