What are Bipolar Manic Episodes?
Bipolar manic episodes often affect people who suffer from bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a severe, long-term mental illness that causes constantly changing dramatic mood swings. It is divided into two episodes where a person with bipolar disorder will alternate between a manic phase and experience ‘highs’ (periods of euphoria) and ‘lows’ (periods of low mood or depression).
What Causes Bipolar Manic Episodes?
The exact cause is not known but scientists believe that genetic factors may contribute to this disorder. The duration of both the manic and depressive phases varies from person to person – some may experience brief periods which will last for a few hours to days while others may experience longer periods that last for several weeks or even months.
Although bipolar disorder is recurring, periods of normal functioning do occur and individuals can often experience stable moods for up to three months between episodes of mania or depression. This disorder is manageable if treatment is sought and people can lead full, productive lives.
Diagnosing Bipolar Manic Episodes
A bipolar manic episode is characterized by extreme elation, irrationals levels of self-importance and irritability followed by delusional patterns. A milder form of mania is known as hypomania which is associated with people being extremely productive, creative, energetic, overflowing with new ideas and highly confident. Unlike with manic episodes, people with hypomania have coherent thoughts and can function in daily activities. If left untreated, it can escalate into full-blown mania.
During the manic phase, the individual may display aggressive, volatile, provocative and exaggerated behaviors. The individual will often speak loudly, be involved in highly vocal arguments, take to wearing flamboyant clothing and behave completely out of character. A preoccupation with sexual activity and religion is also quite common.
Because the manic individual believes that he or she is invincible, he or she is on an incredible ‘high’ and not feel the need to sleep. As a result, after a few days of being sleep-deprived, psychosis may surface. This type of behavior puts the sufferer as well as others at risk, and causes serious problems in both personal and work relationships.
Symptoms and signs of bipolar manic episodes include:
- Rapid speech and talkativeness
- Racing thoughts
- Highly energetic or restless
- Distracted and problems with concentration
- Increased sexual drive or risky sexual activity
- Aggressive, intrusive or provocative behavior
- Poor judgement
- Grandiose ideas and plans
- Unrealistic belief in powers and abilities
- Reduced need for sleep (may only need 3 or 4 hours of sleep)
- Questionable business transactions
- Wasteful spending sprees
- Abuse of alcohol and drugs
Help for Bipolar Manic Episodes
Episodes of mania that occur during bipolar disorder are recurring, and usually require a lifelong combination of medication and psychosocial therapies. Medications that are prescribed to treat mania or hypomania include mood stabilizers such as lithium, anti-psychotic drugs, anticonvulsants or sedatives.
These medications may cause side effects so make sure that you inform your doctor or psychiatrist about any other medications that you may be taking or any side effects you experience. Psychosocial therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, psychoeducation and interpersonal and social rhythm therapy – which help to improve interpersonal relationships and normalize daily routines.
Herbal and homeopathic remedies can also provide relief for severe mood swings, emotional outbursts and manic behavior. These natural treatments effective yet gentle on the body’s system without the risk of negative reactions. Homeopathic ingredients such as Kali. Phosphoricum, Nat. sulphuricum, Tarentula and Hyoscyamus niger helps to control excitability, agitation and emotional outbursts and promote a balanced mood while supporting the brain and nervous system.
More Information on Bipolar Manic Episodes
Tips to manage Bipolar Manic Episodes
There are several steps that can be taken to manage manic episodes to help you and your loved ones cope better with this lifelong illness and these include:
- Identify early warning signs and seek treatment as soon as possible
- Learn as much as you can about bipolar disorder so that you can become more informed and manage it better
- Stick to a regular routine by eating meals at the same time everyday, exercising and maintaining healthy sleep routines to minimize the onset of mood swings
- Be realistic and patient about your illness, be prepared for setbacks occasionally
- Monitor your symptoms and mood daily by recording them in a journal so that you can check whether you heading for a mood swing
- Avoid triggers such as alcohol, caffeine, drug use or stress that may worsen manic episodes
- Surround yourself with a support network of family and friends who can be there for you when you experience a manic mood episode
- Reduce stress in your work and personal life by speaking to your doctor about various coping mechanisms
- Seek counseling if you or a loved one are having trouble coping with manic episodes