how to calm a manic episode

When you have bipolar, knowing how to calm a manic episode is critical.

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that manifests with features of both clinical depression and mania or hypomania. Some versions of bipolar are more severe than others, which results in four types of bipolar disorder in the DMS-5.

When someone is fully immersed in a manic episode it is exhausting, and can even be dangerous to the person or others. Recognizing the signs of an upcoming manic episode, or managing one while it is in full swing, is essential.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder features extreme shifts in mood and energy levels. The mood shifts are often unpredictable and can disrupt or impair daily functioning. Along with the mood swings come changes in sleep patterns, eating habits, emotions, and behaviors. People with bipolar disorder shift from manic to depressive episodes and back again.

Bipolar disorder is a complex mental health disorder with no single cause yet known. Symptoms of the disorder often emerge during childhood into the late teen years. Some of the risk factors include genetics, brain structure and function differences, trauma, and family history of bipolar disorder.

Signs and symptoms of bipolar episodes include:

Manic episode:

  • Elated mood; euphoria.
  • Enhanced energy level.
  • Increased activity.
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid speech.
  • Irritability
  • Jumpiness
  • Using poor judgment.
  • Racing thoughts.
  • High-risk behaviors.
  • Attempting multiple tasks at once.

Depressive episode:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, or empty.
  • Very low energy.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Forgetful
  • Overeating or poor appetite.
  • Excessive worry.
  • Lack of joy or pleasure.
  • Malaise
  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Excessive fatigue.
  • Thoughts of suicide.

NAMI describes four types of bipolar disorder. These types include:

Bipolar I. Bipolar I disorder is the most common type of bipolar. Bipolar I features the person having one or more manic episodes, with or without depressive episodes. The mania must be severe enough to require a hospital stay and will last a week or longer.

Bipolar II. Bipolar II disorder is characterized by the shifting between the less severe hypomanic episodes and depressive episodes.

Cyclothymic Disorder. Cyclothymic disorder involves repeated mood shifts between depressive and hypomanic that persist for over two years. The depressive and manic episodes do not meet the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder episodes. There may be periods of normal mood as well, but those periods last less than eight weeks.

Unspecified Bipolar Disorder. Sometimes the symptoms do not fit the other types of bipolar, but still, involve episodes of manic mood. This is termed bipolar disorder not otherwise specified.

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Signs of an Upcoming Manic Episode

There are often clear warnings of an impending manic mood state. If you are aware of the warning signs of mania, it allows you to take some action. For instance, you can engage in techniques that help you relax, avoid substances, and see your therapist. It helps to keep track of your mood by writing symptoms in a journal or on a calendar.

Red flags of an incoming manic episode might include:

  • You may feel compelled to stay in constant motion, such as pacing or walking.
  • You may sleep less.
  • You have racing thoughts.
  • You are chattier.
  • You are more active and busy.
  • You feel irritable.
  • You can’t think clearly.
  • You are distracted.

When these signs are present there may be a very short window to manage the oncoming manic episode. Seeking out help from your support system can help prevent an episode from becoming full-fledged.

How to Calm a Manic Episode

When a manic episode is upon you, it is very common to sense that symptoms are getting out of control. It becomes harder to focus on tasks or to complete work or school projects. You may exude exaggerated self-esteem, which can be off-putting to colleagues or peers.

Days without getting much sleep begin to impact your health and mental wellness. You may engage in highly impulsive behaviors that result in injury or damage.

To avoid the mania becoming severe, take these actions:

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Manage stress with relaxation techniques.
  • Adhere to your meds.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Avoid setting unrealistic goals.
  • Continue with therapy.

Keep reading to learn about the holistic methods that can help you calm a manic episode.

Holistic Methods to Help Manage Mania

To help prevent a manic episode from spinning out of control, consider these holistic activities:

  • Yoga. Yoga is an ancient Eastern practice that entails slow, deliberate movements and poses that open up energy flow. Combined with focused breathing, yoga helps you achieve a deep sense of calm.
  • Acupuncture. Another ancient practice, acupuncture can help open up blocked energy flow in the body. This is through the inserting small needles into certain regions, which can lead to a relaxed mood state.
  • Mindfulness. Mindfulness helps people to better control their stressful, racing thoughts and instead focus on the present moment. At that moment you acknowledge sensations and emotions in a non-judgmental way.
  • Meditation. This practice involves taking some quiet time to reflect or pray. Some people use guided meditation tracks to help them achieve a sense of serenity.
  • Massage. Massage helps relax body tension in the muscles. This releases toxins and induces a deeply relaxed state.
  • Deep breathing. Breathing becomes shallow when we are stressed. Focus on the breathing process to quickly reduce feelings of anxiety or impending mania. Deep breathing techniques can be done anywhere at any time.

Psychiatric Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

When outpatient treatment plus holistic actions do not seem to control the bipolar, it may be time to consider a higher level of care. A residential mental health treatment program offers you a much more intensive approach to management of bipolar disorder.

Hopefully, the above tips have shown you how to calm a manic episode right from the outset. Bipolar disorder can be managed with the appropriate support and tools.

Elevation Behavioral Health Residential Mental Health Center Treats Bipolar Disorder

Elevation Behavioral Health offers the help you need to better manage your bipolar disorder episodes. If you are struggling with bipolar manic episodes, give our caring team a call today at (888) 561-0868.

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