Manic episodes are often misunderstood not only by those experiencing them but by observers. Many think of a manic episode as just a very good mood or period of extraordinary productivity, but this is inaccurate. Manic episodes are characterized by an exceptionally elevated or irritable mood, racing thoughts, intense energy, and other extreme or exaggerated behaviors. During a manic episode, individuals can also experience psychosis, including delusions and hallucinations.
Manic episodes are symptoms of mental health disorders. They are most commonly associated with bipolar I disorder but can also occur with seasonal affective disorder, schizoaffective disorder, postpartum psychosis, and cyclothymia. No matter the cause, manic episodes can be dangerous to one’s well-being and are best treated through a professional psychotherapy program.
Harmony Hills provides comprehensive, evidence-based, holistic mental health and dual diagnosis treatment to individuals and their families. Call us at 855.494.0357 to discover how our psychotherapy program can benefit you or a loved one.
What Does a Manic Episode Look Like?
When considering whether you or a loved one is having a manic episode, it is essential to understand the difference between hypomania and mania. Hypomania is a milder mania that lasts between four and seven days. Hypomania typically does not interfere with daily functioning. By contract, mania is severe, lasts at least one week, and is highly disruptive to everyday functioning.
During a manic episode, the changes in the physical and mental activity must be noticeably different from a person’s usual behavior. Individuals have poor judgment, leading to risk-taking behaviors, which can put themselves and others in danger. Those experiencing a manic episode often require hospitalization to stabilize acute symptoms.
Learn to Recognize the Signs of a Manic Episode
The exact causes of manic episodes are unclear and unique to each individual. Likely contributing factors include a combination of genetics, brain chemistry, personality characteristics, and environmental factors.
Frequent signs and symptoms of a manic episode include, but are not limited to the following:
- A high level of energy and activity that feels chaotic
- Euphoric happiness or extreme irritability and discontent
- Not sleeping or having a significantly reduced need for sleep but still feeling rested
- Racing thoughts or thoughts on multiple topics at once
- Talking very fast and making it difficult for others to keep up
- An increased desire for food, alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, etc
- Feelings of grandiosity, invincibility, or over-confidence in one’s abilities
- Experiencing hallucinations and delusions
- Behaving impulsively or recklessly
- Being obsessed with or entirely absorbed by an activity
Manic episodes cannot be prevented, but you can take steps to lessen the effects. Taking medications as prescribed, eating a balanced diet, maintaining healthy sleep habits, and avoiding triggers such as caffeine, drugs, alcohol, and stress can all help reduce minor mood swings that can lead to more severe mania.
What Happens When a Manic Episode is Ending?
A manic episode typically lasts for approximately three-and-a-half months. However, untreated manic episodes can last up to six months or longer. A manic episode can sometimes be less than three months with effective treatment, particularly if caught early. For the most part, however, you must let it take its course.
Signs that indicate a manic episode is coming to an end can include:
- Feeling embarrassed by your behaviors
- Slowing down and feeling less pressed and urgent
- Making fewer impulsive decisions
- Feeling more tired and requiring more sleep
- Feeling overwhelmed by the commitments you made
- Being able to think more slowly and clearly
- Starting to feel sad or depressed
Many people have fuzzy or no recollection of what they did and said during a manic episode, making them feel ashamed, guilty, or embarrassed. When a manic episode ends, you should see your doctor and therapist and return to your everyday routine as quickly as possible.
Contact Harmony Hills Today
At Harmony Hills, we understand the potential dangers of a manic episode and the destruction it can cause. Our highly-trained treatment team is well-versed in helping address the acute symptoms of a manic episode in a safe environment. We can provide a comprehensive assessment to determine a proper diagnosis and develop an individualized treatment plan for your unique needs. Contact Harmony Hills today at 855.494.0357 to learn more.