Periods of unusually elevated mood and energy, known as mania, can affect everything from your relationships to your finances. Learning to recognize when mania is ending and knowing how to cope afterward can help lessen its impact on your life.

Mania is a physiological state featuring unusually elevated mood, energy, and activity. It often involves feelings of euphoria, impulsivity, or grandiosity.

Many people experience symptoms of mental and physical agitation, such as restlessness, rapid speech, and a decreased need for sleep.

A clinical episode of mania can last at least 7 days and cause significant impairment. While considered a defining feature of bipolar disorders, mania can also occur under other circumstances, such as traumatic brain injury.

Regardless of the cause, manic episodes can wreak havoc on your day-to-day. Being able to recognize when a manic episode is ending and knowing how to cope afterward can help limit the ways mania affects your life.

A manic episode is typically defined as an unusually elevated and energetic mood. You may feel like you can do or achieve anything. On the other hand, you may also feel extremely irritable.

Some other symptoms you may experience during a manic episode include:

  • extreme happiness or euphoria
  • a feeling of boundless energy
  • racing thoughts
  • an inflated self-esteem or self-importance
  • a feeling like you need no sleep or less sleep
  • talking fast
  • engaging in harmful behaviors, such as sexual indiscretions or shopping sprees

Mania is associated with increases in energy and elevated mood. Therefore, signs that a manic episode is ending usually include the decline of those symptoms.

“These signs vary from person to person, but generally speaking, a person feels a return to typical functioning, including reduced irritability, normalization of sleep patterns, decreased energy levels and harmful behaviors, and lessened talking activity,” explains Irina Baechle, a licensed clinical social worker from Raleigh, North Carolina.

Changes tend to be gradual and can include:

  • decreased or slowed speech output
  • return of a calmer, more even-keel demeanor
  • clearer, more focused thinking
  • more restful physical state
  • improved sleep
  • reduced drive to take risks
  • improved impulse control
  • diminished sense of general urgency

There’s more to the end of a manic episode than returning to your neutral level of function.

According to Jacob Wilen, an associate marriage and family therapist from Malibu, California, losing the intensity of mania can initially feel bland and monotonous. You may feel exhausted physically and mentally, and feelings such as anger, frustration, regret, and guilt are common.

“Realizing the damage and facing the consequences can lead to a deep spiral of shame and, eventually, severe depression,” Wilen says. “As they say, ‘What goes up must come down.'”

He adds that medications, such as mood stabilizers and antipsychotics, can interrupt mania, reduce compulsive behaviors, and restore emotional balance while protecting you from a depressive crash.

Certain medications, however, can cause intense fatigue and brain fog as your body adjusts to them.

“Working closely with a psychiatrist and therapist during this vulnerable time is essential,” he says. “The fog will clear eventually, and you can recover with the help of a good treatment team.”

A manic episode can be disruptive, but you can help yourself get back on track by staying proactive and setting yourself up for success.

Be gentle with yourself

Wilen recommends taking it easy on yourself. “Your body and brain just went through a lot. Don’t take on new projects, make major decisions, and put any travel plans on hold. Reduce stress wherever possible and keep it simple,” he says.

Keep up with healthy lifestyle habits

Fostering healthy lifestyle habits when you’re in a neutral state can help you maintain them when you’re experiencing a manic episode.

Developing a consistent sleep schedule, for example, can encourage your body to naturally want to sleep and wake up at the same time. It may not always override the urges of mania, but it can position you for success.

“While it’s challenging to prevent manic episodes entirely, managing stress, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and avoiding substances that can trigger mania (such as alcohol and drugs) can help,” says Kim Homan, a licensed marriage and family therapist from Nashville, Tennessee.

“It’s also important to adhere to any treatment plans, including medication and therapy, recommended by your healthcare professional.”

Rely on your support network

Having a support system available after a manic episode can be a source of comfort and guidance. Support systems can include trusted friends, family members, healthcare professionals, and organized groups of people sharing like experiences.

“Reach out to your therapist or a health coach, family, and friends,” suggests Baechle. “Processing your inner world with a specialized guide and feeling heard and seen soothes your nervous system and provides a much-needed release and hope.”

Wilen indicates that attending an intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a common recommendation for treating bipolar disorder.

“IOPs offer group therapy 4 to 5 days per week, where you can process your experiences with others with similar diagnoses,” he says. “Some IOPs offer yoga, nutrition counseling, and sobriety groups if addiction is a co-occurring problem.”

Consulting with your mental health professional

Symptoms of mania can be treated and often improved with medication and targeted interventions.

If you’ve just experienced a manic episode, speaking with your mental health professional can help ensure you’re on the correct dosage of medication and that no adjustments to your treatment plan are needed.

Learning more about mania can help you and those around you recognize the end of manic episodes and know what to do in the aftermath.

Can a manic episode be prevented?

Baechle indicates that complete prevention may not be possible due to complex interactions between genetics and brain chemistry, but reducing the frequency and intensity of episodes is possible.

How can I prep my life when I think a manic episode is coming?

Homan recommends keeping a diary to track your symptoms. This can help you gain insight into any changes that might suggest an oncoming manic episode.

She also recommends developing a plan with your doctor that outlines emergency contacts, medication adjustments, and strategies to ensure safety.

Other steps you can take if you feel mania coming on include:

  • limiting the amount of cash you have on hand
  • avoiding stimulant and substance use
  • focusing on stress management and relaxation strategies
  • asking a family member or loved one to take control of finances and legalities

How do you calm a manic episode naturally?

Wilen states that the research is clear when it comes to manic episodes: medication is the only reliable form of intervention.

However, Homan adds that the following natural approaches can complement professional treatment:

  • deep-breathing exercises
  • mindfulness meditation
  • light physical activity, such as walking
  • reducing stimuli, such as loud noises or bright lights

Mania is a state of heightened energy and mood lasting at least a week. It’s most often associated with bipolar disorders but can also occur under other circumstances.

Signs you may be exiting a manic episode include decreases in energy, improved sleep, more focused thinking, and less rapid speech.

It’s also natural to experience an array of negative feelings when coming out of mania. Keeping up with healthy lifestyle habits, maintaining your support systems, and being kind to yourself can help you bounce back as soon as possible.