Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by extreme mood swings.  It is inevitable that you or your loved one will go into a manic episode at some time; therefore you must have a plan in place.


Here is an example of a manic episode safety plan that you can place on your refrigerator or other place where it can be easily seen:


Bipolar Manic Episode Safety Plan


  • STAY SAFE (however you have to)—stay in your safety zone.  If you are at home, you cannot go on a spending spree!


  • Do not be alone if at all possible (be around someone who is aware of the manic symptoms of bipolar disorder and can help you control them).


  • Be accountable to someone – such as your supporter -- who will know you are in an episode, will make sure you take your medication, and will sit and listen to you, especially since one of the biggest symptoms of a manic episode is that you will talk so much!


  • If you can’t find someone to talk to, there are chat rooms on the Internet where others experiencing bipolar manic episodes will understand how you are feeling.


  • Make sure you take your medication and on schedule, and that you keep appointments with your doctor, psychiatrist and therapist.


  • Do not make any major decisions or even any minor ones (if you can help it).


  • Control your spending!  The best way to do this is to have your supporter hold the charge cards and to be in control of the checking account.


  • You may not be sleeping very much, but this is one of the symptoms of a bipolar manic episode.  There are things you can do about this – talk to your psychiatrist, therapist, or doctor about it.  It may be just a temporary problem because of the mania, and you may be able to get a temporary medication to help you get some sleep.


  • Take care of your personal needs (grooming, eating, exercising, sleeping, etc.).


  • HALT (never get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired).


  • Although this may be difficult when you are feeling manic, try to do what you would normally enjoy (read, watch television/movies, go to your Support Group, etc.)


  • Do what you can to slow yourself down (take a bath, read, listen to soothing music, walk, garden, do yoga, meditate, journal, etc.).


  • Remember the deceptive nature of your thoughts and feelings during a manic episode and that they will tend to be higher than normal in nature.


  • Do not follow through with any grandiose plans that you will tend to have during a manic episode, especially those that you feel have come from “special insight” you have gotten during your mania.


  • Do not take action on any impulsive thoughts you may have toward risk-taking behaviors.


  • Keep in mind that this is only a temporary situation, and do not do anything that has permanent consequences.


  • Tell yourself that “This too shall pass,” “I’ve been here before and have gotten through it,” and any other positive thoughts you can use to replace your negative thoughts. 


  • You may have paranoid thoughts that others are out to “get” you.  These are not real, and are only the result of your bipolar manic episode.