Manic Risk Taking
Manic risk-taking, like self-harming, comes in two flavours: 1) arising
from a dysphoric mixed state 2) arising from a euphoric manic state. The
former can end badly indeed as can the second, but the first is particularly
dangerous as it has self-harm as a component.
Someone in a euphoric manic state is normally not aware that the activity
they are participating in has great physical risks associated with it.
They are quite often so "full" of themselves that they take
risks they wouldn't ordinarily take for the fun of it. Or, they may be
so out of touch with reality that the behaviour seems a reasonable thing
to do at the time. The key to this kind of manic risk-taker is that they'd
normally not do most of the things they would do while in this mood. Manic
risk-taking can entail hypersexuality where risky sex is the norm, it
may entail fast driving or engaging in high profile risky sports. Whatever
the manifestation, the degree of risk is not seen as something to worry
about by the person in that mood. Do your best to guard this person from
certain injury or death by talking them down until you can get them some
The former form of risk-taking is even more deadly because it has as its
impetus the desire to die without having to make the conscious choice
to do so. The risk-taking is extreme and the result is often a trip to
the hospital due to injuries incurred whilst in the throes of a mixed
state gone amok. This kind of risk-taker is tempting fate to do the job
for them because they don't want to do it themselves. Why do they choose
to tempt fate in this manner, well, usually it's because the impulse is
there though not necessarily in the forefront of their mind. Or, it may
be that the stigma attached to suicide prompts them to choose another
method so that it is "easier" for their loved ones to deal with
their death. Rest assured that you better not let someone in a mixed,
angry state out behind the wheel of a vehicle and you might definitely
want to keep substance abuse possibilities at the very minimum or not
available at all. Adding substances like alcohol to the mixed state is
like throwing gasoline on a fireůsomeone is going to get hurt and hurt
What can you do to help in this situation? Try not to incite the person
in this mood with inflammatory statements and such, remain calm. Stay
centred, but refuse to endanger yourself or others to suit the manic person.
So...no getting into a car with them and driving off into what may be
both your and their last sunset. If you must, call the police to restrain
the manic person or talk to themůbut this should be a last resort action.
Do try to talk them into calling their psychiatrist or therapist, and
don't leave them alone. Being alone is this person's worst enemy
because they only have their own mind to answer to and that can be catastrophic.
Stay with them; stay quiet and talk calmly and soothingly, suggest soothing
quiet activities if you can. Keep your head about you because they may
not. And do not take risks to your own safety in order to keep up with
themůmuch better to get some help than to compound the danger.