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Seeing a loved one experience mania or a manic episode can be alarming. Trying to help someone in a manic episode can be even more challenging. The good news is that many helpful tips, tools, and techniques can be effectively utilized to help a loved one get to the place they need to best recover.

What is a Manic Episode?

A manic episode can be intense and can last for an extended period of time without the help of professional intervention or support. As stated in Doctors Dailey and Saadabadi’s clinical write-up titled Mania, “Mania is a period of 1 week or more in which a person experiences a change in normal behavior that drastically affects their functioning. Mania can be distinguished from hypomania in that hypomania does not cause a major deficit in social or occupational functioning, and involves a period of at least 4 days rather than at least 1 week.” 

The timeframe is crucial in determining what type of mania an individual is struggling with. Further, an individual may be struggling with mania that may have manifested from many different places.

What Disorders Are Commonly Associated With Having Manic Episodes?

Manic episodes can manifest from the excessive use of alcohol and/or substances, a bad reaction to prescription medication, a situation that causes excessive stress, or a situation that causes significant trauma. However, the majority of people who experience manic episodes struggle with some form of mental illness. The most common of these mania-inducing mental illnesses is bipolar disorder (in particular, bipolar I disorder). Many people may not realize just how prevalent bipolar disorder is. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “An estimated 4.4% of U.S. adults experience bipolar disorder at some time in their lives.” 

So then, what is bipolar disorder, and more concisely, what is bipolar I disorder? According to NIMH, “Bipolar I disorder is defined by manic episodes that last at least 7 days (most of the day, nearly every day) or when manic symptoms are so severe that hospital care is needed. Usually, separate depressive episodes occur as well, typically lasting at least 2 weeks. Episodes of mood disturbance with mixed features are also possible.” If one knows what to look for these manic episodes can be quite distinctive.

How to Recognize a Manic Episode

Manic episodes have set criteria that define them. While there may be some slight variations, these defining characteristics are present no matter how the mania manifests. The following are just a few of those characteristics:

  • Exhibiting rapid speech patterns
  • Feeling a decreased need for sleep
  • Having “racing thoughts” and trouble controlling one’s thoughts
  • Becoming easily distracted
  • Feeling elevated in mood
  • Becoming more impulsive
  • Expressing grandiose ideas
  • Becoming more irritable and/or agitated
  • Exhibiting delusional behaviors
  • An increase in talkativeness

If any, some, or all of these symptoms are present in a loved one, it is highly recommended that professional help be sought as soon as possible. Doing so may mean the difference between short-term side effects and long-term consequences.

How to Help a Loved One Who Is Having a Manic Episode

The best thing to do as one starts to help a loved one having a manic episode is to talk to them in a calm and measured fashion. Just because an individual is having a manic episode does not mean that they are incapable of understanding that they may be experiencing something negative.

The next thing to do is reach out to a professional for help. This may be a primary care physician or a doctor at a local clinic. Even if they are not versed in manic episodes and their related disorders, they will have connections with people who do. This will most likely be a mental health specialist and/or a reputable recovery center. They will know how to best help someone who is in a manic episode. 

The most common treatment options for someone having a manic episode are medication and therapy. Medication will help take care of the physical symptoms, while therapy can help to get to some of the underlying issues that may be causing the mania and/or related disorders, such as bipolar I disorder.

The Importance of Individualized Mental Health and Addiction Care at The Phoenix Recovery Center

“One-size-fits-all” recovery rarely works. Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, we know that no two individual’s mental health journeys are the same, which is why we only utilize individualized recovery plans.

Recovery is all about personal connection and getting each client exactly what they need to heal at the cellular level. We must remember that recovery is about the journey, not the destination. Let us help start that journey off on the right foot.

Seeing a loved one experiencing a manic episode can be frightening. This is especially true if one does not understand what a manic episode is. For this reason, it can be beneficial to know the basics of what mania is, and how to help someone who is experiencing a manic episode. This includes knowing how to reach out to professionals when the person having the episode becomes a danger to themselves or others. If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with mania or any other issues of addiction or mental illness, we can help. For more information about how to help someone who is having a manic episode, call The Phoenix Recovery Center at (801) 438-3185.

The Phoenix Recovery Center
489 W. South Jordan Pkwy
Suite 400
South Jordan, UT