Manic episodes are particular periods of time where someone experiences mania, or “high highs.” People in this state often feel elated or exhibit an over-the-top energy level, emotion, and mood. Having manic episodes can cause harm and sometimes, lead to hospitalization. People experiencing these episodes do not always have complete control of what they are thinking and doing, hence it is important to provide them with the care and support they need until the episode passes.
Manic episodes are often associated with bipolar disorder, a condition where a person experiences both positive and negative ends of the emotional spectrum at an extreme level. They will have high highs and low lows—both have their challenges to manage. But manic episodes cause very visible changes in someone’s mood and overall behavior. Hence it can be a bit easier to notice and act on.
It can be difficult to witness a loved one experience a manic episode or go through other effects of being bipolar. If you have a family or a friend suffering from bipolar disorder or experiencing manic episodes, there are ways you can effectively help them.
The Right Diagnosis
The first and most important step to helping a loved one go through a manic phase is by helping them get the right diagnosis for their condition. This is so they can access accurate treatment that might be available for them. This way, as a family or their friend, you will also know how to help them better.
Knowing what is causing their manic episode and its triggers can help manage the condition in a healthier manner. It is important to pay close attention to loved ones who are having heavy fluctuations in their moods or sudden changes in behavior. This can be evident, especially in those who are going through difficult life situations, grief or trauma, or those with conditions like bipolar disorder. However, some of its symptoms like engaging in extreme behaviors and irritability can overlap with that of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. This condition will require different treatment and care. It is important to get the right diagnosis first.
There are clinics, psychiatric centers, and treatment facilities that can diagnose if a person’s having manic episodes. Depending on the signs they exhibit, you can also get a diagnosis from PTSD inpatient treatment centers. This facility can help you and your loved ones assess, address, and manage manic episodes and/or other mental health issues and illnesses that might be causing extreme changes in their behavior.
Professionals may even discover a different mental health problem than originally expected. In this case, it is critical to find an inpatient program for your relative. For example, inpatient treatment for schizoaffective disorder can help your relative, while also educating you on the disorder.
Dealing with mental health problems is not that easy. Not everyone can acknowledge and admit that they are suffering. Even so, not everyone has access to or the courage to find the right resources and healthcare services that they need. A loved one or a strong support system is important to ensure that the person can take the first step toward addressing their condition and getting professional help. They also need sufficient support to continuously receive proper treatment as well as assistance in recognizing and attending to their changing needs.
A manic episode can last for weeks or months. For people with bipolar disorder, it can last up to six months and is a regular part of the condition’s cycle. But it can be improved and managed if addressed the right way.
As someone supporting a loved one suffering from a manic episode, you can help them watch out for early signs or prodromal symptoms, so they can prepare to control it as it happens. Here are some symptoms you should watch out for when a manic episode is about to occur:
- Having abnormally elevated expression of emotion and energy levels every day for about a week
- A sudden shift in behavior and being irritable
- Showing mood disturbance and impulsive behavior
- Being restless and doing purposeless movements
- Not sleeping for long periods or only getting minimal sleep
- Engaging in extreme activities to an extent that can cause harm to them or to others
Supportive Through It All
Manic episodes can be treated through medication or through talk therapy, including psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. But these treatments are difficult to access without a proper diagnosis from a professional. Hence, it is recommended to take someone suffering from a manic episode to a psychologist and psychiatrist who can assess their condition better. If your loved one is a veteran, you may want to seek assistance from a military lawyer, as they can help to fight for the benefits and compensation that are due. This additional help can be vital for securing the medical help your loved one requires.
Moreover, manic tendencies can also be managed without medication, but this can be more challenging. Either way, those who want to support a person who experiences manic episodes should be prepared to provide consistent support throughout the process.
Its symptoms can occur even in the most unexpected moments. For people with bipolar disorder, it is a part of the regular cycle and is likely to recur more often. Watching your loved ones close and checking on them regularly can help you determine the type of support you can give.
Know them and look for early signs of a manic episode that they often exhibit. It is also important to ask them how they want to be supported. People who are dealing with a mental health problem need patience and a great deal of consideration. They need space to process their own emotion as well as moral support. Communicating with your loved ones can help you and them to manage their manic tendencies better.
Be There Through Ups and Downs
It is important to recognize that manic episodes are just a phase. It does not define who a person is. It is rather a condition that can be a threat to that person and the people around him/her. Though it is a very difficult phase, it can be treated. If your loved one is suffering from manic episodes or is showing manic tendencies, it is important to be there for them. Let them know that they are not alone and that it is okay to get help for their condition.