Manic Episodes: How to Prevent Them and How to Help

Table of Contents

This guide provides useful strategies to prevent manic episodes. It suggests maintaining a daily routine, avoiding triggers, following prescribed medication plans, and practicing self-care. The guide also recommends creating a safety plan to prepare for potential manic episodes.

It also offers practical advice on how to help someone who is experiencing a manic episode. It covers effective communication techniques and actions that can be taken to ensure safety and facilitate professional help.

Concerned about having a manic episode?

Symptoms of mania can include increased energy, reduced need for sleep, grandiosity, rapid speech, racing thoughts, distractibility, impulsivity, or engaging in risky behaviors.

We have a guide to recognize mania. We strongly recommend seeking professional help if you suspect manic symptoms. In cases where mania significantly disrupts your life or puts you at risk of harm, you may need to seek emergency treatment.

Prevention: How to stay away from manic episodes

Keep a daily routine

Maintain a daily routine that includes regular sleep patterns, meals, exercise, and relaxation techniques. A stable routine can help manage symptoms and provide structure.

Limit triggers

Identify potential triggers that could exacerbate mania, such as stressors or substances like caffeine or other stimulants. Find ways to minimize or avoid them.

Stick to your medication plan

Agree with your clinician on a clear medication plan that includes what medications should be taken and when.

Practice self-care

Compile a list of self-care activities that help manage stress and promote well-being such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, journaling, or spending time in nature.

Just in case: Creating a safety plan

When you’re well, develop a plan that outlines steps to take if you start to experience symptoms of mania.

Share this plan with trusted friends or relatives.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Contact Information: Compile a list of contact information for your clinician. Include trusted friends or relatives who can assist during a manic episode.
  2. Financial Safeguards: Put safeguards in place for financial decisions. For example, setting spending limits on credit cards or having a trusted person monitor your finances if necessary.
  3. Crisis Plan: Have an emergency action plan if the situation escalates to crisis levels. This includes hospitalization or the need for intensive outpatient support.

How to help someone during a manic episode

When someone is experiencing mania, they may not realize they need help or may resist assistance due to the nature of their symptoms.

What to say

Keep it simple

When someone is having a manic episode, they might find it hard to understand lots of information at once.

Speak in short, clear sentences.

  • Complex version:
  • “I’ve noticed that you’re having trouble sleeping and you’re talking really fast, and I’m worried because this happened last time, and you said it was a sign of mania”
  • Simpler version:
    “You seem to have lots of energy. Let’s sit down for a moment together.”

Listen well

It’s important to show that you’re really listening. Use your words and body language to show you’re paying attention.

If they say something like, “I feel like I can do anything right now!” You can respond with, “It sounds like you’re feeling very powerful. Tell me more about that.”

Be patient and understanding

Listening can be more effective than talking when trying to defuse an intense situation.

Stay calm and avoid arguing with them about their behaviors.

Find Common Ground

Look for things you can agree on. You don’t have to agree with everything; just show that you hear them and respect their feelings.

What to do

Offer practical assistance

Help them make appointments with mental health professionals and offer transportation if needed.

Ensure safety

Prioritize safety over concerns about upsetting them. If their behavior poses a risk to themselves or others, do not hesitate to contact emergency services.

Remove potential dangers

If possible, eliminate access to things that could be harmful, such as car keys, credit cards, or anything that could be used in a dangerous manner.

Be prepared for resistance

Understand that the person may not agree they need help. They may resist intervention and insist they are fine.


  • Establishing a consistent daily routine, identifying personal triggers, regular sleep, meals, exercise, relaxation techniques, and avoiding stimulants or stressors are critical preventive measures for manic episodes.
  • Engaging in activities such as mindfulness, yoga, and journaling while adhering to medication plans are essential for managing symptoms and maintaining mental well-being.
  • When someone is experiencing a manic episode, it’s important to communicate clearly, listen actively, be patient, prioritize safety, and be prepared for potential resistance to help.

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