Manic episodes are a mental state that occurs when someone displays a variety of symptoms, including extremely high levels of energy and drastic mood changes. Approximately 4.4% of U.S. adults will experience some level of bipolar disorder or mania in their lifetime. If you have been diagnosed with mania, you may experience occasional manic episodes. Learn more about these episodes and what patients and loved ones should know about when they occur.

Understanding Mania

The term mania refers to a condition when someone has periods of abnormal changes that include an elevation in mood or emotions, activity levels, or energy. This mood and energy spike is typically a change from someone’s normal behavior. These changes can be concerning for friends or loved ones.

While every person is different, abnormal manic behavior is extreme and easily noticeable to others. The behaviors might demonstrate excessive levels of happiness, sadness, or irritability. The exact behavior during manic episodes differs from person to person, but there are a few common threads. Patients going through an episode will typically start to demonstrate obsessive behavior that can potentially threaten their mental or physical safety.

Causes of Manic Episodes

In most cases, people who suffer from manic episodes also have an underlying mental health condition. The most common mental conditions associated with mania and manic episodes include Bipolar I disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and postpartum psychosis. Other examples include schizoaffective disorder and cyclothymia.

If you suspect that you or someone you know is dealing with mania, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible. A trained, fully licensed mental health care professional can help to make a diagnosis and recommend the proper treatment.

Mania and Bipolar I Disorder

Bipolar I disorder is a mental health condition that produces extreme high and low mood swings or extreme changes in activity and energy. It also affects a person’s ability to think and communicate clearly. Patients must have at least one manic episode of a lengthy duration that lasts for at least seven days to be diagnosed with the disorder. Or, they must have a manic episode that is so severe it requires hospitalization.

The majority of people with Bipolar I disorder have episodes of mania and depression. However, they don’t have to have depression to be diagnosed with mania. Some patients with Bipolar I disorder tend to have recurring, repeating manic episodes but few depressive episodes.

Common Triggers

Many manic episodes are caused by triggers that are unique to each individual. If you suffer from mania, it’s a good idea to keep a journal and track how you feel before an episode to help you identify those triggers in advance. You can also ask a close friend or family member to work with you so it’s easier to identify triggers. They might be able to pinpoint significant changes in your mood or behavior and associate them with a specific trigger.

Highly stimulating situations are one of the most common triggers of manic episodes and may include things like sudden loud noises, extremely bright lights, or being in a large crowd. Major lifestyle changes like the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a divorce can also be a trigger. Other triggers include lack of sleep, poor diet, or substance abuse, including drugs or alcohol.


The most common symptom of a manic episode is having an unusually high level of energy or activity. You might feel extremely excited or happy, almost to the point of euphoria. Many people report that they don’t get any sleep, yet they still feel energized and refreshed despite having insomnia. Others may develop a sudden boost in self-esteem or think they’re invincible.

Manic episodes also include times when you talk more than usual, often so much and fast that you’re hard to understand. Racing thoughts, distraction, and obsession are also common.
Some people who experience mania could demonstrate unusual behaviors like pacing or fidgeting. Others display impulsive behavior, like making major purchases. In extreme cases, people may experience delusions or hallucinations where they hear, see, taste, or smell things that aren’t there.

Dealing with the Aftermath

Once a manic episode is over, you might feel embarrassed or overwhelmed. Sometimes, you might not even remember what happened or what you did or said. People often say they can’t remember things they did or agreed to during the episode. Many people feel extremely tired or sleepy once a manic episode is over. If your mania is part of bipolar disorder, you might also feel depressed afterward.

Some manic episodes can last several weeks or months. Fortunately, they are shorter when someone has the right treatment plan in place. Learning how to manage the episodes is vital to one’s well-being. People with mania need to get the proper treatment to help them cope with the repercussions of manic episodes. Having a professional by your side, taking certain prescription medications, and participating in therapy can be extremely helpful.

Get the Help You Need Today

If you suffer from manic episodes, you don’t need to go through it alone. Many specialized programs are designed to help you and your loved ones deal with this common mental health issue. At Comprehensive Wellness Centers, we’re proud to offer patients and their families exceptional care and support. If you want to learn more, verify your insurance and start today.