6 Signs Of A Bipolar Disorder Manic Episode

This article is for informative purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Please reach out to a qualified mental health professional if you feel that you have a disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by manic highs and depressive lows that cycle between each other. People who are experiencing mania are typically thought of as extremely energetic, productive, and overly excitable people, however it goes much deeper than that and has the potential for serious negative consequences if left untreated. To better understand what a manic episode is, in this article, we’ll be looking at six signs.

What Is a Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder can refer to one of a few disorders. Typically, people with any type of bipolar experience periods of increased moods, energy levels, and productivity (mania) but also can experience episodes of severe hopelessness, sadness, and low energy (depression) (Mayo Clinic 2021). The three most common types of bipolar are:

  • Bipolar I disorder: characterized by alternating manic episode and a depressive episode.
  • Bipolar II disorder: Similar to bipolar I, but instead of experiencing a manic episode, you experience a milder form known as hypomania.
  • Cyclothymic disorder: combination of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but typically less severe than what is found in bipolar II.
  • Other types of bipolar exist that are usually caused by other medical conditions or substance use.

(Source: Mayo Clinic 2021)

To better understand what exactly a manic episode is, let’s look at some signs. Because this article is focusing on manic episodes in particular, we will be referring specifically to bipolar I.

1. Euphoria and Increased Irritability

People with bipolar I can have an extremely elevated or agitated mood compared to their normal selves. They may report feeling high due to how good they feel (WebMD 2005). This increased mood can come with a lot of talkativeness, self-confidence, and reckless behavior. While this symptom may seem desirable, it can alienate oneself from others and lead the way to self-destructive behaviors, like impulsivity, excessive spending, and risk taking (HelpGuide 2021).

2. Grandiosity

Bipolar I’s mania comes with a lot of elevation. Grandiosity is another form of it. People with the disorder can be filled with an overwhelming sense of confidence and may even believe that they have special powers (Mayo Clinic 2021). They can be full of creative ideas and feel that they have the X factor. They may take on more responsibilities than what would make sense and also make huge decisions with little thought about them (Helpguide 2021). 

3. Extreme Energy and a Lesser Need For Sleep

Bipolar I can also come with an abundance of energy. When experiencing this, they may not sleep for days at a time or get by with very little of it. They can feel wired, despite only sleeping a couple hours (Purse 2021a). 

4. Impulsivity

Bipolar can come with a lot of reckless behavior. People in a manic episode may find themselves spending excessively and putting little thought into the consequences (Rethink Mental Illness 2021). Similarly, they may partake in sexual activities, alcohol/drug use, or gambling excessively, even if it would be completely out of character for them to do so (HelpGuide 2021). Another negative side effect to this is that they can become extremely angry and pick fights with people over small things. These behaviors can all lead to serious consequences that are not immediately recognized in the moment (Medstar Health 2021).

5. Changes In Thought Patterns

Bipolar disorder can drastically change the way a person thinks. They may jump from one idea to the next rapidly and/or have difficulties focusing on one thing (WebMD 2005). In some cases, people can become increasingly religious, even if they never were before (Purse 2021b). They may take their religiosity extremely seriously and push it upon others. In many cases, they will have some degree to total memory loss of their manic episode, therefore not knowing the full extent of their actions (Fast 2021). 

6. Delusions and Hallucinations

Delusions and hallucinations are not as common in bipolar as the other symptoms are, but are a possibility. People with these may become suspicious of others and have odd beliefs (Rethink Mental Illness 2021). It is possible for people in the manic phase to believe that they have superhuman capabilities and may hear, see, or feel things that are not real (Mayo Clinic 2021). Hospitalization may be ideal in these situations.

While people experiencing mania are thought to be overly excitable, productive, and energetic, they are also presented with some serious challenges. Bipolar, like any mental health disorder should be treated by the appropriate mental health professional. Getting in touch with the right person is a great step towards a better well-being. Let us know your thoughts on this topic. What did you learn? What are some other signs of a manic episode? Let us know in the comments!

References:

  • Fast, J. A. (2021, September 1). Do People “Black Out” in Manic Episodes? BpHope.Com. www.bphope.com/blog/do-people-black-out-in-manic-episodes/
  • HelpGuide. (2021, May 14). Bipolar Disorder Signs and Symptoms. HelpGuide.Org. www.helpguide.org/articles/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-disorder-signs-and-symptoms.htm
  • Mayo Clinic. (2021, February 16). Bipolar disorder – Symptoms and causes. www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355955
  • MedStar Health. (2021). Bipolar disorder. www.medstarharbor.org/our-services/behavioral-health/conditions/bipolar-disorder/
  • Purse, M. (2020, June 11). What Is a Manic Episode? Verywell Mind. www.verywellmind.com/how-to-recognize-a-manic-or-hypomanic-episode-380316
  • Purse, M. (2021a, April 6). How Do You Spot Signs of Bipolar Mania in Yourself and Others? Verywell Mind. www.verywellmind.com/symptoms-of-mania-380311
  • Purse, M. (2021b, April 30). How Bipolar Disorder Can Create Harmful Delusions With Religion. Verywell Mind. www.verywellmind.com/religious-factors-in-bipolar-disorder-380485
  • Rethink Mental Illness. (2021). Bipolar Disorder. www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/about-mental-illness/learn-more-about-conditions/bipolar-disorder/
  • WebMD. (2002, March 1). Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/understanding-bipolar-disorder-symptoms
  • WebMD. (2005, March 25). Hypomania and Mania in Bipolar Disorder. www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/hypomania-mania-symptoms#1-2

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