Everyone experiences mood changes from time to time, but extreme changes in mood or energy level can be a sign of mental illness. When a person experiences a dramatically high mood, difficulty thinking clearly and a period of extreme energy that lasts for days or weeks, they may be experiencing mania.
While you might think that a person who has manic episodes has a manic personality, mania isn’t a personality type. Episodes of mania are usually a sign of bipolar disorder, which is a mood disorder. A person with bipolar disorder experiences both the highs of mania and the lows of depression.
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Symptoms of a Manic Episode
A person having a manic episode usually feels excited, on top of the world and capable of just about anything. They may feel energized and invincible and may not want the feeling to end, but at some point, feelings of euphoria are always followed by an emotional crash.
Signs and symptoms of manic episodes include:
- Extreme energy resulting in decreased need for sleep
- Racing thoughts
- Talking rapidly
- Feelings of grandiosity and inflated self-esteem
- Distractibility and inability to concentrate
- Impulsive or reckless behavior with no thought of consequences, such as unrestrained spending, reckless sex or fast driving
- Irritability or agitation
Manic episodes last most of the day, for days, weeks, or sometimes months. The unusual shifts in behavior and mood during manic episodes are noticeably different than the individual’s usual behavior. Bad decisions made during manic episodes can damage relationships, career, and reputation, which can worsen symptoms of depression.
Mania versus Hypomania
Mania can vary widely in severity from one person to the next and from one episode to the next. Mania and hypomania are both forms of emotional highs, but hypomania is less intense. While a person with hypomania feels euphoric and may have many of the same symptoms as a person with mania, their symptoms are less disruptive to their lives and the lives of those around them. This may cause the symptoms to go unnoticed.
A person who has severe manic episodes may go beyond excess energy and euphoria to aggression and irritability. They may also have psychotic symptoms such as disorganized thoughts, hallucinations, or paranoia and may lose touch with reality. Manic symptoms can be very disruptive to daily life and are noticeable to loved ones. Severe symptoms may require hospitalization to stay safe.
Episodes of highs and lows in a person with bipolar disorder can be unpredictable. It’s possible to have long periods without symptoms or to experience extreme mood and energy changes in rapid sequence.
Types of bipolar disorder include:
- Bipolar I – characterized by experiencing at least one manic episode lasting a minimum of seven days
- Bipolar II – characterized by shifting back and forth between episodes of hypomania and depression
- Cyclothymic Disorder – experiencing at least two years of depressive symptoms and hypomanic symptoms
- Unspecified Bipolar Disorder – experiencing periods of abnormal mood elevation but not meeting the criteria of diagnosis for bipolar I, bipolar II or cyclothymic disorder
By evaluating patterns and severity of symptoms, a mental health professional can diagnose bipolar disorder, including the type. Categories are based on criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
Treatment for Manic Episodes and Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder was once known as manic depression. It’s a condition that is treatable using a combination of medication and psychotherapy, and maybe also education and support groups. Treatment is aimed at managing symptoms and stabilizing mood, which is beneficial to both manic and depressive episodes.
If you or a loved one is showing signs of manic episodes, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. Untreated bipolar disorder can get worse and can lead to damaged relationships, job loss, legal problems, and complications such as substance abuse or suicide attempts.
If you or a loved one are struggling with a mania or bipolar disorder, please contact us at (855) 409-0204 or submit the form below and a treatment specialist will contact you.