What is a manic episode?
A manic episode is a period of constant and unusually elevated (‘high’) or irritable mood and a noticeable increase in energy or activity. This generally lasts at least one week and leads to a range of difficulties in a person’s daily life.
When someone is having a manic episode they may experience a combination of:
- Elevated mood – feeling euphoric, ‘high’ or ‘on top of the world’, or very irritable
- Less need for sleep – sleeping very little without feeling tired
- More energy, activity and drive – having lots of projects or plans, walking long distances, being always ‘on the go’
- Racing thoughts and rapid speech – thoughts jumping around from topic to topic, speech that is difficult for others to follow
- Being disinhibited – engaging in high-risk behaviours that are out of character and potentially harmful, including sexual risk-taking, driving too fast, abusing alcohol or other drugs, or spending large amounts of money
- Inflated self-esteem – ranging from uncritical self-confidence to grandiose beliefs (e.g. believing they have special powers or talents)
- Psychotic symptoms – not being in touch with reality and having hallucinations, delusional ideas, or disorganised thinking and speech
Whether these experiences are pleasant or frightening some people may be reluctant to get help. They may not believe that they are unwell or that they need treatment. They may also be feeling very suspicious and/ or confused, making it hard for them to trust others.
What is a depressive episode?
A depressive episode is a period of lowered mood, with changes in thinking and behaviour that lasts for at least two weeks.
Typical symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling in a low mood – sadness, irritability, tearfulness
- Losing interest in enjoyable activities
- Changes in appetite and weight – eating more or less than usual, gaining or losing weight rapidly
- Changes in sleeping patterns – trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping much more than usual
- Lowered energy and lack of motivation
- Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
- Poor concentration and memory problems
- Thoughts about suicide