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What is Bipolar Mania?

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  • Written By: Angela Dalecki
  • Edited By: Kathryn Hulick
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2016
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Bipolar mania is a major symptom of bipolar mood disorder, also known as manic depression. During a manic episode, people typically experience elevated or irritable moods. They also tend to go through behavioral changes, such as sleeping less than usual or acting impulsively. The mania is often followed by a bout of depression.

Symptoms of bipolar mania vary from person to person. Typical symptoms may include an overly happy, outgoing mood or a "high" feeling. Some people with bipolar disorder report feeling jumpy and irritable. Changes in behavior are common, such as becoming easily distracted, taking on ambitious new projects, engaging in risky activities, talking too much or too fast, or mixing up thoughts. People experiencing mania may feel unusually restless and be unable to sleep.

Manic episodes can be problematic for the person with bipolar disorder, as well as for family and friends. Bipolar mania may threaten relationships due to the person's heightened irritability and excited mood. Some people get into fights, put themselves in danger, or break the law during a manic episode.

For a person with bipolar disorder, a manic episode is often followed by a depressive episode. The highs of bipolar mania are typically replaced by sad, empty feelings. Irritability may remain, but the person may feel sluggish and unable to concentrate. The changes in mood are often so severe that some people with bipolar disorder may consider or attempt suicide.

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Untreated bipolar disorder tends to get worse over time. Many problems are associated with bipolar mania, including substance abuse, relationship problems, and poor performance at work or in school. Anxiety disorders, OCD and other mood disorders often exist concurrently with bipolar disorder. An elevated risk of health problems including migraines, heart disease, thyroid conditions, or diabetes is linked to bipolar disorder.

There is no cure for manic depression; however, coping with bipolar disorder is possible through treatment. Bipolar treatment typically involves medication. Mood stabilizers, antipsychotic drugs, and antidepressants are commonly prescribed to treat manic depression. These medications may cause potentially severe side effects, so people with bipolar disorder should talk to their doctors about medication options and any potential risks.

Another treatment for bipolar disorder is therapy. Counseling sessions with a licensed psychologist or attendance at bipolar support group meetings can sometimes help change thought patterns or behaviors associated with bipolar mania. Family and friends can also benefit from therapy. In many cases, therapy is most effective when combined with bipolar medication.

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