How Long Do Manic Episodes Last?

how long does a manic episode last

While everyone’s moods and energy levels are subject to change, mania is a dramatic departure from your typical thoughts, behaviors and energy levels. During a manic episode, you can have delusional ideas, hallucinations and paranoia. This condition can be highly disruptive and cause problems with your relationships and responsibilities.

A manic episode can last for weeks or even months, depending on whether you are in a manic phase of a mental illness like bipolar I disorder or you are experiencing mania induced by a drug such as meth or cocaine. A less severe form of mania called hypomania presents with similar symptoms, but is not as long-lasting and doesn’t involve psychotic symptoms.

What Happens During a Manic Episode?

Mania looks different for everyone, but it generally includes some of the following characteristics:

  • Being extremely excited, happy and energetic
  • Feeling unstoppable
  • Making irresponsible decisions regarding things like your health, money and safety
  • Staying awake for days in a row
  • Speaking rapidly, with disjointed thoughts racing out all at once
  • Becoming detached from reality
  • Inability to keep your attention focused on tasks
  • Starting multiple projects you can’t complete

Note that these symptoms should represent a drastic change from what you are typically like. Someone who always speaks quickly, acts impulsively and doesn’t sleep much is probably not experiencing a manic episode.

Consequences of Mania

Though you can feel invincible and euphoric during a manic episode, that doesn’t mean there are never any negative repercussions. Sometimes, mania can lead to impulsive, dangerous behavior like driving while intoxicated or spending money on things you can’t afford. You might end up in financial or legal trouble due to the choices you make while you are manic.

Since irrational decisions are a hallmark of mania, you might get inspired to commit to a massive new undertaking that you can’t realistically carry out. For instance, you could have the idea to pour your life savings into opening a restaurant, even if you don’t know how to cook and have no experience in the hospitality industry.

What Causes Manic Episodes?

While mania may seem unpredictable the first few times it happens, you can identify your triggers by keeping track of how you feel before and during a manic episode. Ask people who know you well to help identify your triggers. As outside observers, they may notice changes from your usual behavior more quickly than you do.

Knowing what might trigger mania can help you shorten a manic episode or even prevent one from occurring.

Common causes to be aware of include:

  • A crowded, busy or otherwise overstimulating environment
  • A significant life change, such as the end of a professional or romantic relationship
  • A lack of restful, high-quality sleep
  • Substance abuse

Where to Restore Your Well-Being

If you are struggling with your mental health and substance abuse, help is available. At New Found Life, we have served our Long Beach community and facilitated connections since 1993. Our evidence-based continuum of care has been successful for hundreds of clients because we account for everyone’s unique physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. To learn more, reach out to us today. We are here for you 24/7.