Bipolar Disorder – Why Can not I Seem to Control Myself?

During a bipolar manic episode, you may "feel fine" – in fact, you may feel exhilarated, happy, energized, and more creative or productive. On the other hand, you may do things over which you feel you have no control.

You may even ask, "Why can not I seem to control myself?" Perhaps you go shopping, for example. Normally, you would be able to stop at a certain amount of spending. However, in a manic state, there is no "red light" in your brain that tells you when "enough is enough," and you will keep spending until you have no more money to buy anything.

When you are in a normal state of mind, the chemicals in your brain are balanced correctly, but in a manic episode they are out of balance. Only through the use of medication (and at the correct dosage for you) can these chemicals be restored to their correct balance and your symptoms be alleviated.

Can you control yourself during a manic episode? No, you can not – not without proper treatment.

You can not control the chemicals in your brain, and when they are out of balance, they will cause impulsive behaviors that you also can not control. These behaviors are probably the reason you are asking, "Why can not I seem to control myself?"

You are probably doing such things as the following:

• Feeling unusually happy or elated
• Feeling either extremely optimistic or very irritable
• Having a great deal of energy
• Experiencing little need for sleep
• Talking rapidly; going from subject to subject
• Having "racing thoughts;" not being able to shut off your brain
• Being unable to concentrate or focus; very easily distracted
• Possibly having delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there)

When you're in a manic episode, you no longer have control over your thoughts and actions. You experience impaired judgment and impulsive behavior, giving no thought to the consequences.

This leads to behaviors over which you have no control, like the excessive spending I referred to earlier. Other such behaviors could be: reckless driving; risky sex; compulsive gambling; substance abuse; and foolish business decisions.

The good news is that once you receive proper treatment, you will no longer be in a bipolar manic episode, and your thinking will be restored to normal.