Early Warning Signs

Early warning signs are internal and may or may not arise in reaction to stressful situations. If you can recognize and address early warning signs right away, you often can prevent more severe symptoms.

Identify early warning signs

Make a list of early warning signs you have noticed in the past. How did you feel just before you had a hard time in the past or when you noticed that your habits or routines changed? Here are some examples:

  • anxiety
  • nervousness
  • forgetfulness
  • inability to experience pleasure
  • lack of motivation
  • feeling slowed down or speeded up
  • being uncaring
  • avoiding others or isolating
  • changes in appetite

Ask your friends, family members and other supporters for early warning signs that they’ve noticed in you.

Warning Signs Action Plan

Develop an action plan for responding to your early warning signs. Some of the things you list may be the same as those you wrote on your Triggers Action Plan. If you notice these symptoms, take action while you still can. Here are some examples:

  • do the things on my daily maintenance plan, whether I feel like it or not
  • tell a supporter/counselor how I am feeling and ask for advice
  • do at least three, 10-minute relaxation exercises each day
  • write in my journal for at least 15 minutes each day
  • spend at least 1 hour involved in an activity I enjoy each day
  • ask others to take over my household responsibilities for the day
  • check in with my physician or other health care professional

Use your Wellness Toolbox and other ideas from workshops, self-help books, your health care providers, and other people who experience similar symptoms.


Quick References

For benefit information, call the number on the back of your insurance card.

Autism Helpline

General Inquiries

Substance Use Hotline

Find a Provider