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Bipolar Disorder: Manic Episodes

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Topic Overview

Some mood disorders are characterized by manic episodes, periods of abnormally high energy. Behavior may be diagnosed as a manic episode if:

  • An abnormal and continuously elevated (happy or energetic) mood or an irritable mood occurs and lasts at least 5 days.
  • During this elevated or irritable mood, at least three of the following symptoms are present:
    • Inflated self-esteem or unrealistic feelings of importance
    • Decreased need for sleep (feeling rested after only a few hours of sleep)
    • Talkativeness (more than usual)
    • Racing thoughts
    • Being easily distracted by unimportant things
    • An increased focus on reaching job or personal goals
    • Involvement in irresponsible activities that might have dangerous consequences, such as engaging in increased sexual activity, making foolish business deals, or spending large sums of money
  • The behavior is severe enough to cause an inability to function properly in a job, in social situations, or in relationships with others. It is possible you may need to seek hospitalization if the behaviors become so severe that you need help to prevent harming yourself or others.
  • The symptoms are not caused by substance abuse.
  • Psychosis may be present.

If you or someone you love is experiencing a manic episode, it is important to seek help. Many treatments are available.

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Bipolar Disorder and Self-Injury

People with bipolar disorder, depression, and other mood disorders often have episodes when they feel extremely sad, hopeless, anxious, or confused. When these emotions get too intense, the person may struggle with how to cope with overwhelming emotions, and for some people, efforts at coping with distress may take the form of acts of self-injury. Self-injury, often including cutting, self-mutilation, or self-harm, is an injurious attempt to cope with overpowering negative emotions, such as extreme...

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 01, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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