Triggers, Symptoms, And Treatment Of Bipolar Mania

Updated May 09, 2019

Reviewer Sonya Bruner

Bipolar mania can be a very difficult thing to overcome on your own. Being able to recognize it when it occurs is the best way to arm yourself and prepare for fighting it to return to normalcy. It can be an extremely trying time for you and those around you, although at the time you may feel as though nothing could be better.

One of the reasons bipolar mania is so hard to overcome is because many people do not seek treatment during mania. Many people during bipolar mania feel euphoric and invincible. It is not until family members require that they seek treatment, or they fall into a depression that many people with bipolar disorder seek help.

However, an episode of bipolar mania can be as devastating to your life as an episode of depression. Poor decision making, lack of concentration, and other symptoms can make your life very difficult. Many people lose their jobs during episodes of mania, and it may put relationships at risk as well. It is important to recognize your symptoms and seek help, even though you may feel great.

Understanding the triggers and symptoms of bipolar mania is important when you are diagnosed with bipolar disorder type one. When you understand the possible triggers, you can try to avoid a full-blown manic episode, and if you seek help at the first signs of mania, you can often head off the episode before it gets too out of control.

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What Is Bipolar Mania

Episodes of mania and depression characterize bipolar 1. Bipolar mania is the ultimate highs that come with bipolar disorder. During episodes of mania, you may feel as though you are invincible and everything is as good as it can be. You may have no worries; you may feel as though nothing can go wrong.

Especially if you have just been in an episode of depression, bipolar mania can seem like a blessing. You suddenly feel so much better than you have in a long time, and you think that you are doing better. However, the reality is that you are at risk for making poor decisions and risking your very way of life.

Bipolar Mania Triggers

Studies have found that there are many different possible triggers for bipolar mania. Different bipolar mania triggers may be present for different people. Some patients are not triggered at all by some triggers, while other people are affected tremendously by others. Little is known about why it is not consistent, or what the differences may be between patients.

Goal Attainment

For some people, attaining a major goal can be a trigger for bipolar mania. The thought is that this happens because attaining the goal feels so good that in the bipolar brain it becomes feels of euphoria. This ultimate good feeling can lead to other symptoms of bipolar mania very quickly. The bad thing about that is that often the achievement of the goal leads to mania, which then leads the person to cast aside all other goals.

Antidepressants

Many people with bipolar one are often thrown into bipolar mania when they take antidepressants. Some bipolar patients do not have this problem, but as a general rule, most doctors do not prescribe antidepressants to bipolar patients because of this. Some antidepressants seem to cause more triggering than others.

If you have an episode of bipolar depression that is treated by antidepressants, it is possible that the medication can flip a switch in the brain that makes you switch to bipolar mania. If your doctor does prescribe antidepressants, you should be very aware of your mood changes and sleep patterns and see your doctor again at the first signs of mania.

Disrupted Circadian Rhythm

Disrupted circadian rhythm can also trigger a bipolar manic episode. If you have a period of insomnia where you don't get enough sleep, or if your sleeping habits are interrupted for some reason, this can trigger an episode of bipolar mania. This is why good sleep hygiene is so very important for patients with bipolar disorder.

Spring/Summer Seasonal

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Some people are affected by the seasons. This is often referred to as a seasonal affective disorder, and the diagnosis is a common one in conjunction with bipolar disorder. If you have the seasonal affective disorder, the seasons of spring and summer can trigger an episode of bipolar mania, while fall and winter can trigger episodes of depression.

Stressful Life Events

In some patients, stressful life events can trigger bipolar mania. The stress of death, a divorce, the end of a friendship, or even money problems can lead to an episode of mania. One of the best ways to combat this trigger is to see a therapist when stressful things happen. This will help you cope with the stress in healthy ways that may prevent an episode.

Bipolar Mania Symptoms

Bipolar mania symptoms are different for everyone. You may not have all of the symptoms of bipolar mania at one time, although symptoms may differ from episode to episode. Understanding the symptoms of bipolar mania and being mindful of your mood, thoughts, and behaviors can help you recognize when an episode is starting so that you can get help before it gets out of control.

Mood Changes

Mood changes are going to be present in every episode of bipolar mania. You will go from feeling "normal" or depressed to feeling like you're in the best mood you have ever been in. It is very important that you are always aware of your mood when you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder so that you can get in to see your doctor or therapist as soon as mood changes occur.

Changes In Energy and Activity

One of the things that characterize a bipolar mania episode is changes in energy and activity. You may have vast stores of energy that you can't remember ever having before. You may not feel tired at all, which is different from normal insomnia. You simply feel as though you don't need sleep.

You may also find that you are extremely restless and just have too much energy for your good. You may find it difficult to sit for long periods, and you may have difficulty staying on task if the task is repetitive or seems boring or uninteresting.

Many people who go through bipolar mania find themselves doing a deep cleaning of their homes, going on baking sprees, or taking up a new exercise regimen, for no other reason than they cannot keep still and feel that they must do something to expend the energy they feel.

Speech Disruptions

Some people with bipolar mania may have disruptions in speech. Their speech may be very fast, or they might even leave words out of what they are trying to say because their mind is going faster than their mouth. People with bipolar mania may be difficult to understand. They may be very disorganized in their thoughts, which can lead to disorganization in their speech.

Impaired Judgment

Impaired judgment is another common symptom of bipolar mania. People with bipolar mania often do not make the best decisions. They make decisions based on how it makes them feel. They feel euphoric, and any decision or action that does not support that mood may be dismissed out of hand. People with bipolar mania may make some risky decisions or display risky behavior, and they often are not considering the consequences of their decisions and actions.

Changes In Thought Patterns

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One of the symptoms of bipolar mania is changes in thought patterns. Many people with bipolar mania may feel as though their thoughts are racing a mile a minute. Their thoughts may jump tracks frequently, moving from one topic to another constantly. Sometimes the racing thoughts can be frustrating as you lose track of what you were thinking or saying.

Development Of Psychosis

Some people with a bipolar mania episode may develop a psychosis. This does not happen to everyone with bipolar mania, but it is a risk. Developing a psychosis means that you have a break with reality. Hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia can characterize it.

Signs Of Bipolar Mania

There are several signs that you might notice if you are entering an episode of bipolar mania. It is important that both you and your loved ones know and can recognize the signs of bipolar mania. At the first sign of a manic episode, you should seek help before it gets out of hand.

Reduced Need For Sleep

One of the first signs of bipolar mania that you will notice is a reduced need for sleep. This is not the same thing as insomnia. Many people who have insomnia feel tired but are unable to sleep. With bipolar mania, you will not even feel tired. You will have increased energy and feel as though you don't even need the sleep to function.

Increased Rate Of Speech

Many people who are in a bipolar mania episode have an increased rate of speech. Their thoughts are going very fast, and they have an increasing amount of energy. These two things combined can make them talk very fast, sometimes faster than you may be able to follow.

Racing Thoughts

Many people with bipolar mania have racing thoughts. Racing thoughts is when your thoughts go faster than even you can keep up with. Your thoughts may be going so fast that you cannot latch onto anyone thought for any period. This can be extremely frustrating, and it can make it very difficult to concentrate.

Lack Of Concentration

A lack of concentration is another sign of bipolar mania. The racing thoughts are mostly to blame for this lack of concentration. The increased energy you have can also make you very restless, making it difficult to stay on task, especially when that task is repetitive, uninteresting, or simply not what you want to be doing at the time.

Psychomotor Activities

Many people with bipolar mania develop psychomotor activities, such as bouncing a leg or foot, wringing their hands, or pacing. This is due to the increased energy that they have. When you are in the midst of a bipolar mania episode, you will likely be unable to sit still or even just stand in place. You will feel the need for constant movement.

Risky Behavior

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One of the most troubling signs of bipolar mania is risky behavior. People in the midst of a bipolar mania episode do not have good judgment. They act at the moment and do what feels good, without thought for the consequences of their actions. This can lead to risky behavior that can cause many problems in their lives, including gambling, shopping sprees, promiscuous sex, drinking binges, drug abuse, and some other risky activities.

Bipolar Mania Treatment

Thankfully, bipolar mania is very treatable. The sooner you can get help for your bipolar mania the easier it will be to treat. Also, the sooner you get help, the less likely it will be that you will find yourself facing consequences of the episode that could lead to an episode of depression following the mania. There are several different options for treatment of bipolar mania, but the most common is medication. Therapy is also helpful.

Medications

Several medications have been found to decrease symptoms of bipolar mania. Most bipolar patients are already on medications, but medication changes can sometimes be required to control and put a stop to an episode. While you may already be on antipsychotic medications, there are a few that have been specifically found to control bipolar mania effectively.

Geodon (Ziprasidone)

Many studies have been done to determine how well Geodon affects bipolar mania. These studies have all been conclusive, showing that Geodon can start decreasing symptoms of bipolar mania as quickly as within a few days of starting the medication. Within three weeks the symptoms of bipolar mania are often decreased significantly or no longer present.

Abilify (Aripiprazole)

Studies have also been done with Abilify. Abilify has also been found to decrease symptoms of bipolar mania. Studies have found that symptoms of bipolar mania were already starting to decrease after day four of the medication treatment. However, Abilify has many more side effects typically than Geodon.

Seroquel (Quetiapine)

Another medication that has been studied in the use of treating bipolar mania is Seroquel. Seroquel tends to have a much more sedative effect than other antipsychotics. In one study, the researchers found that Seroquel removed all symptoms of bipolar mania by day 21.

Psychotherapy

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Psychotherapy is also an important treatment option for bipolar mania. Cognitive behavioral therapy, in particular, can be very helpful in coping with bipolar mania. The therapist can give you ways to be mindful of your thoughts and actions, which can help you relate your condition to your psychiatrist and try to head off some of the more dangerous consequences of a manic episode.

Getting Help

If you are suffering from any of the signs or symptoms of bipolar mania, it is important that you get help right away. The sooner you get help, the better off you will be. If you have been diagnosed with bipolar 1 and you are worried about manic episodes, getting in touch with a therapist can help you allay your fears and prepare you for such an eventuality. They can teach you how to be mindful of mood changes and other symptoms so that you can get help right away.


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