Living with someone experiencing a manic episode can be difficult. Manic episodes can interfere with everyday life and hinder the quality of relationships. Likewise, finding help for a loved one dealing with manic episodes can be just as difficult. One may not know where or how to approach this subject in a constructive and safe way.
However, we love them and want to help them manage these manic episodes. Therefore, it is important to seek education about the complexities of manic episodes to best prepare to help a loved one. Education will support a healthy approach to the subject by asking the right questions and ultimately getting the proper diagnosis and treatment a loved one needs.
Bipolar I Mania Explained
Based on statistics found in the American Psychiatric Association 2022, approximately 90% of people with bipolar disorder have a first-degree relative with a mood disorder. Environmental factors such as drugs or alcohol, sleep deprivation, and stress can also impact mood. Overall, bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain which causes mood instability.
When a person experiences a manic or hypomanic episode, bipolar I disorder is diagnosed. A person with bipolar I disorder may suddenly show an intense increase in hyperactivity and feel almost invincible to the world. Feelings of strong irritability can also occur. Depressive or hypomanic episodes may be prevalent, although people with this condition may still have periods of an even-keeled mood.
Symptoms of a Manic Episode
According to The National Institute of Health, last reviewed in September 2022, people with bipolar disorder experience unusual behaviors without realizing the harm that may come with it and its unfavorable effects. These diverse periods are known as mood episodes. They are quite different from the behaviors of a typical person.
An episode can last every day for the majority of the day. Episodes can last up to several days and even weeks. Some people may feel both manic and depressed at the same time with mixed features. For example, feeling sad and energized at the same time.
Symptoms of a manic episode consist of:
- Feeling intense euphoria
- Restless and fidgety
- Experience Insomnia
- Rapidly talking about a flight of ideas
- Doing many things at once without fatigue
- Racing thoughts
- Urge to engage in pleasurable activities such as binge eating, sexual activity, or drinking
- Feeling invincible
- Going on spending sprees
- Feeling severely irritable
What Triggers a Manic Episode?
Taking precautions can prevent a manic episode. Caffeine acts as a mood elevator; therefore, the stimulant can trigger mania. Steering clear of foods and beverages with caffeine may be an effective choice. Saying no to smoking cigarettes can be a good move, as nicotine acts as a depressant and stimulant. Staying away from illicit drugs and alcohol is a responsible choice, as they can alter the chemicals in your brain. Each can affect your mood and significantly cause fatigue the following day.
Not getting enough sleep can put our loved ones at risk for manic episodes. Sleep deprivation can highly affect their mood and physical health over time. Sticking to the same sleep routine can help build structure and motivate positive results.
Overall, making responsible choices in one’s daily lifestyle and diet can drastically change the outcome of triggering a manic episode.
How to Manage an Episode Safely
We cannot always prevent a manic episode, but we can certainly do our best to prevent one. When the episodes arise, it may make the people around the individual uncomfortable because it is considered different. There are ways to help a loved one manage and work through the episode together.
- Help the individual recognize the symptoms (red flags)
- Be patient and listen to the person’s feelings
- Share that you are concerned
- Help your loved one form a routine
- Make sure medication is taken every day at the same time
- Take care of the house and ask if they need to get some rest
- Contact a health professional for help
Professional Treatment for Mania
Bipolar disorder and mania can be challenging to live with, but professional treatment can help ease a loved one’s symptoms. Meeting with a psychiatrist, taking medication, and receiving psychotherapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are just a few options when considering a treatment plan.
Many people with bipolar disorder also use substances to cope and ease symptoms. However, substance use can essentially trigger or worsen manic episodes. Treatment programs can be beneficial, and hospitalization is a last resort if their mania is deemed unsafe and hinders their ability to function daily.
Seeking professional help will ensure that the individual and their family receive the care they need. A professional can help with diagnosis and treatment, plus educate the family to help their loved one cope with the disorder.
Taking time to educate yourself on bipolar disorder and manic episodes can help you assist your loved one who is struggling. Recognizing the symptoms and learning what triggers each manic episode can keep you both prepared for when mania sets in. Studying management strategies is highly beneficial but if your loved one is in need of professional help Alter Behavioral Health is here for ongoing support. We provide individualized assistance to help you meet every aspect of your well-being. Our staff is fully dedicated to helping you transition into a comfortable, healthy, and happy lifestyle. Our team is ready to help you with any questions you may have to get started. Call us at (866) 691-4386.