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What Is a Manic Episode?

Bipolar disorder impacts 2.8% of adults each year, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health. Of those individuals, an estimated 82.9% experience extreme disruptions to their daily life. Bipolar is characterized by shifts in mood that alternate between depressive episodes and manic episodes. 

Both the depressive and the manic episodes impact your quality of life in different ways. Dr. Hadi Estakhri at Allied Psychiatry and Mental Health can treat bipolar disorder with a customized treatment plan so you can reclaim your life.

In the meantime, it’s normal to have questions about bipolar disorder. If you or a family member is newly diagnosed, this guide can help you understand more about manic episodes and what you can do to lessen their impact.

What is a manic episode?

A manic episode is an emotional state associated with an intense, elevated, or irritable mood. Manic episodes can last for at least one week. While an elevated mood might not seem problematic at first, it’s important to note it's more than just feeling excited. The symptoms of a manic episode are a departure from your normal behaviors and actions.

A manic episode is so intense it can impact your ability to perform well at work. It can also impact your personal relationships.

Signs of a manic episode

There are many observable signs and symptoms of a manic episode. Here are six of most the most common:

1. Decreased need for sleep

If you’re experiencing a depressive episode associated with bipolar disorder, you might find yourself sleeping more often. On the other hand, the need for sleep dramatically decreases during a manic episode. It’s not unusual to go to bed and wake up only a few short hours later, energized and ready to tackle a new project.

2. Multitasking

Everyone multitasks now and then, but multitasking during a manic episode is the next level of multitasking. As thoughts continue to race, you might even notice you’re speaking quickly to keep up with your thoughts. 

3. Easily distracted

Another common sign of a manic episode is what’s called a flight of ideas. During this time, the mind jumps quickly from one idea to the next. 

4. Increased engagement in risky behaviors

Risky behaviors include gambling or even hypersexuality. That said, these behaviors aren't just related to illicit activities. For example, a lavish spending spree might be considered a sign of a manic episode, especially if you normally don’t go on spending sprees.

5. Increased irritability and hostility 

During a manic episode, it’s normal to feel irritable or moody. However, if you notice you're acting hostile or voicing thoughts about suicide, it's important to recognize these signs as a mental health emergency and seek immediate psychiatric care.

6. Inflated sense of self

Are you becoming delusional? This might be another sign of a manic episode. These delusions are driven by an inflated sense of self. Examples include:

Tip: When looking at signs of a manic episode, it’s important to compare the deviations from normal behavior.

Treatment for manic episodes

If you spot the signs of a manic episode, it’s important to look at the whole picture — in this case, bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is often treated with mood stabilizers and therapy. Antipsychotics may also be used to treat acute manic episodes.

In addition to psychiatric care, there are many lifestyle changes that can help you or a loved one. Self-care includes regular exercise, following a well-rounded diet, sticking with recommended medication schedules. You might also find it helps to keep a journal.

The right treatment can improve the quality of your life

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition. Left untreated, it can make it hard to enjoy life. Whether you’re dealing with a manic episode or a depressive state, we can help you get back on track.

At Allied Psychiatry and Mental Health, we can diagnose and treat bipolar disorder. To learn more about your options, call our Newport Beach, California clinic at 949-258-7135. You can also visit our website to schedule an appointment.

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