Early recognition of psychoses and bipolar disorders

What are the first signs of a bipolar disorder?

bildIn 60% to 70% of the persons affected, the bipolar disease commences with a depressive episode; accordingly in 20% to 30% with a manic episode. However, many persons affected, long before they suffer from distinct symptoms of a depression or a mania, describe a phase in which in hindsight they have already felt “different” and “altered”. One refers to the symptoms occurring in this phase as early warning symptoms.

Listed below are some early warning symptoms which have been described by many persons affected in the formation phase of a depression or mania. Take some time to read through these early warning symptoms and form an opinion whether possibly some of these apply to you.

If yes, you can click here on a questionnaire, which is intended to help you obtain greater clarity whether the early warning systems observed are possibly caused by an incipient bipolar disorder. However, simply filling in the questionnaire does not spare you from a visit to your doctor if you suspect that you have observed the early warning symptoms! The questionnaire should only be seen as an orientation and does not replace the detailed discussion with a doctor or psychologist.

Early warning symptoms of a depression

  • Tiredness, feeling of exhaustion, lack of energy
  • Depressed mood, depressiveness
  • Increased need for rest
  • Reduced self-confidence, self-doubt
  • Increased brooding and worrying
  • Lack of interest, listlessness
  • Sleep disorders
  • Neglect of everyday obligations
  • Concentration difficulties (thinking is difficult)
  • Reduced sexual interest
  • Anxiousness, nervousness
  • Decreased ability to take stress, decrease in efficiency and productivity
  • Relating everything to oneself, having the feeling that others are talking badly about one
  • Changes in the everyday routine
  • Physical malaise
  • Increased alcohol consumption
  • Stress, restlessness
  • Irritability

Early warning symptoms of a mania

  • Elation, euphoria
  • New ideas, racing thoughts
  • Greater need to talk
  • Increased activity and energy
  • Altered perception (sensitivity to noise, sharper perception, feeling of being in another world)
  • Increased creativity
  • Decreased sleep requirement
  • Greater willingness to make contacts
  • The feeling of being important or at the centre of interest
  • Increased alcohol / drug consumption
  • Increased self-confidence, the feeling of being able to manage everything that one intends to carry out
  • Irritability, strain, impatience
  • Increased sexual interest
  • Increased spending of money
  • Concentration difficulties, distractibility
  • Agitation, restlessness
  • More conflicts than usual
  • Failure to conform to the everyday routine


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