Bipolar Disorder: Helping Someone During a Manic Episode
You may feel frustrated around a person with bipolar disorder who is having a manic episode. The high energy level can be tiring or even frightening.
The person may also actually enjoy the mania and may not take medicines, which can
prolong the episode. Also, the person may say and do unusual or hurtful things. You
can help during a manic episode by doing the following:
Spend time with the person, depending on his or her level of energy and how well you
can keep up. People who are manic often feel isolated from other people. Spending
even short periods of time with them helps them feel less isolated. If the person
has a lot of energy, walk together, which allows the person to keep on the move but
share your company.
Answer questions honestly. But do not argue or debate with a person during a manic
episode. Avoid intense conversation.
Don't take any comments personally. During periods of high energy, a person often
says and does things that he or she would not usually say or do, including focusing
on negative aspects of others. If needed, stay away from the person and avoid arguments.
Prepare easy-to-eat foods and drinks (such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,
apples, cheese and crackers, and juices), because it is difficult for the person to
sit down to a meal during periods of high energy.
Avoid subjecting the person to a lot of activity and stimulation. It is best to keep
surroundings as quiet as possible.
Allow the person to sleep whenever possible. During periods of high energy, sleeping
is difficult and short naps may be taken throughout the day. Sometimes the person
feels rested after only 2 to 3 hours of sleep.
Call a health professional if you have questions or concerns about the person's behavior.
Always call a health professional (or 911 or other emergency services) if you think the person with bipolar disorder is in
danger of causing any harm to himself or herself or others.
Medical Review:Patrice Burgess MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health
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