How Long Will a Bipolar Disorder Manic Episode Last?

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People living with bipolar disorder may experience periods of mania and depression. (In the past, the disorder was commonly referred to as manic depression.) Symptoms of bipolar disorder typically emerge during a person’s teenage years or early adulthood, although there are rare cases of the disorder occurring much earlier and later in life. The length of a manic episode can vary significantly depending on the individual and severity of the condition. Learning more about bipolar 1 and 2 can help you determine whether you need mental health treatment at Summit Detox & Mental Health.

Common Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder affects an estimated 2.3 million Americans (1). Most people with the condition have bipolar 1 or bipolar 2. The most noticeable difference between bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 is the severity of manic episodes. Those with bipolar disorder 1 usually experience more intense periods of mania, which can include symptoms including:

  • Racing thoughts.
  • Euphoria, often accompanied by an exaggerated sense of self-importance and self-confidence.
  • An inability to sleep.
  • Increased activity and energy.
  • Irritability.
  • Risky behaviors, such as having unprotected sex or committing crimes.

During the most intense periods of mania, some individuals with bipolar disorder experience hallucinations.

Between manic periods, people with bipolar 1 may experience major depressive episodes that include symptoms such as:

  • Depressed mood.
  • Loss of appetite (or impulsive eating that leads to sudden weight gain).
  • Lack of interest in activities that were once considered enjoyable.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping.

At least a quarter of people with bipolar disorder attempt suicide at least once in their lives (2).

People with bipolar disorder also have higher rates of substance abuse and addiction. You can learn more about this topic by reading the Guide to Mental Health and Substance Abuse. When someone struggles with bipolar and substance abuse, recovery often requires a medical detox program at Summit Detox & Mental Health in addition to counseling.

How Long Does a Manic Episode Last?

A manic episode can last anywhere from a couple of days to several months (3). Mania can become so intense that people with bipolar disorder are admitted to hospitals for observation and care. Emergency interventions often take place when loved ones notice changes in behavior. Manic episodes can also contribute to behaviors that attract the attention of police and other authority figures, which can lead to hospitalization or time spent in jail.

The length of a manic episode in someone with bipolar disorder often depends on how soon they seek treatment. When left untreated, risky behaviors and other symptoms associated with manic phases can continue for months.

What Causes Bipolar Disorder Manic Episodes?

At this time, researchers do not know the underlying cause of bipolar disorder, although it seems likely that genetics and brain structure contribute to the condition.

Manic episodes can occur for no apparent reason. More often than not, though, they occur during periods of stress that might trigger mania. Some common triggers that might contribute to a manic episode include:

  • Difficult relationships between family members and romantic partners.
  • Alcohol and drug use (chemicals such as amphetamines, psychedelics, and even cannabis could start or intensify a manic episode).
  • Sudden changes in sleep patterns, such as not getting enough sleep because of stress.
  • Increased responsibilities at work or school.
  • Failing to meet goals at work or school.

This is by no means a complete list. In reality, bipolar disorder affects individuals in vastly different ways. It’s critical that each person learn to identify their triggers so they can avoid them and maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a complex condition that often requires an individualized treatment plan. Treatment options may include (4):

  • Medications (such as mood stabilizers, antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications, and antidepressant-antipsychotics).
  • Psychotherapy (such as cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, psychoeducation, and interpersonal and social rhythm therapy).
  • Community support groups.

Finding the right combination of medication, therapy and support can take some time. Medications that work well for one person could make symptoms worse in others. The early stages of treatment, therefore, need the oversight of trained professionals who can guide the process and get positive results.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment in South Florida

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition without a known cure. It is, however, treatable. Most people with bipolar disorder can learn to enjoy healthy lifestyles with minimal periods of depression or mania.

As our trifold brochure says, Summit Detox and Mental Health offers a variety of helpful services, including:

  • Detox programs
  • 24/7 medical supervision
  • Individualized treatment plans
  • Mental health residential treatment programs

Perhaps most importantly, you get a safe environment full of trained, caring professionals who want to see you live your best life.

Learn more about Summit Detox and Mental Health can help by contacting us online or by calling (888) 995-5265.

Footnotes:

1. https://mentalillnesspolicy.org/medical/bipolar-facts.html

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4536929/

3. https://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/bipolar-1-disorder

4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355961

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