Manic And Drugged Up

Manic woman with long dark hair with hand on face with open mouth

When Mania Destroys Your Relationships

Depending on the severity of the mania and the person behind the illness, conversations can be quite pleasant or destructive with manic patients. When they’re pleasant, they revolve around interesting and grandiose delusions such as working with famous actors or become the next Stephen King. When conversations are destructive, you may be seen as an enemy and even be attacked during an interview.

Patients usually enjoy being manic because they feel elated, have a lot of energy, think and talk very fast and feel like they can accomplish anything; roadblocks are not often in their way. But with mania comes many consequences due to potentially destructive behavior, such as throwing things out of the house, sending unexpected large sums of wire transfers, destroying property, banging on doors, becoming verbally and physically aggressive, etc.

When someone becomes manic, the potential for destroying a relationship is extremely high; it can happen as quickly as in a few minutes. All it takes are some disgustingly evil words and perhaps even actions and the bridge is burned. But it’s not their fault because they are not being themselves when under the influence of mania; it’s part of their mental illness known as Bipolar I Disorder.

Bipolar I disorder is when a patient experiences mania; depression is not a requirement but they may also fluctuate into a depressed state of mind when they’re not manic. If a patient only has depression but has never had a manic episode, it’s not bipolar. You can think of bipolar as a disorder of great mood instability: rather than a flat baseline where most peoples’ mood lie, mania is above the baseline while depression is below.

More complicated pictures of mania is when drugs are involved. Some manic patients may be abusing methamphetamine which causes similar symptoms as mania: euphoria, a great amount of energy, days without sleep, no appetite, weight loss, a lot of strength, agitation, unpredictability, aggression, violence, paranoia and even psychosis. If a patient tests positive for meth but they have a history of bipolar disorder, it becomes a challenge to discern the correct diagnosis.

As you can see, drugs have no boundaries: they can create an addiction in any person, regardless of whether they have a mental illness or not. As I stated in one of my previous articles, mental illness and drugs go hand in hand as if they are a tag team: one infects a person first and brings in the other for the kill. Mental illness kills by relying on suicide, while drugs kill by relying on overdosing.

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Mania: A Forest Fire Out Of Control

Manic and angry man yelling on cellphone

Quenching The Residual Flames

When a person becomes manic, their world flips 360 degrees. Many patients with mania love the experience because they feel energized, on top of the world and feel like they can accomplish anything; imagine being on an ultimate adrenaline rush while feeling high. This high doesn’t go away without medications and can last even weeks to months at a time. But as with any high there comes many potential negative consequences; mania is nothing more than a forest fire out of control.

The reason why manic patients can’t remain in their mania is that because they start to get out of control. They may unexpectedly leave the house in the middle of the night and put themselves in danger by interacting with strangers. They may try new activities based on grandiose ideas, thinking that they will be able to accomplish something great, resulting in potential embarrassment, humiliation and trouble with the law.

When someone is manic, they are no longer themselves. They may become irritable, vulgar and physically aggressive, swinging for no good reason. They may see you as a threat when you’re just trying to help calm them down. You cannot allow a forest fire to burn indefinitely; it will destroy everything in its path. The same applies with a bipolar patient who is in a state of mania.

There are reports of manic patients spending 2 months in an inpatient psychiatric unit, only to return 5 days after their discharge because they became noncompliant with their medications, resulting in another full-blown manic episode. Can you imagine spending 60 days in the hospital only to return back 5 days later? That’s when you know that your mental illness is out of control.

Mania is like the UFC of fighting; the ultimate potential aggression is at play. The difference is that this aggression is not enjoyable to watch because it’s sad to see a person suffering from a mental illness. Manic patients tend to lose their jobs because they become very disruptive and disorganized and they also have the potential to become psychotic, such as hearing voices in their head. Their hospitalizations are often lengthy because it takes time to get them back at their mental baseline; a premature discharge will likely lead to the reemergence of manic symptoms.

The residual flames of mania must be quenched for good before a patient can return back home.

Do you know anyone who is diagnosed with bipolar I disorder?

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Living With Bipolar Disorder

Man with Bipolar Disorder holding shirt's neckline

Bipolar Depression Symptoms

There are two types of bipolar disorder: bipolar I and bipolar II. Bipolar I requires a symptom called mania to be present; depression does not have to be present for the diagnosis to be made. Bipolar II requires a symptom named hypomania to be present.

Mania is manifested as:

  • Distractibility (poorly focused)
  • Insomnia (decreased need for sleep)
  • Grandiosity (inflated self-esteem)
  • Flight of ideas (jumping from one thought to another, racing thoughts)
  • Increased goal-directed activities
  • Pressured speech (or more talkative)
  • Risk-taking behaviors (sexual, financial)

Hypomania is a less severe form of mania and patients are usually able to maintain their jobs, as opposed to patients who are manic.

Depression is manifested as:

  • Insomnia (2-4 am awakening)
  • Decreased interest in activities
  • Guilt (feelings of worthlessness)
  • Fatigue (loss of energy)
  • Concentration (indecisiveness)
  • Weight loss (decreased appetite)
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation (restlessness or slowing down)
  • Suicidal thoughts (intent with/without a plan)

With medications called mood stabilizers (i.e., Lithium, Depakote, Tegretol, etc.) and psychotherapy widely available, patients can lead a happy and productive life in society!

If you or anyone you know is suffering from Bipolar Disorder, please seek immediate medical attention!

The DSM Ready Community is a safe and nonjudgmental place where we can share our experiences with mental illness!

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