Falling in love appears to have the highest specificity for triggering manic and hypomanic episodes for bipolar patients, according to a new study. The same study also found that stressful life events most commonly trigger depressive episodes.
Judith Proudfoot, from the University of New South Wales and Black Dog Institute in Randwick, Australia, and her team reported their findings in the Journal of Affective Disorder. They also discovered that the most common trigger for manic/hypomanic and depressive episodes is change in routine.
"While it may not be feasible to avoid some triggers, such as falling in love or stressful life events, identification of a link between these events and the onset of mood episodes may indicate to an individual that more diligent monitoring of mood and prophylactic strategies may be needed during such times," the researchers reported.
The study included 198 individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 who were diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Participants completed a survey in which they were asked to identify triggers for manic and hypomanic episodes, depressive episodes, and triggers that lead to both.
For manic and hypomanic episodes, participants indicated the most common triggers were falling in love, recreational stimulant use, and starting a new creative project. Other triggers were: partying all night, going on vacation, and times of personal growth.
Triggers for depressive episodes were: stressful life events, general stress, and fatigue. Other triggers noted were sleep deprivation, physical injury or illness, and menstruation.
Triggers for both manic and depressive episodes included changes in routine, chaotic situations, alcohol consumption, and a change in diet.
"The current research extends the existing literature by identifying triggers most prominent in young adults with BD," the researchers wrote. "Identification of a unique set of triggers for mania/hypomania and a unique set for depression in young adults with BD may allow for earlier identification of episodes, thus increasing opportunities for early intervention."
Source: News Medical