How Is Mania Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history, family medical history, current prescriptions and non-prescription medications and any herbal products or supplements you take. Your provider may order blood tests and body scans to rule out other conditions that may mimic mania. One such condition is hyperthyroidism. If other diseases and conditions are ruled out, your provider may refer you to a mental health specialist
To be diagnosed with mania, your mental health specialist may follow the criteria of the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5. Their criteria for manic episode is:
- You have an abnormal, long-lasting elevated expression of emotion along with a high degree of energy and activity that lasts for at least one week and is present most of the day, nearly every day.
- You have three or more symptoms to a degree that theyre a noticeable change from your usual behavior .
- The mood disturbance is severe enough to cause significant harm to your social, work or school functioning or theres a need to hospitalize you to prevent you from harming yourself or others, or you have psychotic features, such as hallucinations or delusions.
- The manic episode cant be caused by the effects of a substance or another medical condition.
Be An Active Participant In Your Treatment
When you receive treatment, make sure that youre playing an active role in whatever that plan is. Take the time to learn about the disorder, understand all the ways in which it impacts you and ask questions.
A big part of figuring out how to deal with bipolar disorder is getting to know yourself. Learn more about your specific symptoms and see if you can identify any situations or triggers that you might need to avoid.
Once you learn more about bipolar and yourself, you can be a collaborator along with your doctor or therapist to plan your treatment. Be someone who asks questions and shares your concerns. If you have a treatment provider you arent comfortable collaborating with or talking to honestly, its okay to find someone different who can be a better partner with you on your journey.
The Stress Of A Bad Breakup Or Failed Marriage
A number of people with bipolar disorder especially those with a history of severe manic episodes have failed marriages. If youre going through a divorce, working with your therapist through what is often a drawn-out and extremely stressful process can help.
You might consider a durable power of attorney that allows someone else to make major decisions for you, such as financial ones, when you are going through an episode of depression or mania in relation to or during a breakup.
In fact, assigning a durable power of attorney could be useful for anyone who might be experiencing an episode of bipolar disorder.
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Learn Their Warning Signs And Triggers
Most people have some warning signs that they’re about to experience a mood episode.
Many people will also have triggers, such as stress, which can bring on an episode. Try to:
- Talk to your friend, partner or family member about their warning signs, exploring what they may be.
- Gently let them knowif you’ve noticed certain behaviours that normally happen before an episode.
- Understand what their triggers are and how you can help avoid or manage them.
“Having a father with bipolar is definitely a worry you ride the highs and lows with them. Looking out for patterns, talking, remaining calm and supportive is essential.”
How To Recognize Bipolar Disorder Triggers
Unexpected fluctuations in mood and activity can characterize bipolar disorder. These mood episodes intrinsic to bipolar disorder might sometimes appear spontaneous and unpredictable, but certain triggers can also cause them. You may be able to identify triggers when a generally easygoing individual starts to grow irritable. You can also look for signs of an impending shift to mania or depression based on certain signs.
Understanding and recognizing the triggers and signs for bipolar disorder is extremely helpful as a part of a treatment plan to help your loved one avoid stressful situations, maintain stable moods, and seek treatment after a reaction has already occurred. It also helps to know what to expect and seek the necessary resources when your loved one is going through a challenging time.
The following are some of the most common early warning signals of a manic episode:
Changes in sleep routines or sleep deprivation
Sleep disruptions can serve as a trigger for depressive episodes and mood shifts. According to research, sleep deprivation is the most frequently reported trigger of mood episodes in people who have bipolar disorder.¹
Drug or alcohol use
Drug and alcohol use for recreational purposes are well-known bipolar disorder triggers resulting in bouts of manic or hypomanic behavior or depressed episodes due to several neurological causes. When it comes to bipolar disorder, heavy, long-term alcohol and drug use is especially a matter of great concern.
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Recovering From A Manic Episode
In the recovery period, its time to start regaining control over your life and schedule. Discuss with your mental health provider and loved ones what youve learned from the episode, such as possible triggers. You can also start reestablishing a schedule for sleeping, eating, and exercising.
Its important to think about what you can learn from this episode and how you can help yourself in the future. This will help you engage later in mania prevention.
Following a manic episode, many people gain insight into what may lead to their episodes. Examples of common mania triggers can include:
- drinking alcohol or abusing illegal drugs
- staying up all night and skipping sleep
- hanging out with others known to be an unhealthy influence
- going off your regular diet or exercise program
- stopping or skipping your medications
- skipping therapy sessions
Keeping yourself on a routine as much as possible can help reduce manic episodes. But keep in mind that it wont prevent them altogether.
If you or a loved one has bipolar disorder, there are certain key preparations you may wish to make.
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How Bipolar Disorder Affects Mood
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder. This means it may cause a variety of symptoms, but that it mostly affects your mood: how you feel and react to your environment, your attitude and temperament, and how you relate to others. The main symptom of this condition is a cycle of mood changes, between depression and mania.
Depressed moods cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, and worthlessness. They make you feel fatigued, apathetic, and disinterested in normal activities. You may become withdrawn and struggle to find pleasure in things you otherwise enjoy. It can also affect you physically, causing changes in how you sleep or eat.
Mania as a mood is in many ways the opposite of depression, but it is still not healthy. During a manic mood, you may feel jumpy, wired, agitated, and even euphoric. Your confidence will soar and you feel energetic and like you cant stop moving or doing. Your thoughts and talking may race, and you will probably sleep less. Mania causes you to get distracted easily and to make poor decisions. Some people experience a milder form of this mood, known as hypomania.
Beyond Treatment: Things You Can Do
Regular Exercise: Regular aerobic exercise, such as jogging, brisk walking, swimming, or bicycling, helps with depression and anxiety, promotes better sleep, and is healthy for your heart and brain. There is also some evidence that anaerobic exercise such as weightlifting, yoga, and Pilates can be helpful. Check with your health care provider before you start a new exercise regimen.
Keeping a Life Chart: Even with proper treatment, mood changes can occur. Treatment is more effective when a patient and health care provider work together and talk openly about concerns and choices. Keeping a life chart that records daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events can help patients and health care providers track and treat bipolar disorder over time. Patients can easily share data collected via smartphone apps including self-reports, self- ratings, and activity data with their health care providers and therapists.
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Youre Just Overreacting Again
Overreacting is a symptom of bipolar disorder, but phrases like this minimize the persons experience of this symptom. When supporting a loved one living with a mental health condition like bipolar disorder, its important that your words demonstrate empathy rather than exasperation.
Your loved one may very well be overreacting compared to how you would perceive the situation, but describing their feelings as just overreacting trivializes their lived experience and communicates shame rather than compassion.
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What Is Bipolar I Disorder
Bipolar I disorder is a mental health illness in which a person has major high and low swings in mood, activity, energy and ability to think clearly. To be diagnosed with bipolar I disorder, you have to have at least one episode of mania that lasts for at least seven days or have an episode that is so severe that it requires hospitalization.
Most people have both episodes of both mania and depression, but you dont have to have depression to be diagnosed with mania. Many people with a bipolar I disorder diagnosis have recurring, back-to-back manic episodes with very few episodes of depression.
Get Angry At The Disease Not The Person
Its natural to get angry at the person who is causing you pain. When manic, persons with bipolar disorder can be horribly insensitive and inconsiderate. When depressed, he or she may be self-absorbed. Placing the infuriating and frustrating behavior within the context of the disorder can help you place the blame with the disease, not the person. Fight the illness, not your loved one.
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Bipolar Anger: A Source Of Embarrassment
Many with bipolar disorder don’t discuss the anger problems that are associated with the moodswings of mania and depression. Why? Because they’re embarrassed that they can’t control it. In an article for BP Hope Magazine, HealthyPlace bipolar consumer expert and mental health author, Julie Fast, describes her battle with anger and bipolar:
“There are many people in jail because of their anger and bipolar behavior. Children who threaten their parents, women who punch a co-worker, or men who pick fights with strangers are common among people who have this illness. We dont discuss it much, because so many people are embarrassed by what they have done. All my life, Ive lived with the embarrassment of mood swings. Indeed, bipolar affects my moods in so many ways that its hard to keep track of what is real and what is caused by faulty wiring in my brain.
In addition to the symptoms of bipolar, there are drugs, including various steroids, that are notorious for causing anger. But no matter what causes the bipolar person to be angry, the question is: How do you deal with a person who’s bipolar and angry?
What Are The Symptoms Of Mania
Symptoms of a manic episode
- Having an abnormally high level of activity or energy.
- Feeling extremely happy or excited even euphoric.
- Not sleeping or only getting a few hours of sleep but still feeling rested.
- Having an inflated self-esteem, thinking youre invincible.
- Being more talkative than usual. Talking so much and so fast that others cant interrupt.
- Having racing thoughts having lots of thoughts on lots of topics at the same time .
- Being easily distracted by unimportant or unrelated things.
- Being obsessed with and completely absorbed in an activity.
- Displaying purposeless movements, such as pacing around your home or office or fidgeting when youre sitting.
- Showing impulsive behavior that can lead to poor choices, such as buying sprees, reckless sex or foolish business investments.
Psychotic symptoms of a manic episode
- Delusions. Delusions are false beliefs or ideas that are incorrect interpretations of information. An example is a person thinking that everyone they see is following them.
- Hallucinations. Having a hallucination means you see, hear, taste, smell or feel things that arent really there. An example is a person hearing the voice of someone and talking to them when theyre not really there.
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Learn To Recognize Legitimate Anger
Sometimes the pendulum can swing too far in the other direction: Any signs of anger and irritation get dismissed as just part of the bipolar, even when theyre justified. Thats why developing the skills to have a calm, frank discussion focused on perceived problems, not personalities, matters so much.
That conversation isnt likely to happen once symptomatic irritability or anger take hold, however. Years of experience have taught Anna when to try to talk to her husband and when to simply leave the room.
Sometimes he cant be reasoned with, she says of her husband, Jack, a television executive from Connecticut.
If Jacks vehemence is out of proportion to the situation, Anna will leave him alone. Shes also grown familiar with the situations that tend to set him off. Although hes much better at recognizing and defusing his anger these days, she says, she still gets tense when theyre in the car together, especially when theres traffic.
Bad drivers and rude people can start my clock ticking, admits Jack, 61, and then I imagine all sorts of arguments with the offending person. I can almost feel my blood pressure rise.
Now that his bipolar is under control with medication, he usually has enough clarity to hit pause when hes getting stirred up. That wasnt always the case.
I got myself into trouble before, he admits, recalling one encounter with a fellow customer at a gas station that ended with him in police custody.
It Must Be Your Time Of The Month
While it’s true that monthly hormonal changes may affect mood, passing off bipolar disorder as being nothing more than PMS is just wrong. Bipolar disorder also doesn’t discriminate: It can affect people of all sexesnot just those who menstruate. Any person is liable to take offense at this statement, let alone a person with bipolar disorder.
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Be Patient And Stay Optimistic
Bipolar disorder is a long-term condition, so the symptoms will come and go throughout a persons life. The disorder is unpredictable, with symptom-free periods alternating with extreme mood episodes. For the sake of the person with bipolar disorder, try to stay patient and optimistic. This can help them stay on track to living a full, healthy life.
How To Deal With Bipolar Disorder: 10 Ways To Cope
Although there is no cure or quick fix for bipolar disorder, with the right strategies, you can improve your overall quality of life and functionality. Once you receive the right medication and therapy for your needs, the following are some other strategies you can use for overcoming bipolar disorder.
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Anything That Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger
Yes, it’s true that some people go through difficult experiences, learn from them, and come out of them stronger. But this phrase is wrongbipolar disorder can kill. At least 25% to 60% of people with bipolar disorder attempt suicide and between 4% and 16% die from suicide.
Leave this cliche out of your repertoire. If you have a friend or family member with bipolar disorder, be aware that they might go into a crisis and need your support.
If you or a loved one are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
Recognize When You Need To Back Away And Gently Verbalize It
Sometimes, you will need to back away from a situation with someone who has bipolar disorder. But how do you do so without offending them and making the situation worse?
First of all, remember your own need for self-care. If your involvement with this person is causing you to throw your own needs to the wind, pause. Take a breath and back up. If this person is someone you work with, remember to keep your work and home lives as separate as possible. If this person is a friend or family member, you might need to consider letting go of the reigns and giving control over their situation to a licensed professional.
Your loved one has their limits so do you. Focus on your own life while still lending your support. Get support for yourself if you start feeling overwhelmed. Caregivers, in particular, get overwhelmed quickly, and that is when it can be truly helpful to talk to your own counselor.
Set your boundaries and stick to them. Let your loved one know if you need some time to yourself. You can tell them, Hey, Im feeling worn out right now. Is it okay if we talk about things later? Never set an absolute date, but use words like later to let them know you still want to support them and talk with them about their issues. You just cannot do it at the moment when you are feeling inundated and stressed out.
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Bipolar & Anger: Unravel Your Wrath
Bipolar irritability and anger can damage relationships and hurt you in the workplace. It pays to learn how to prevent and defuse flare-ups in temper.
It starts with a routine annoyancethe living room is a mess again, or another driver cuts you off. Irritation takes hold, then mushrooms as swiftly as a nuclear explosion. Cheeks redden, the pulse quickens, and boom. Welcome to bipolar rage.
For Paul of Las Vegas, an innocuous comment by his wife during dinner could flip his switch.
I would go off, the 45-year-old architect says. It got bad.
Paul recognized that something wasnt right with his ever-changing moods, but stigma kept him from seeking treatment for bipolar until a year or so ago. So periodically, for the better part of 20 years, I would get irate over nothing, he says.
Stress at work would affect his sleep, which would affect his equilibrium. He would keep it together at the office, only to take it out in harsh words at home. His three sons would make themselves scarce. His wife bore the brunt of his verbal attacks before their marriage ended.
It was 100 percent the reason for my divorce, Paul says.
Irritation and anger can be a normal and even healthy response to certain provocations. As with many emotions, however, people with bipolar disorder appear to be more vulnerable to extreme responses.