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Bipolar disorder: Signs of a manic episode

Updated on October 19, 2013



What is Bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric disease that presents itself with manic and depressive episodes. A manic episode can come on suddenly when least expected and may last from hours to days to months. A person with Bipolar disorder is rarely able to control the manic episodes that affect him without help from a psychiatrist or medication to control his moods.

Bipolar disorder is underdiagnosed and difficult to treat when properly diagnosed because of it's confusing symptoms. Generally when a person with bipolar seeks treatment from a psychiatrist, it is because he is in a deep depression. This, therefore, is what the psychiatrist sees and then treats for depression instead of both mania and depression.

My son has bipolar disorder

My son of 29 years has had bipolar disorder since he was a teenager. This disorder has changed not only his life but our families life also. He is currently in treatment for alcohol and drug addiction related to bipolar disorder. He has lived at home with the exception of 3 months out of his whole life. He is unable to live on his own and needs constant supervision at this time.

He is a drug and alcohol addict and has been in trouble with the law since the age of 17. This is not unusual for a child with bipolar, according to the therapist and psychiatrists he has seen over the years. He has been on many different medications and is currently on Depakote, which is the only medication that has worked to stabilize his mood. He is also on Saroquel.

His psychiatrist has high hopes that with the current medication, continuing support from his father, his brother, his friends and I,that he will be strong enough mentally to fight and beat his addictions. This is great news for him. So, we continue to support him, love him and be there for him no matter what happens.

This is the best we can do, and we would do this no matter what was wrong with him, for he is our son and we love him.

He has a severe form of bipolar, but is being treated with medication that helps (so far) even out his moods and may make it possible for him to live without such severe manic episodes. He may be able to hold down a job within the next 6 months. He was in a relationship, but she couldn't handle his symptoms.

We do not know what the future will hold for him, but are prepared to stand by him if necessary. He is our son and we love him no matter what.

Signs of a manic episode

The signs of a manic episode include:


A person in a manic episode shows severe insomnia symptoms. He may be unable to sleep for days or may only sleep 1-3 hours a day. He is in a constant state of activity while not being able to sleep.

He will pace around the house, talk non-stop and his thinking ability will be poor. He may have trouble keeping up with a conversation because his thinking will be too fast to keep up with it.


Denial is a common symptom of bipolar mania. The feeling of mania may actually make the person feel so good that he may be in denial that anything is wrong. This makes treatment difficult, as he may refuse to seek medical help during a manic.


A person diagnosed with mania is very talkative. He may feel pressure to keep talking and talks very fast. You may not be able to understand what he is saying because of the speed in which he talks and the quickness of the change of topics.

His thoughts will be "running" too fast for him to verbally keep up with them, which is the reason why he will be talking so fast.

Racing thoughts:

The racing thoughts a person with mania has ties in with being talkative. His thoughts are "flighty" and come out through talking that is fast and sometimes makes no sense. He may voice that his thoughts "are driving him crazy".

Increased energy:

A manic episode causes the person afflicted to have increased energy. He may go from one activity to another, non stop. The increased activity caused by increased energy doesn't seem to "wear out" the person with mania. He may also pace around the house and appear jittery.

Increased involvement with pleasurable activities:

The person exhibiting a manic episode should be watched carefully because he may increase his spending during this time. He may go shopping, to the movies, start a new project etc. that involves spending more money. If not stopped, he may drain his money accounts without a thought.

A person in a manic episode doesn't usually spend his money on something he needs. He will probably spend his money on things that he wants. Unfortunately, people with Bipolar, especially teenagers, may spend their money on alcohol and drugs.

People with Bipolar sometimes try to "self medicate" with alcohol and drugs because they have not been diagnosed yet. They may also be leery of going to a doctor for help, sometimes for fear of a mental diagnosis.

Abuse of drugs:

A manic episode may cause the person to abuse drugs, especially cocaine, alcohol and sleeping medications. The reason for the abuse of cocaine is that cocaine creates a similar "high" that mania does. Alcohol is usually used to "mask" the symptoms of mania and sleeping pills are taken in large quantities to help with insomnia and to self medicate.


Mania may cause auditory and visual hallucinations. The person believes he is actually "seeing" and "hearing" things that no one else can see or hear. This is a scary experience for the person in a manic.

Inflated self-esteem or feelings of grandiosity:

A person in a manic episode thinks he is "gods" gift to everyone. He is the best worker, therefore deserves a raise (This may cause him to lose his job), the best player (In games) or the best person for that high paying job (even though he may not be trained or educated for that specific job). He may loudly voice this while at work.

People with bipolar disorder usually go from job to job because of this symptom. They believe they deserve more pay or a better position whether they are qualified or not. This usually gets them fired.


Irritability is a symptom that can become dangerous for the manic person and others around him. The irritability can turn into abuse fairly quickly if someone disagrees with the manic person. He may throw punches or throw objects at others because of his irritability.

The irritability may become so severe that you may need intervention in the form of the Police. Police officers are trained to deal with people in manic episodes that are irritable. Another option, if you can get the manic person to agree to is admittance into a mental health facility. The Police may also help you get the affected person into a mental health facility where he can get the best help.

Mania is a part of bipolar that is the opposite of depression. A person with mania should be taken to their health care professional for help as soon as possible. At times, when the manic causes the person to become dangerous, he may need to be admitted into a mental health facility for evaluation and treatment.

If you have a family member that needs help from a mental health facility, do not hesitate to get him admitted through Baker acting him. This is in his best interest, as the workers at the mental health facility can offer the manic person the most help.


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    • freefogging profile image

      freefogging 6 years ago from Florida

      Family support is probably the best thing you can do to help a family member with BP. It has been a long and hard road with my son, but without our support, he says, he would never have made it this far.

      The reason he is in an in home facility is not because of his bipolar per se, but more for his addiction to alcohol and drugs...they all need to be treated or he will never get better.

    • profile image

      Jeff 6 years ago

      This is an excellent post for manic symptoms. You identified the symptoms and provided a useful description for each. Most sources simply list the symptoms without an explanation or description. As someone affected by BP illness I can attest that the descriptions are accurate. Sorry to hear about your son. As the son of my family I know how important family support is.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 6 years ago from USA

      I am so sorry that you have someone who has bipolar disorder in the family. It is a frustrating and challenging disorder. This is a good list of symptoms to watch out for. This condition does need to be treated, but being admitted is not always the best answer. Sometimes, since they don't feel like taking the medication because they feel like they are okay, just taking the medication is enough.