Am I Having a Manic Episode? Symptoms and Behaviors of Mania

Mother having manic episodes as kids race around her

Manic episodes can disrupt your life. They can even become dangerous, leading you into impulsive, violent, or self-harming behavior. Here’s how to identify a bipolar manic episode and when to seek bipolar disorder treatment.

Are you noticing signs of a manic episode? Reach out to us at Georgetown Behavioral Hospital for treatment.

What Is a Manic Episode?

A manic episode is a shorter name for a bipolar manic episode. That’s because mania is one side of the condition called bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder have both periods of depression and manic episodes. People with bipolar II may have milder mania, known as hypomania. However, people with bipolar I have had at least one full-blown manic episode.

What Are Symptoms of Mania?

10 Signs of a Manic Episode infographic

To answer the question “am I having a manic episode,” you need to know the symptoms that might show up when you are manic. Here are the most common signs of mania.


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  • Feeling excited, elated, euphoric, or feeling agitated and irritable
  • Not being able to sleep or even feeling like you need to sleep
  • Feeling invincible, important, or superior
  • Talking more and speaking faster than usual
  • Racing thoughts or jumping rapidly from one idea to another
  • Inability to focus on important things because you are easily distracted
  • Being hyper-focused and absorbed in an activity
  • Pacing, fidgeting, or other movements with no purpose
  • Seeking pleasure through impulsive or reckless behavior
  • Delusions, which are beliefs based on an incorrect understanding of information
  • Hallucinations, which are experiences of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, or touching something that is not there.

Although you may be asking, “am I having a manic episode,” it can be very difficult to recognize these symptoms in yourself. It’s very easy to tell yourself that you are simply happier or more energetic than usual. That’s understandable. After all, everyone wants to feel good. 

Yet, mania doesn’t always turn out to be such a happy experience in the end. Therefore, if you notice several of these symptoms, it would be best if you talk to an expert in behavioral health. Then, if you are having a manic episode, you can get treatment to avoid trouble.

What Is Manic Behavior?

Many of the symptoms that answer the question “am I having a manic episode” relate to the way you feel or think. However, there are also several outward symptoms that both you and others will likely notice. So, what is manic behavior? Here are some examples of mania as it plays out in the things you do.

Speeded Up Behaviors

When you are having a manic episode, your behavior may have a speeded-up quality. You may talk faster and move faster. If your thoughts are also racing, you may find it hard to stop talking as you try to capture and express them all. You might not give anyone a chance to interrupt or respond. 

Increased Activity

Increased activity is another feature of manic behavior. Sometimes people who are having a manic episode take on huge projects and complete them. For example, you might decide to repaint your cabinets in the middle of the night and work without a break until you complete them. However, not all manic behaviors are that productive. You may simply move more or flit from one activity to another, never accomplishing anything.

Impulsive Behaviors

You may find that you act on your thoughts more quickly during mania. When you are having a manic episode, you might make snap decisions, often without considering the consequences. 

For many people, impulsive behaviors involve spending money unwisely, such as going on a spending spree, gambling your rent money, or investing in a business venture without doing your due diligence. You may also act on impulses that risk your health or even your life. 

If you do not recognize that you are having a manic episode, you might think you are simply being more decisive than usual. However, the consequences could be life-damaging.

Are Manic Episodes Dangerous?

Manic episodes can be dangerous to your physical health, financial well-being, and your relationships. You may act impulsively by taking greater physical risks than usual. There are many examples of mania that are like this. You may have unprotected sex with random partners. You might drive faster and more recklessly. In your manic quest for pleasure, you might take street drugs and possibly even overdose.

The problem is that your mind is not on the possible consequences of your actions but only on what you want to feel and do in the moment. You act on your impulses without examining what could happen because of your actions. Because you feel invincible, you don’t even stop to consider that things might not turn out well for you.

Am I Having a Manic Episode?

While most people with bipolar disorder can easily notice when they are depressed, mania can be harder to recognize. Even if you see that you have some of the symptoms of mania, you might have trouble realizing that they are a problem and not a stroke of luck. Sometimes, the only way to know is to see a psychiatrist for a mental health checkup. 

The mental health professional will take your medical and mental health history. Then, they will ask you questions about why you feel you might be having a manic episode. You can tell them how you are feeling, thinking, and behaving. As the doctor listens to you, they will also observe things like how fast you are talking and how easily distracted you are. If the doctor determines that you do have bipolar disorder and are having a manic episode, they can recommend treatment.

When to Get Treatment for Mania

Whether you feel happy or agitated, mania can become a significant problem very quickly. If you are not already in treatment for bipolar disorder, the first manic episode may last three to six months or more. Beyond that, many people experience a crash into depression after the mania subsides.

When should you seek treatment? If any of the following are true, it would be a wise decision to talk to a mental health professional about it.

  • You can’t do your work well on the job or at home.
  • Your social life and relationships are suffering because of your manic symptoms.
  • You have thought or planned or taken actions to harm yourself or others
  • Your risky behavior is putting you in danger.
  • You have psychotic symptoms like hallucinations or delusions.
  • You have three or more of the symptoms of mania listed above.

Getting Help for Bipolar Manic Episode in Ohio

Getting help is the best way to prevent all the dangers and life problems that can result from mania. Through medication and other interventions, your mania may decrease. With individual and group therapy, you can learn to recognize and manage your symptoms of mania. What’s more, you can deal with emotional issues that contribute to your problems with bipolar disorder. 

At Georgetown Behavioral Hospital in Ohio, you can find the help you need from mental health professionals skilled in treating a bipolar manic episode. We help you answer the question, “am I having a manic episode?” Then, we go beyond that knowledge to offer the best treatments available. 

Do you need help dealing with symptoms of mania? Come to Georgetown Behavioral Hospital to get the help you need.

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