I have mentioned this topic before and week after week, it is the most searched for topic on Google that directs people to my blog. So what I want to do is list some symptoms, and talk about methods that can help one to avoid this ugly part of this already disruptive disorder.
Symptoms of Mania
elevated mood, feeling high or superior, racing thoughts, creative ideas, leads to agitation and poor decisions, alternate with depression, grandiose, irritable, belligerent, deny anything is wrong, high energy, decreased perception of need (or ability) to sleep, hyper-sexuality, hyper-religiosity, hyper activity, talkativeness, grandiose ideas and plans, out of character behavior, increased stress in personal relationships, and problems at work.
Other possible symptoms of Mania
elation, extreme optimism, rapid speech, racing thoughts/flight of ideas, agitation, poor judgment, recklessness, easily distracted, inability to concentrate, believing you’re int the best mental state.
Severe Symptoms of Mania
Hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, intense and unusual religious belief, sexual promiscuity, risk taking, gambling, and binge spending.
As you can see here, these symptoms, which may seem fairly easy to deal with, often come and turn your life upside down… ruining personal relationships, and professional relationships. The two symptoms that really have me interested are hyper-sexuality and hyper-religiosity… the latter fascinates me and I believe I may need to research it and do an entirely separate post about it.
What is Hyper-sexuality?
Bipolar Hyper-sexuality often shows itself during a manic episode. During mania, we often make very impulsive decisions that can have a life altering affect. Including impulsive choices with sexual activity. We may become excessively interested or involved in sexual activity…. with an increase in sexual activity with ones partner, involvement in internet porn, and excessive use of telephone sex service (regardless of the cost).
At times, during hyper-sexuality, one may engage in extramarital affairs, seek out prostitutes, etc. All are risky behaviors
Well, what is significant is that there is a change or difference from ones normal behavior. Often times, during Hyper-sexuality, one will have multiple sex partners, think about sex constantly, engage in one night stands, and a abnormally high interest in internet porn.
How can we “treat” Hyper-sexuality during mania?
There is no tried and true treatment for someone experiencing Hyper-sexuality. It can possibly be treated by either introducing, or increasing the use of an anti-psychotic. Aside from that, there are no medications to help with this… but instead, one must use other means to keep themselves in control.
Some recommendations include: occupying your time with hobbies that you love to do or learn a new hobby and become engrossed in learning it. This will keep your mind and hands busy… which would help tremendously when hyper-sexuality is rearing its ugly head. Also, begin a new exercise regimen. If you already workout, maybe change it up a bit and add yoga classes. Keeping your time occupied is a good preventative. Perhaps get into therapy and learn more/new coping skills… a skilled therapist would certainly be beneficial. Always avoid situations that may be compromising… keeping your head clear and staying away from potential opportunities for sex is key. If the opportunity isn’t right in front of your face, it will be easier to remain strong in your resolution. Avoid alcohol. (Very important.) Alcohol lowers our inhibitions… allowing one to say or do something that we wouldn’t otherwise do. Alcohol should be avoided anyways by those diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder… but even-more-so, it should be avoided in social circumstances where you could have the opportunity to act on your Hyper-sexuality. Another great idea for those of you in relationships… have more sex. Yes, you read that right. Use your mania to your advantage and have as much sex as you want. This is safe for those in a monogamous relationship of course, and should be used as much as you desire. Doing this may help one to quench that Hyper-sexual sex desire. Get into it… try new sexual positions, role play, add a little pornography if that’s your thing. Add new toys to your collection (again, if that is your thing). Get kinky… talk dirty… etc. Just get into being sexual with your partner. Doing this is healthy for your relationship and also for your mind… orgasms are good for mental health and help to release endorphins, which are ‘feel good’ chemicals.
Even though there is no way to get rid of Hyper-sexuality, there are healthy ways to help keep it in control as mentioned above. I am sure that you can come up with more good ideas of your own…
Another thing that would be helpful is to create an action plan for when an episode strikes you. Having this plan in place will help you all around, whether it’s mania or depression that kicks in. It will help you to feel more in control of this disorder, and it will give you helpful ideas of what to do (or not do). An action plan is a must, not only for you, but also for others who will have an idea (based on your action plan) of how to help you.
Above all else… remember that you can always ask for help from family and friends. You do not have to go through everything alone. Having someone close to you to help is the best medicine.
Other Suggestions by fellow bloggers:
*Stay mindful and identify manic symptoms.- Kristin Barton Cuthriell
*Meditate- Lady Lovely
* Be Hyper-vigilant and recognize symptoms, communicate with therapist or anyone you trust.- The Secret Keeper
Hyper-sexuality and Bipolar Disorder- Bipolarmuse.com