What Is Mania and What Does It Mean to Have a Manic Episode?

What Is Mania and What Does It Mean to Have a Manic Episode?

People living with bipolar disorder typically experience both depressive and manic episodes. Manic episodes, also referred to as mania, are sometimes so severe that they require hospitalization. Mania can cause extreme changes in mood and behavior and elevated energy levels.

What Are the Symptoms of a Manic Episode?

  • Abnormally high energy or activity levels
  • Being more talkative than usual
  • Feeling extremely happy or euphoric
  • Having racing thoughts on various topics at the same time
  • Feeling extremely irritable
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Impulsivity
  • Being hypersexual
  • Distractibility
  • Becoming completely absorbed in a specific activity or feeling increased creativity
  • Having an inflated sense of self-esteem or thinking you’re invincible

Bipolar Psychosis

There are times when mania becomes so severe that an individual experiences bipolar psychosis.

Symptoms of bipolar psychosis include:

  • Hallucinations: Either seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, or feeling things that aren’t there
  • Delusions: This can make a person believe certain things are true when they aren’t; for example, a person may have grandiose delusions, which lead them to believe they have special powers or talents or that they’re a very important person
  • Paranoia or fear: This can cause an individual to believe that something terrible is going to happen or that someone is going to harm them

Symptoms of mania often interfere with everyday life and are usually noticeable by others. 

What Does It Feel Like to Have a Manic Episode?

The beginning of a manic episode often starts with increased energy levels. Sometimes the episodes come without warning, and you may not realize something is wrong until someone else points it out or it’s too late.

For someone unfamiliar with bipolar disorder, they may assume that mania sounds enjoyable; however, mania is more than feeling energetic or extremely happy. Mania can be overwhelming and terrifying. What starts as excitement can turn disastrous quickly. 

Aside from high energy levels, you may notice a decreased need for sleep. This could look like feeling rested after only a few hours of sleep or not sleeping at all. Mania may cause racing thoughts that are hard to keep up with, and you may become hyper-focused on one or multiple projects. 

When having a conversation with someone, you may talk fast because you’re trying to keep up with your thoughts. At the same time, mania can cause you to become extremely irritable, so it’s possible that you’ll become annoyed with the person you’re speaking to. 

As symptoms progress, you begin to have a confidence boost, and you see yourself as invincible. You start feeling like you’re powerful and more important than everyone else.

Other things you could experience are impulsive decision-making like reckless spending or risky sex. If things get too bad, bipolar psychosis may set in.

There’s also another form of mania called hypomania. During hypomania, you’ll experience many of the same symptoms, but they are less severe. With mania, the higher you “fly,” the farther you fall. What goes up must come down. For many, once mania passes, symptoms of depression surface. 

Coping With Mania

While treatment for bipolar disorder often consists of a combination of therapy and medication, there are coping strategies you can implement when you’re experiencing mania. 

Reach Out for Support

If you begin to notice symptoms of mania, contact your mental health provider as soon as possible. They may recommend scheduling an appointment to see them immediately or offer other helpful suggestions. Likewise, reach out to those who are familiar with your diagnosis and ask for support. 

Identify Your Triggers

Identifying potential triggers before mania begins is vital. One way to do this is by keeping a journal where you write about your triggers. It may also be helpful to track your mood to better understand your symptoms and any patterns.

Continue Taking Your Medications as Prescribed

In the midst of a manic episode, you may feel like you no longer need your medication, but stopping them suddenly can be dangerous. It’s crucial that you continue taking your medication. 

Create a Wellness Recovery Action Plan

A wellness recovery action plan is essential to have just in case you’re in a crisis.

To be effective, your plan will need to include the following information:

  • Phone numbers of trusted family members, friends, and healthcare providers
  • Local crisis line and The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  • Medications you’re taking
  • Known triggers of mania
  • Your address and phone number
  • Things that have helped in the past

Keep copies of your plan in several places, including on your phone. 

Maintain Your Routine

Maintaining your routine is essential for managing bipolar disorder and minimizing manic episodes. Having structure in your daily life can make a huge difference in your stability. 

Watch Your Finances

It’s common for people with bipolar disorder to spend recklessly when they’re experiencing mania. To avoid this, try restricting your finances. Limit the amount of cash you keep on you or give your credit cards to someone you trust. 

Managing Manic Episodes

While mania can often be exhausting and terrifying, it doesn’t have to control your life. By following your treatment plan and utilizing helpful coping strategies, you can reduce manic episodes. 

As symptoms of mania progress, they may start to feel debilitating. You may feel like everything is moving so quickly that you can’t keep up or like you’ve lost touch with reality. What felt enjoyable in the beginning can quickly turn scary. Receiving treatment for bipolar disorder can help reduce episodes of mania. Here at Alter Wellness Care, we treat various mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder. What sets our facility apart from others is that we treat both the condition and the person. We offer different treatment modalities to ensure you receive quality care. Our outpatient programs are designed to help you become a healthier you. For more information about our program, call us at (866) 311-3510.

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