Bipolar Triggers

When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I was overwhelmed by the amount of information I had to learn and understand. Even though it was a relief to finally put a name to what I felt, I was even more overwhelmed by the idea of managing my triggers; I didn’t even know what it meant to have triggers, let alone what my triggers were.

It seemed impossible, but I soon learned it was possible with the correct information and support. It will take some effort, but it will be worth it. 

Bipolar Triggers: What is it?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that involves unpredictable and sometimes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and behavior. People with bipolar disorder experience intense highs (mania) and lows (depression). There are various external and internal factors to be considered, such as stress, sleep deprivation, certain foods, or even other people.

Bipolar Triggers

When someone with bipolar disorder experiences a trigger, it can lead to a manic or a depressive episode. These episodes can last for days or weeks and can have a severe impact on daily life. It is influencing work and personal life detrimentally. 

Knowing your triggers and how to manage them can help you control your symptoms. You can lead a healthy and productive life.

Common Bipolar Triggers.

External or internal factors can cause bipolar triggers. External triggers can include stress, environmental changes, sleep deprivation, substance abuse, people, or particular situations. Internal triggers can consist of things such as genetics, hormones, and brain chemistry. If you are living with any co-morbidities, it can make identifying your triggers even more difficult. 

There is no size fit all trigger, each person with Bipolar will have different triggers, and it is essential to note that the same trigger can cause different reactions in other people. Each trigger can either increase mania or depression, and you will have to pay careful attention to identifying your triggers.

Triggers can change over time; make sure you keep track of how you feel and notice what triggered you. 

Keeping Track of Your Triggers with a journal. 

Keeping track of your triggers with a journal can be an effective way to manage your bipolar order. But this can be difficult when you first start; take it slow; you already have many things to deal with, but this is the easiest way to help you identify patterns in your mood, energy level, and behavior so that you can take steps to avoid triggers or manage them more effectively. 

You can’t avoid all your triggers, that is life, but it will help you tremendously in knowing what your triggers are and taking steps to prevent or lessen the effect it has on you. 

Use your journal for more than just tracking your triggers. Include your daily activities, sleep patterns, who you interacted with during the day, and other factors influencing your mood. Over time, you will start seeing the pattern in what it is that might trigger you, and this will go a long way in helping you manage your condition. 

Bipolar Triggers

How Can you Avoid Your Triggers in Bipolar?

Avoiding your triggers can be extremely difficult, but it is possible. Here are some tips for avoiding your triggers:

Get plenty of rest. Sleep deprivation can be a significant trigger for people with bipolar; the less you sleep, the worst your symptoms will become. Speak to your therapist if you are having problems sleeping.

Manage stress. This can be a daunting task, as there can be so many factors that cause stress; it might be your work situation, finances, or personal relationships. But stress is also one of the primary triggers for people with Bipolar disorder. Make sure you practice self-care as much as possible. 

Substance abuse. Substance abuse can have a severe effect on your triggers, it might make you feel better in the moment, but it can very easily trigger a manic or depressive episode. If you are abusing any substances, please make sure you let your Doctor know. 


Stay connected. Surround yourself with family and friends that understand your condition and support you. This can be not easy, especially if you do not have a robust support system. But isolating yourself completely can have a detrimental effect on your triggers.

Avoid Overstimulation. 

Overstimulation can majorly contribute to your trigger, so it is crucial to avoid overstimulation. How can you avoid overstimulation? 

Set boundaries. Setting healthy boundaries with yourself and others and learning to say no to a person or situation you do not want to be in will go a long way in not being triggered. 

Avoid multitasking. Dong multiple tasks at once can make you feel overwhelmed; focusing on one task at a time is critical. If you focus on one task at a time, you will also avoid getting anxious because a job is not getting done. 

Take breaks. Try taking breaks throughout the day. Even if it is just a ten or 15-minute break, do some breathing exercises, and go outside. Taking regular breaks can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated. 

Simplify your life. Make a list of priorities; those that bring you joy and fulfillment should go on top; this can be difficult to figure out and implement, especially if you have a job and family to take care of, but you can figure this out. 

Bipolar Triggers

Practice Self-care.

Self-care is a significant part of helping you manage your disorder. There are some simple things you can do to implement self-care. 

Eat a healthy diet. Making sure you eat balanced meals and drink lots of water is essential in taking care of yourself; this can be difficult if you are in a depressive mood and not even wanting to get out of bed. But the benefits of eating healthy will go a long way in managing your triggers. 

Exercise regularly. You are thinking, why did I have to mention that? Exercise releases endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling. I am not talking about running a marathon; a simple walk around the blog will also help. 

Make time for yourself. This can be anything from reading a book, having a long bath, or anything that relaxes you and make you feel good about yourself. 

Connect with others. Connecting with supportive family and friends can help you stay grounded. This can be as simple as asking a friend to take a walk with you, meeting up for coffee, or joining a gathering (but if a gathering with too many people is one of your triggers), avoid that and instead let your family and friends know that you would prefer so one on one time. 

What To Do If It Is Friends or Family that Triggers you. 

This can be extremely tricky. Family or friends might not even be aware that they are a trigger for you, and you might only now realize they are. How can you navigate this without hurting anyone’s feelings? 

Communicating your needs, communicating your needs to your family and friends so that they can understand your needs. This might not be well received. Tread carefully here; if they are one of your triggers, it is most likely because they react to your in a certain way or speak to you in a manner that triggers you. If you have to communicate this to them, it will create a confrontational situation. Try to have another family member or friend with you when you communicate your needs to them, or ask your therapist for an intervention if you feel you cannot handle it on your own. 

Set boundaries. Setting boundaries can be one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Write in your journal what limits you can set to help you with family and friends in not triggering you. Learning to say no is a start; you are not obligated to attend every family gathering or attend every children’s party. Suppose you feel that being in that situation will trigger your anxiety. Do not go! You do not have to answer every phone call, especially from people you know will trigger you. Make setting up your boundaries one of your priorities. 

Find Support. Surround yourself with people that do not trigger you, join support groups, or ask your therapist to help you find local support groups. Talking to other people about figuring out their triggers will help you find your own. 

Bipolar Triggers

Understanding and managing bipolar triggers can be daunting and challenging, but it is possible. It will take effort, and you might have to step out of your comfort zone to find those triggers. Still, when you can avoid or manage your triggers, it will ultimately help you not fall into a manic or depressive mood—learning about your warning signs, practicing self-care, and keeping track of your triggers with a journal will ultimately give you a guide to understand better your triggers and what you can put in place to minimize them.

You’ve got this! You can take control of your triggers, but you will have to work to find precisely those triggers.

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