Am I Showing The Symptoms Of Mania?

By Sarah Fader

Updated June 02, 2020

Reviewer Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC

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Maybe you've experienced moments in the recent past where you've been overcome by an extreme emotion for no apparent reason. Maybe everything was status quo - the kids were playing quietly; your spouse was surfing Reddit on his or her phone - when you suddenly felt incredibly angry, happy, or sad.

Perhaps these episodes reminded you of something you've seen either in popular culture or from personal experience with a friend or loved one, and you've asked yourself: "could I be suffering from bipolar disorder?"

Defining Bipolar Disorder

"Bipolar disorder" and "manic depression" are two terms that refer to the same condition. However, bipolar disorder is no longer referred to as "manic depression," presumably because someone suffering from bipolar disorder isn't necessarily sad all the time. As such, calling someone a "manic depressive" may lead to misconceptions. The term "bipolar," however, refers to the act of swinging from one emotional extreme to the other. This can be from extreme happiness to extreme anger, from extreme anger to extreme sadness, and so on.

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that is characterized by the manic or hypomanic episodes a person may experience. Essentially, when someone is suffering from bipolar disorder, he or she experiences variations in mood that change from his or her normal state of mind to one that flip-flops between different states of high energy.

Maybe you've experienced moments in the recent past where you've been overcome by an extreme emotion for no apparent reason. Maybe everything was status quo - the kids were playing quietly; your spouse was surfing Reddit on his or her phone - when you suddenly felt incredibly angry, happy, or sad.

The thing to remember with bipolar disorder is that it can escalate quickly. Someone who may have his or her mania under control on a normal day may find it more difficult to do so in the event of a significant life event, such as the loss of a job or the death of a loved one. If you start exhibiting symptoms that have the potential to make you a danger to others, then this should be treated as a medical emergency, and you should seek help immediately.

Understanding the Difference Between Mania and Hypomania

Perhaps the most distinct feature of mania, as opposed to hypomania, is the length of time an episode can last. Those suffering from mania or hypomania often have no idea how long they will stay in a manic state once symptoms present themselves, even if they have suffered similar episodes in the past. However, mania can last long enough to make hospitalization a necessity

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Potential Symptoms of Manic Episodes

As with anything else, symptoms of a condition can vary from person to person. However, certain symptoms have presented themselves often enough to be considered the most common among those who suffer from the mania associated with bipolar disorder.

What follows is a list of some of the more common signs that are often listed as part of the definition of manic episodes. This list is not meant to be diagnostic but should one or more of these symptoms ring true for you, then you may want to consider seeking the help of a licensed therapist.

Abnormalities in Speech or Thought Patterns

If you have had experiences wherein you simply couldn't stop talking to the point where you could tell you were making others uncomfortable, this may be a sign of bipolar disorder. This is especially true if you stressed your speech, meaning that you talked louder and faster, trying to use up more energy just to get the words out.

Of course, some people naturally talk faster than others. The key here, though, is if you realized you were straying from your normal speech patterns. Someone who normally talks slowly and carefully may be exhibiting signs of a disorder if they begin to speak quicker and louder with no warning.

The same goes for a person's thought patterns. Some who suffer from a mood disorder have reported experiencing moments wherein their thoughts were racing, despite appearing normal to other people. Other sufferers have noticed a disconnect in their ideas that is difficult or impossible to follow. For instance, you may be talking about your class schedule one minute and a sports game the next. If you feel tortured by repetitive thoughts that just won't quit, or if your thoughts dissolve into a non-linear progression, you may be experiencing a manic episode.

Relentless Multitasking

There's a line in the television show Sherlock that goes something like "My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems. Give me work." Does this sound familiar to you? Do you find yourself going stir-crazy during periods of downtime at work? Do you do things that don't need to be done every day, like clean the house from top to bottom, just to burn off extra energy? Do you make other people tired by simply recounting to them what you've done in a day? This too may be a symptom of a manic condition.

Sleep Disturbance

Those suffering from a mood disorder may be able to go to bed super late, wake up super early, and still present themselves as being well rested. Sure, some people need less sleep, but on average, adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night to feel sufficiently recharged.

Sleep disturbances for someone suffering from a mood disorder are especially problematic. What makes this so complicated is that a lack of sleep can trigger a manic episode, and a manic episode can cause one to lose sleep. This ultimately creates a feedback loop that is hard to control. In certain cases, the only way to correct this cycle is with medication.

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Becoming Easily Distracted

Someone suffering from manic symptoms may experience something known as "clanging." Clanging is a psychiatric condition that causes someone to say words that sound alike but that do not necessarily have any logical connection, like "phone," "shown," and "bone." The act of clanging is more about uttering the same sound over and over, as opposed to focusing on making sure the words make sense when said together.

Partaking in Risky Behavior

Someone suffering from bipolar disorder may experience a stronger-than-normal desire for sex. This is known as "hypersexuality," and it is a common symptom of both mania and hypomania. Going above and beyond the normal methods of satisfaction, a hypersexual person may turn to online hookups or prostitutes to fulfill his or her urge - activities that are illegal and/or have the potential to be incredibly dangerous. Other risky behaviors that someone suffering from mania can engage in include gambling or excessive spending.

Seeking Relief from Symptoms of Mania

It is important to be aware of the symptoms of mania so that you can recognize them in yourself or someone you know. If any of these symptoms rang true for you personally, then BetterHelp.com is here to help you take the necessary steps to obtain help from a licensed mental health therapist or counselor. It may also be helpful for you to keep a diary of the symptoms that you may think are indicative of a disorder, as this may be a useful tool that can aid your counselor in more accurately diagnosing your condition.

It is important to remember that there is never any shame in asking for help, and over 2,000 counselors and therapists with BetterHelp.com are standing by to do just that. BetterHelp.com brings together patients and licensed professionals all over the world.

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Using your BetterHelp app you can send messages to your therapist anytime of day, get a response quickly, and even have live chat, video call, and telephone sessions with your therapist.

The services offered on BetterHelp.com are also meant to be affordable, with unlimited sessions provided to patients for one low flat fee, which means you don't need to worry about whether your counselor is covered by your insurance. You also don't have to fear potential stigmas associated with seeking mental help, since everything is done right from the comfort of your own home.

Sources

https://sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/bipolar-disorder-manic-depression#1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clanging


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