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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.

Recommended Related to Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder: Tips for Family and Friends

Ongoing treatment -- both psychotherapy and medication -- is essential to controlling the mood swings of bipolar disorder. How can family members help their loved one stick with treatment? "Learn as much as you can about the disease," says Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, professor of psychiatry at John Hopkins University School of Medicine and author of An Unquiet Mind. "Read and read some more. Join support groups. You'll get emotional support and information you need." Also, learn to watch for...

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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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