Recognizing a Manic Episode of Manic Depression Manic depression, also called bipolar disorder , is characterized by moods that swing from depression to mania, an inappropriate state of elation. While on paper these symptoms seem quite clear enough, many individuals who suffer with manic depression as well as those who care for them, may find it difficult to recognize a manic episode when it occurs. The strict dictionary definition of a manic behavior is 'excitement manifested by mental and physical hyperactivity, disorganization of behavior, and elevation of mood.' This is a close approximation of what occurs during a mania episode of manic depression.

The manic behavior of manic depression includes not just an increased energy level, but a level of hyperactivity as well as an heightened mood. But more than that, mania of manic depression can also be accompanied by impaired judgment. This can have serious consequences. An individual with manic depression may participate in reckless and dangerous behavior. It's not unusual for him to engage in thrill-seeking and risky behavior with no regard for his own safety. In severe cases of manic depression, the individual affected may even experience delusions and hallucinations. A sometimes overlooked, but nevertheless, very real symptom of a mania episode associated with manic depression includes irritability and even aggression. The person with manic depression does not have a realistic grasp of his own capabilities while in this state.

The person with manic depression believes - in this manic episode - that he can do far more than what's realistic. He also has an overinflated sense - if temporary -- of his own self worth. The person in the throes of a manic episode of manic depression has so much energy that very often he feels as if he doesn't have the need for much sleep. Curiously, when he doesn't sleep, he doesn't feel the fatigue from that lack of sleep. In fact, people in the middle of a mania episode have been know to write books - working constantly on the project without sleep - or develop other creative projects.