During a manic episode, a person will experience feelings of high energy, creativity, and possibly joy. They’ll talk very rapidly, get very little sleep, and may act hyperactively. They may also feel invincible, which can lead to risk-taking behaviours.
Some common symptoms of a manic episode include:
- an unusually “high” or optimistic attitude
- extreme irritability
- unreasonable ideas about one’s skills or power — they may criticize partners or family members for not being as “accomplished” as they perceive themselves to be
- abundant energy
- racing thoughts that jump between different ideas
- being simply distracted
- trouble concentrating
- impulsiveness and poor judgment
- reckless behaviour with no thought about consequences
- delusions and hallucinations (less common)
During these episodes, a person with bipolar disorder may act recklessly. Sometimes they go as far as endangering their own life or the lives of people around them. Remember that this person can’t fully control their actions during episodes of mania. Therefore, it’s not always an option to try to cause with them to try to stop behaving a certain way.
It can be helpful to keep an eye out for the warning signs of a manic episode so that you can react accordingly. People with bipolar disorder may show different symptoms, but some common warning signs include:
- a very sudden lift in mood
- an unrealistic sense of optimism
- sudden impatience and irritability
- a surge in energy and talkativeness
- an expression of unreasonable ideas
- spending money in reckless or irresponsible ways
How to help during a manic episode
How to react depends on the severity of the person’s manic episode. In some cases, doctors may recommend that the person rise their medication, take a different medication, or even be brought to the hospital for treatment. Keep in mind that convincing your loved one to go to the hospital may not be easy. This is because they feel really good during these periods and are convinced that nothing is wrong with them.
In general, try to avoid entertaining any grand or unrealistic ideas from your loved one, as this may increase their likelihood to engage in risky behaviour. Talk calmly to the person and encourage them to contact their medical provider to discuss the changes in their symptoms.
Taking care of yourself
Some people find that living with a person with a chronic mental health condition like bipolar disorder can be hard. Negative behaviours exhibited by someone who is manic are often focused on those closest to them.