Coping with the dramatic and unpredictable mood swings of bipolar disorder can be challenging, to say the least. Experts say using a mood diary may help empower you to better manage your condition. Keeping a mood diary is a simple way to monitor your illness because it centralizes pertinent information about your moods, medications, sleep patterns, anxiety levels, and daily events. Your diary helps to identify patterns that would otherwise go unnoticed. Your mood diary can help you monitor how your feelings affect your mood on a daily basis. Experts say it's also important to keep track of sleep patterns, and how much, or how little, you eat, and how much, or how little, you eat. Besides tracking behavioral habits, your diary can help you track significant life events that may have an effect on your state of mind. For example, you may want to note changes or problems with relationships at home or work, as well as any new stressors in your life, such as moving, changing jobs, or having a baby. Women may also find it helpful to keep track of menstrual cycle changes and any related changes in mood. Additionally, your diary may help you monitor how your moods fluctuate over time, serving to increase your awareness of certain symptoms or situations that may typically precede a manic or depressive episode. Your mood diary can also help you predict when a manic or depressive episode may occur, providing an opportunity to take precautionary steps to minimize its intensity and impact. Being able to track episode trending may enable you to head it off before it starts, or help you get the appropriate treatment more quickly. Experts advise rating your mood at the same time each day. Try using a scale that ranges from 1-10, with one being the most depressed mood and 10 being the most euphoric. You may also want to use your diary to keep track of any medications you're taking, how each makes you feel, and what symptoms improve or worsen. Your mood diary can serve as a chronological record to share with your doctor to help determine the effectiveness of your medications and therapy. Ultimately, a mood diary helps both you and your doctor better manage your bipolar episodes. If you think you may be suffering from bipolar disorder, please see a mental health professional. Information about bipolar disorder is also available on this site.
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Last Updated:December 20, 2012