Bipolar Disorder: Preventing Manic Episodes

Skip Navigation


If you have bipolar disorder, there are some things you can do to help prevent a manic episode. These include:

  • Learning the early warning signs of a manic episode. Watch for signs like needing less sleep and feeling happier or grouchier than usual.
  • Keeping track of your moods in a daily journal or on a calendar.
  • Sticking with a daily routine. For example, eat meals at the same time each day.
  • Trying to reduce your stress.
  • Going to counseling.
  • Taking your medicines as prescribed.

How can you prevent a manic episode?

Here are some steps you can take to help prevent a manic episode.

  • Learn the early warning signs of a manic episode.

    These signs may include:

    • Needing less sleep or being more active than usual.
    • Feeling very happy or very grouchy.
    • Being easily distracted and having racing thoughts.
    • Talking more than usual.
  • Keep track of your mood every day.

    After you know your early warning signs, check your mood each day to see if you may be heading for a mood swing. Write down your symptoms in a journal. Or record them on a chart or a calendar. When you see a pattern or warning signs of a mood swing, seek treatment.

  • Keep a stable sleep pattern.

    Go to bed about the same time each night, and wake up around the same time each morning. Too much or too little sleep or changes in your normal sleep patterns can alter the chemicals in your body. And this can trigger mood changes or make your symptoms worse.

  • Stay on a daily routine.

    Plan your day around a good routine. For example, eat meals at regular times, and make exercise or other physical activity a part of your daily schedule. You might also practice meditation or another relaxation technique each night before bed.

  • Don't use alcohol or illegal drugs.

    It may be tempting to use alcohol or drugs to help you get through a manic episode. But this can make symptoms worse. Even one drink can interfere with sleep, mood, or medicines used to treat bipolar disorder.

  • Get help from family and friends.

    You may need help from your family or friends during a manic episode. This is even more important if you have trouble telling the difference between what's real and what isn't real (psychosis). Having a plan in place before any mood changes occur will help your support network help you make good decisions.

  • Reduce stress at home and at work.

    Try to keep regular hours at work or at school. Doing a good job is important, but avoiding a depressive or manic mood episode is more important. If stress at work, school, or home is a problem, counseling may help.

  • Keep getting treatment and counseling.

    It can be tempting to stop treatment during a manic episode because the symptoms feel good. But it's important to keep getting treatment as prescribed. It helps you to avoid taking risks or having to face problems caused by a manic episode. If you have concerns about treatment or the side effects of medicines, talk with your doctor. Don't adjust the medicines on your own.


Current as of: June 24, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.