A manic episode consists of an abnormally elevated (high) mood and is often accompanied by impulsive, reckless and sometimes dangerous behaviour. Someone experiencing mania will often have an inflated self-esteem, racing thoughts and ideas (which make them very talkative), and may not need as much sleep. People with mania will sometimes also feel very creative. Though it may feel good at first, a manic episode can become very scary for an individual with bipolar and the people around them. Their impulsive behaviour can put themselves and others at risk.
Hypomanic episodes are very similar to manic episodes, but are less extreme. If someone is having a hypomanic episode, they will still have an abnormally good mood and high self-esteem, but to a lesser extent than a person with mania. Though the symptoms may not be as severe as mania, a hypomanic episode can still be scary and the behaviour may put the individual at risk. A key to diagnosing a hypomanic episode is if the behaviour and mood are significantly different from how the person normally feels and behaves.
A depressive episode is similar to major depression and will often make the person feel like they have little self-worth and they will have a very low mood. They may also experience thoughts about self-harm or suicide.
If you, or someone you know is thinking about committing suicide, you can call Samaritans for help on tel 116 123 (Free number).
A mixed episode consists of a mix of manic (or hypomanic) symptoms and depressive symptoms. A person having a mixed episode may have a mixture of highs and lows at the same time.