Bipolar disorder leads to extreme shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to think clearly. Particular lifestyle and environmental factors can trigger a bipolar episode as well as stress response and management. Once you are aware of what triggers your anxiety, you can learn to have better control over it.

What Stress Triggers in Bipolar Disorder

A stressful life change like losing a loved one or having financial struggles can trigger an initial bipolar episode. People with bipolar disorder tend to be more sensitive to stressors than other people, which is why treatment for anxiety is essential for them. How you cope with the stress affects the severity of your episodes. According to the National Library of Medicine, people with bipolar disorder who relapse have experienced more stressful life events compared to those with a more stable mood.

Medication Can Trigger an Episode

Bipolar disorder medications include mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants. Some antidepressants, like Prozac and Zoloft, could worsen bipolar triggers and even trigger a manic episode. People with bipolar disorder should not take an antidepressant without also taking a mood stabilizer or antipsychotic medication. If you are taking medication for more than one mental health disorder, it is best to develop a treatment plan with your doctor to ensure the side effects of the medication do not conflict with your recovery.

Drug and Alcohol Use Triggers

People with bipolar disorder tend to misuse drugs and alcohol as a way of controlling their symptoms. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration says that 30-50% of people with bipolar disorder develop a substance abuse problem. Drugs and alcohol can worsen your bipolar symptoms and lead to an increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Substance abuse withdrawal can also lead to bipolar symptoms like agitation, anxiety, and paranoia. Instead of self-medicating, you should seek healthier means of bipolar treatment such as therapy and taking your medication responsibly. Bipolar episodes can happen even without a trigger, so it is essential to get enough sleep, eat balanced meals, avoid drugs and alcohol, and talk to your doctor about coming up with the best treatment plan.

Bipolar disorder episodes can happen based on a stressful environment, medication, or addictive substances. However, because you can still experience bipolar episodes without a trigger, you may need to seek treatment if your symptoms are impacting the quality of your life. At Alta Loma, we understand how important it is to control your triggers to manage your symptoms. Located in Georgetown, Texas, we have the tools you need to get better, such as individualized therapy, medication management, coping skills education, a long-term continuum of care, and more. Call (866) 457-3843 for more information.


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You understand your needs best. If you have found yourself at a crossroads in your treatment and feel like your program options don’t fully understand you or aspects of your recovery, it’s time to contact the specialists at Alta Loma. We will help you craft the ideal care plan and secure the support you need, quickly, to avoid unnecessary problems. At Alta Loma, that’s our mission — to provide each individual with optimum care for the wellbeing they deserve.