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Mania and Hypomania Page



Sleeping much Less Insomnia Writing Pressure
Others seem slow Irritability Surges of Energy
Making lots of plans Flight of Ideas Pressure of speech
Poor judgment Inappropriate behavior Increased alcohol consumption
Spending too much money Very productive Taking too many responsibilities
Feeling superior Inappropriate anger Increased creativity
Dangerous driving Unnecessary phone calls More sensitive than usual
Increased appetite More sexually active Noises louder than usual
Doing several things at once Inability to concentrate Friends notice behavior change
Difficulty staying still Sociable and thrill seeking Anxious and wound-up



How to Help Yourself When Getting Manic

bulletCall your doctor before things get out of hand.  Be sure to take your medication regularly as prescribed.
bulletAvoid spending money.  Give your check book and credit cards to someone you can trust.
bulletDo not make any major decisions.  Put them off until you are feeling calmer.
bulletReduce stress as much as possible.  Stay away from stressful people.
bulletStay in non stimulating surroundings.  Avoid dances and bars.
bulletTalk to a support person.  Let them know how you are feeling.
bulletAvoid over stimulation.  Restrict your activities to soothing, relaxing ones.
bulletMake lists of things to do, or things you need to shop for and stick to them.
bulletLearn and practice relaxation techniques.
bulletTry to keep your thoughts focused, not rambling or obsessive.
bulletAvoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
bulletEat nutritious well balanced meals.
bulletDo not take on extra commitments until you are feeling better.
bulletIf you are not sleeping, call your doctor right away.  Lack of sleep exacerbates mania.



Mania and Hypomania


Mood Changes

1.  Elevated Mood. 

2.  Pervasive, expansive and infectious in quality. 

3.  Overconfidence and grandiosity (may become basis for delusional thinking) 

4.  Sudden preoccupation with wealth, success, power and fame 

5.  Irritability, angry outbursts, paranoid thoughts and feelings 

6.  Pressured socialization 

7.  Spending sprees, foolish investments 

8.  Getting involved in activities likely to lead to painful consequences, eg. sexual indiscretions, dangerous sports or adventures. 

9.  Physically and mentally restless (see below)

10. Feels unusual excitement, enthusiasm, energy or irritability. 

11. Easily distracted by unimportant comments or events. 

Physical/Mental Signs

1.  Decreased need for sleep 

2.  Appetite disturbance, either overeating or not eating 

3.  High energy 

4.  Rapid speech, jumping quickly from one thing to another 

5.  Racing thoughts 

6.  Hypersexual behavior 

7.  Social, sexual or work related activities noticeably increased. 

8.  Inability to settle down to rest




    Early hypomania can be a pleasurable state of elevated mood, elation, optimism and confidence.  Treatment at this stage is usually not desired or even necessary.  For those bipolars who suffer endlessly with depression hypomania is a desired and welcome relief.  

     For others, a euphoric state is never reached, and even in early hypomania what they  experience may be irritability,  rapid thoughts which cause confusion and quick angry outbursts.  This dysphoric hypomanic state can cause problems in relationships, not only personal, but social and work related relationships as well.

     Mania is another story.  Usually it begins insidiously as hypomania and becomes worse with the most striking quality of the mood state being grandiosity.  Manic people have an exaggerated sense of self confidence believing they are more wealthy, more intelligent, more talented and more everything than anyone else.  This can worsen to the point where they become delusional - convinced of ideas that are false and impossible.  In the full-blown state for example they may believe that they have been appointed to some high political office, that they have been appointed by God for some religious appointment, or even that they are God.  They may become convinced that they are on the verge of great scientific discoveries, or that they have solved the mysteries of the universe. 

     Spending sprees are common and manics sometimes borrow large sums of money or run up huge credit card debts.  Judgment is destroyed. 

     The manic mood can be described as "expansive" as manics commonly seek out people and get involved with organizations in what is called pressured socialization.  They talk rapidly to everyone in sight in a pressurized, driven way. 

     Sex drive is abnormally heightened leading to loss of inhibitions and participation in sexual activity that is unusual. 

     In most patients the euphoric state is short lived and the mania quickly becomes very unpleasant.  Their energy level is boosted to the point where they feel pressured, driven, and in a very uncomfortable state of mind.  They can become quite irritable, enraged at the smallest perceived slight.  Their thoughts race, their thoughts come so fast they can't talk fast enough to express them and their speech can become incoherent. 

     Paranoia is common.  Suspiciousness and the false belief that one is being persecuted are common. 

     Mania, contrary to popular belief is not pleasant.  It is obviously an abnormal mental condition, seems to arise from nowhere, and the person is so changed there is no mistaking the fact that something is very wrong.


     Mixed Affective State is another mood state sometimes seen in Bipolar Affective Disorder.  This mood has qualities of both major depression and the manic state.  Usually the irritability and driven, hyperactive energy level are present, but the emotional quality is that of depression, with feelings of hopelessness and impending doom.


Impact on Relationships

     Bipolar disorder, and mania, often strikes people who are charming, creative and charismatic.  Initially it may be impossible for them and those close to them to admit anything is wrong. 

     When their behavior becomes outrageous...they have run up thousands of dollars in debts and put the family on the verge of, or into bankruptcy, when they have been involved with public brawls and the police, or when their sexual indiscretions become too obvious to ignore....the impact on relationships is enormous.  Separation and divorce is common.  Even the most understanding partner has problems understanding the illness and the symptoms are seen and felt as a personal attack. 

     The anger displayed by the manic creates arguments and fights in the home.  The partner finds it nearly impossible to defend himself against these attacks.  Relationships are poor, and even after the mania has abated, it is difficult to pick up the pieces and go on with a relationship. 

     Partners must realize that mania is an illness, and that it will get better.  They must try not to take the symptoms of the disease as a personal affront, and to be supportive and protective until the episode is over.  They may need to manage their manic partner....seeing that they take their medications, or getting them to professional help, including hospitalization when necessary.


Recovery from a Manic Episode

1.  Take medications regularly and as prescribed by your doctor 

2.  Get emotional support from a supportive person. 

3.  Talk to a therapist or counselor 

4.  Tell yourself that you have been ill and that the things you said or did while ill were not the real "you" 

5.  Eat regular, nutritious meals. 

6.  Be kind to yourself. 

7.  Get plenty of rest. 

8.  Focus on living one day at a time 

9.  Use spirituality if desired 

10. Reduce environmental stress


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