It can be difficult to fully understand the mind of a manic person. During an episode or manic crisis, it changes, acting in an eccentric way, and this abrupt change causes strangeness to others.
Outsiders must understand that, during an episode, the person loses control of their own behavior. She can participate in dangerous activities or say what she shouldn’t, even if it hurts the feelings of others. And all of this is done in a semi-unconscious manner due to cognitive impairment.
Usually, memory problems usually arise after the episode ends and the person is unable to remember all of his actions while he was manic. In other words, it is complicated to attribute full responsibility for the acts to it.
What is mania?
Mania is one of the stages of bipolar disorder , also known as manic-depressive disorder, in which the manic person exudes intense euphoria.
Influenced by drastic mood swings , she has previously nonexistent attitudes , thoughts and goals. In addition, this phase can last for weeks or months, which ends up compromising interpersonal relationships and job performance.
Mania is divided into some subcategories:
- Dysphoric mania: the predominant symptom is irritation and bad mood, resulting in aggressiveness . It is common to destroy objects, even those of sentimental value, and self-destructive behavior in this state. It is associated with the diagnosis of bipolar I disorder.
- Euphoric mania: it is the opposite of dysphoric mania. The person feels very well and his self-esteem rises considerably. Good feelings, however, can also lead to inconsequential attitudes, such as dangerous driving and uncontrolled consumption.
- Hypomania: a milder picture of mania with less intense symptoms. Despite interfering less in the person’s daily life, it still encourages unusual behaviors.
How does mania happen?
Not everyone with bipolar disorder suffers from alternations between manic and depressive episodes. Some are more likely to experience depressive symptoms or manic symptoms while others feel both equally. Furthermore, for some, mood swings happen frequently and for others, it is almost non-existent.
Some situations can serve as triggers for mania, such as negative experiences (death of someone close, natural disasters, violent events), use of drugs and alcohol, difficulties in reaching goals (getting a promotion, winning a competition) sleep disorders , and, in the case of women, PMS.
Some less stressful factors, but equally disturbing for those who experience them, can also trigger a crisis , such as very loud noises, blinding lights, crowds and excess caffeine or nicotine .
To find out which situations act as a trigger, the bipolar person needs to make a self-assessment in order to develop mechanisms to deal with them in a way that does not harm their psychological.
Characteristics of a manic person
Both dysphoric and euphoric mania share symptoms in common, but the difference is that in the former the irritability is more intense.
Fights, arguments, name-calling and destruction of objects are the means found to vent anger . For example, the person can speak unwanted “truths” or make unfounded provocations to friends and family, contributing to their removal. In other words, dysphoric mania causes the person to lose track of the consequences and to vent what is stuck in the throat.
In the euphoric phase, there is an intense discharge of energy that affects both the body and the mind: feelings of greatness, invincibility and exaggerated self-appreciation. Therefore, the manic person imagines that he can achieve everything he wants. No dream is too big.
She feels the sudden need to make a big investment or start her own business or start a relationship . For this reason, it gets involved with several activities at the same time, but does not get to finish any. Distraction is very common and ends up shifting one’s focus of attention to the next big thing.
These gaudy fantasies act as stimulants for incomprehensible behavior, which can frighten friends, family and co-workers.
Below, see other symptoms of mania:
Gossiping about extraordinary subjects, such as alien invasion and conspiracy theories, becomes routine. The maniac can even speak for hours on technical matters that he obviously does not master.
Since the person’s mind is in a state of mania, it is difficult to make rational connections between ideas. In this way, she gets lost during the execution of activities, presenting difficulties to follow simple orders, or runs over her own thoughts .
An example are associations like “I forgot to feed the cat this morning. Will there be a storm later? I need to buy bread after work. Ah! My brother sent a message. How is he doing? ”.
It can also draw inappropriate and fanciful conclusions about common situations. For example, you may believe that the reason behind a friend ‘s absence from Friday night’s fraternization is related to a robbery or murder.
Inappropriate sexual behavior
The increase in libido results in voracious sexual behavior. The search for sexual partners is prolonged for weeks. The person recklessly engages with strangers and takes no notice of their identities.
Suddenly, the maniac becomes involved in a religion or starts to attribute events to the action of God. His speech begins to revolve around a newfound religiosity. It may even go so far as to claim that it has undergone divine experiences, such as meeting angels or receiving conduct instructions from the creator.
The need for gambling, substance abuse, cracks, parties, fights with strangers and extreme sports suddenly appears. The person does not realize how dangerous his attitudes are, nor does he listen to anyone who intends to alert him. He believes he is doing his best to satisfy his most basic desires.
It is very common to see productivity spikes referring to professional or personal projects during the mania. There is an explosion of creativity, leading the person to paint, write or play an instrument diligently. It is speculated that famous artists, such as Vincent Van Gogh, Virgina Woolf and Kurt Cobain, had bipolar disorder and produced great works during the mania.
The manic person also feels a great inclination towards organization and cleanliness, even reorganizing entire rooms and mistakenly getting rid of personal objects, such as clothes, picture frames, kitchen utensils and decorative objects.
What happens after the craze?
After the mania, depression may set in.
When revisiting his actions and words during the episode through reports from third parties, the person with bipolar disorder feels bad and guilty and, as he is unable to identify the crisis during mania, he may also be frustrated with his lack of control. This natural reaction acts as a trigger for the depressive phase.
As soon as the mania phase passes, it is recommended to reflect on what happened to identify if there were positive triggers to stop it. To avoid other cases, it is possible to establish regular times to sleep, eat meals and exercise . It is vital that the life of the manic person is routine and structured, as unforeseen events can trigger episodes.
In addition, preparing to go through situations that usually arouse mania is also recommended. Unfortunately, it is not possible to guarantee 100% that another episode does not happen, however, this care reduces the likelihood of recurrences.
How to help a manic person?
Bipolar disorder is a chronic disease that requires long-term treatment. As it is common for a person to feel very good during it, you may mistakenly consider stopping it. Most individuals with bipolar disorder need medication to avoid suffering from symptoms and stop manic and depressive crises.
The psychiatrist will define which medication will be more efficient to treat the disorder, controlling the episodes or causing them to be completely extinguished. The answers depend on the condition of each patient and the doctor can give more than one medication to treat both manic and depressive crises, as well as stabilize the disorder in daily life.
The therapy is a highly effective treatment when made in conjunction with medication. In addition to educating the person about the disorder itself and its critical phases, therapeutic treatment provides guidance for the patient and his family . Thus, informed, everyone can help the person with the disorder to have a lighter life. Within psychotherapy, the most used treatments are: cognitive-behavioral therapy, family therapy and psychoeducation.
Changes in the way of life
To live with bipolar disorder and prevent manic episodes, some actions can be taken.
- Establish schedules to follow on a daily basis;
- Establish a sleep routine;
- Avoid possible triggers to avoid a manic crisis;
- Ask for help from friends and family to remain steadfast in the treatment;
- Keep an eye on your financial life (not to spend too much during a crisis);
- Set daily reminders to take your medication.