Bipolar Mood Chart

2013 Bipolar Update

Bipolar Mood Chart

A bipolar mood chart is a method used by bipolar patients and their doctors to track the changes in mood that they see on a short-term and long-term basis. It work much like a diary except that in some cases, patients actually use a sophisticated chart that details all sorts of information including the frequency and severity of the mood episode.

The typical bipolar mood chart follows an established pattern for inputting the necessary data.

1. First, patients are asked to look up the time and date for when the entry will apply. In many pre-programmed mood charts, this is done automatically by the program so there is no room for committing a serious error.

2. Once done, patients turn towards selecting the exact mood that they felt during that time. This is also pre-programmed into many mood templates and can be notably broken down into manic, depressed or normal moods. From those three major categories, further sub-categories are made available depending on the level of detail needed to explain the state of mind of the patient.

3. There are also some bipolar mood charts that provide options for listing the irritability and anxiety levels of the patient. While this is not directly tied to mood fluctuations, it can be a good indication for what the impending mood will progress into. It bears mentioning that with bipolar disorder, there are various triggers which can easily flip a patient’s state of mind and all of these must be properly taken into account in a bipolar mood chart.

4. The patient will also need to enter the number of hours slept within the last 24 hours as another potential indicator for mood trending. In many cases, lack of sleep is a known cause for bipolar episodes. In other cases, sufficient sleep tames the severity of the mood swings. Doctors need to know if changes in sleeping patterns are triggering episodes in terms of mood problems.

5. A bipolar mood chart also contains a section for listing the medication that the patient is on. Did the patient forget to take the prescribed medication for the day? Were the dosages exactly as prescribed? Are the dosages no longer sufficient to handle an observed spike in moods? Details like this can be extremely important towards prescribing an appropriate treatment plan for the patient.

6. The last section of a bipolar mood chart is reserved for patient notes. The patient is given complete freedom over what can be put in this section. Common examples include notes from the office because of a stressful deadline, or missed meals because of errands. The notes are provided so that patients can write all that they want in the area of documenting potential triggers that are causing an escalation in the mood episodes.

A bipolar mood chart, while simple in most respects, is a very versatile and useful tool to help provide consistently accurate diagnosis of a patient’s condition. Every bipolar patient is recommended to keep one and have it regularly checked by the attending physician.

If you are suffering from bipolar disorder, incorporate the use of a bipolar mood chart into your routine so you can better track your mood at any time of the day.