Stress can trigger mania in those suffering from bipolar mental illness. In this short article, I will go over what mania is, the symptoms, and how to combat it.
What is Mania?
Also known as “going manic”, mania is a serious mental condition where a person’s mood is typically elevated.
Here’s a definition:
Bipolar mania, or simply mania, is a phase of bipolar disorder. It is characterized by sustained periods of abnormally elevated or irritable mood, intense energy, racing thoughts, and other extreme and exaggerated behaviors.VeryWellMind
Now that sounds great and all, but what is mania?
I wrote a post years back called Listen while manic. It’s predictably all over the place, but there are some good tidbits to take out of it.
There’s a popular song called Manic Monday. Here’s how it translates for the average person:
It’s just another “crazy” Monday. I wish it was Sunday. Because that’s my fun day. Where I don’t have to run, day. It’s just another “busy” Monday.
For a manic person, the song would be more like:
It’s just another “crazy, but really freakin’ awesome morning with clouds protruding from the sky with the rays touching the concrete with a glistening that envelops my senses as a gust of wind sprays a soft, warm mist onto my face, thus awakening the beautiful dream and realizing that the morning is beautiful” Monday…
Mania can be euphoric for the person having it. It is detrimental to everyone else.
It’s easy to spot mania if you have support in the form of friends and family. They’ll usually be the first to tell you, “Hey, I think you’re manic.” However, once others are noticed, you are now weeks, if not months, from recovery. Here are some tell-tell symptoms where you can catch mania early before it devolves from hypomania into full-blown mania.
- Inability to sleep — Sleep is very important to mental health. If you can’t sleep for more than two days, see a psychiatrist immediately.
- Racing thoughts — You can’t shut your brain down. It starts small at first during hypomania but gets out of control once full-blown mania has entered the picture.
- Pacing/restlessness — The inability to sit still, even for short periods of time, is a hallmark symptom that mania is on the way.
- Loss of appetite — Mania can cause you to lose weight rapidly as your appetite isn’t as much as normal.
- Increased blood pressure — Monitor your blood pressure and make sure it is within acceptable levels. Very high blood pressure is one of the symptoms of mania.
- Increased energy — A manic person is full of energy. An introvert magically becomes an extrovert.
- Impulsive conversations — If you are normally socially awkward, you may find yourself starting or breaking into conversations with others. In other words, you become more social.
- Increased social media presence — You suddenly have the need or urge to become very active on social media.
- Grandiose thoughts — The feeling of invincibility when coming up with ideas or the “next best thing.”
- Increased sexual drive — Your sex drive will be elevated.
- Sudden purchases — Sudden and random purchases, even when you can’t afford it, are a symptom.
- Impulsiveness — The need to travel suddenly, impulse buys, and making last-minute plans are a symptom.
- Rapid mood swings — You can go from crying, to laughing, to angry in an unreasonable amount of time.
- Hallucinations — Mania, combined with lack of sleep, can cause you to see things that aren’t there.
Each of these symptoms on their own does not mean you are manic. Any combination, however, you should see a psychiatrist.
Just as a note:
Hypomania is a milder form of mania and is usually the beginning of the mania curve and grows exponentially from there. I believe if hypomania is untreated, it will lead to a full-blown manic episode.
Hypomania is still quite serious, however. You still have a lot of energy and impulsiveness. Usually, you are the one to tell if you have hypomania. Just keep a lookout for your symptoms and see a psychiatrist as soon as you can and tell him/her you are having symptoms of mania.
Sadly, the only thing I’ve found that treats “my” mania is time, medication, and a lot of sleep. Here are some medications I’ve tried to combat mania:
- Zyprexa — A sledgehammer of a drug. It’s an anti-psychotic and will relieve manic symptoms temporarily. If anything, it’ll help you sleep.
- Depakote — Also used for seizures, Divalproex will help lesson the brain activity causing the manic symptoms (i.e., racing thoughts).
- Vraylar — Another anti-psychotic. This one is still open in my book, but I haven’t been manic since taking it.
- Xanax — This will calm you down temporarily. Just beware it is highly addictive.
- Marijuana — Like Xanax, it will calm you down temporarily. It’s easy to develop a tolerance, however, so it’s not a good long-term treatment.
Some say meditation works. Yeah, try doing that with uncontrollable racing thoughts.
Everyone’s mania is different. Feel free to leave a comment with any symptoms I missed or any drugs you’ve tried that seem to combat mania in its early or late stages.
Just be aware that depression typically follows a manic episode, so it’s something to keep an eye out for. On top of that, many anti-depressants can trigger further mania. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Fun.