Bipolar disorder - as the name implies - involves two distinct set of symptoms. One set throws the individual down into the depths of a massive depression. The other places the individual who suffers with bipolar disorder at the top of a peak manic episode.

Most everyone can eventually recognize the warning signs of an impending depressive episode related to bipolar disorder. More likely than not, individuals with bipolar disorder try very hard to avoid it.

However, for many individuals with bipolar disorder, it's more difficult to recognize the signs of an impending manic episode. After all, a manic episode of bipolar disorder can be mistaken in some cases - especially in the very early formation -- for the lifting of the corresponding mood swing of the depression.

So how does a person afflicted with bipolar disorder know the difference between a manic episode and 'just feeling good'? Here are a few markers to gauge your symptoms:

* Needing less sleep * Becoming more talkative * Being more active * Feeling not only unusually happy and energetic, but irritable at the same time. * Making unrealistic plans. * Focusing intensely on a goal * Having unrealistic feelings of self importance * Being easily distracted * Having thoughts that race rapidly.

Knowing the symptoms of a manic episode is the first step in treating bipolar disorder. Some experts of bipolar disorder suggest that individuals keep a journal. In these pages, they say, you can record how you feel each day. This helps you to recognize the patterns in the moods of your bipolar disorder. Keeping a journal, many people find, make it much easier for individuals to distinguish the onset of a manic episode of bipolar disorder from just feeling good.

Be sure to note in your bipolar disorder journal any event that created unusual stress in your day. You will also want to record any new and unusual symptoms of your bipolar disorder as well.

As mundane as it may seem, also talk about your day n general. Did you eat regular meals? Did you sleep well? Exercise? Drink alcohol? All these can help you identify not only the onset of a manic episode associated with bipolar disorder, but also the depressive episodes as well.

Another good exercise to distinguish this euphoric set of symptoms of bipolar disorder is to ask yourself, 'How did I feel today?' Then answer based on a scale much like a number line. A -5 indicates you are depressed, a 0 is normal and a +5 signals a manic episode. Write this daily bipolar disorder score in your journal.