Manic episodes are a common symptom of bipolar disorder and sometimes other mental health conditions affecting millions worldwide. These episodes can be incredibly distressing for the individual experiencing them as well as their loved ones. If you have a partner or family member with bipolar disorder, it is essential to understand what may trigger a manic episode and how to manage it gracefully. In this post, we will provide you with some tips on how to calm a manic episode and support your loved one during these difficult times.
Recognize The Symptoms
The first step is to learn how to recognize the symptoms that lead up to a manic episode; the best time to intervene is before things go too far, as it can be challenging to get through to your loved one once they’re in the middle of a full-blown episode. During a manic episode and the lead-up over a period of days or sometimes even weeks, an individual may experience the following:
- High energy levels
- Decreased need for sleep
- Rapid speech and thoughts
- Impulsive behavior
- Grandiose ideas and beliefs
- Increased irritability
If you notice these symptoms, it is essential to approach your loved one with patience and compassion. Try to understand that they are experiencing a shift in their mood and may not be in control of their actions. Avoid criticizing or blaming them for their behavior.
Validate Their Feelings
During a manic episode, validating your loved one’s feelings is crucial, even if you do not understand them. They may have grandiose beliefs or ideas that seem unrealistic or outlandish, but it is essential to remember that these ideas are real to them. Avoid dismissing their emotions or telling them to “calm down.” Instead, listen to them and try to understand what they are going through. Let them know that you are there for them and care about their well-being.
Create a Safe and Calming Environment
Creating a safe and calming environment can help your loved one to relax and reduce the intensity of their manic episode. Here are some strategies you can use:
Turn Off All Electronics and Reduce Sensory Stimulation
Bright lights and loud noises can be overwhelming during a manic episode. Turn off all electronics, including the TV, computer, and phone, and reduce sensory stimulation as much as possible.
Use Calming Scents
Essential oils can help create a calming environment. Peppermint and lavender oil are known for their calming properties.
Create a Comfortable Space
Make sure the room is comfortable and inviting. Add soft pillows, blankets, and dim lighting to create a relaxing atmosphere.
Encouraging your loved one to engage in self-care activities can help them manage their symptoms and reduce the intensity of a manic episode. Here are some self-care strategies you can suggest:
Encourage your loved one to practice mindfulness through meditation or deep breathing exercises. These practices can help them to stay grounded and centered.
Engage in Physical Activity
Physical activity, such as going for a walk or doing yoga, can help to reduce anxiety and stress.
Get Sufficient Sleep
Adequate sleep is essential for managing bipolar disorder symptoms. Encourage your loved one to establish a consistent sleep schedule and practice good sleep hygiene.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet can help to reduce the severity of manic episodes. Encourage your loved one to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
Seeking Professional Help
Caring for a loved one with bipolar disorder can be challenging, but it is essential to remember that they are not their illness. It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to go through this alone. A wide variety of resources are available for those suffering from bipolar disorder and their families, and treatment can and does help.
If you’re ready to help your loved one overcome manic episodes and take control of their lives, The Life Adjustment Team is here to help. We offer personalized, one-to-one support to meet your loved one’s unique healthcare needs. Our hands-on group and individual Cognitive and Dialectical Behavior Therapy sessions help clients find ways to accept themselves, feel safe, and manage their emotions to help regulate potentially harmful or destructive behaviors. Contact us today to set up an appointment and begin your recovery journey.