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How do I react to brother who is manic?

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My brother is currently in the middle of a bipolar manic episode. He is convinced he is going to make millions at his company, that world political figures are going to show up at his apartment to learn from him and that he cures everyone he meets of whatever might ail them. Although he has been diagnosed with bipolar disease, he thinks he is currently fine. I don’t know how to react to him. He is seeing a doctor, but I don’t know whether to try to convince him he is bipolar by pointing out how irrational his ideas are or whether I should just listen to what he is saying and act as if I agree. I don’t want to betray his trust in me by showing I don’t think he’s making sense but it’s hard for me to listen to him without trying to ‘snap him out of it’. Is there any reaction I’m definitely supposed to avoid when dealing with a manic person?

How do I react to brother who is manic?

Answered by on -


You can’t argue with someone who is in a manic episode. He really does feel fine. He probably tells you he’s never felt better. He’s not going to be reasonable because he’s not in a place to be reasoned with. All you can do is gently, persistently, and consistently give him a reality check. Let him know that those who love him see him as manic and in danger or making some really poor decisions that he will regret later. Do all you can not to leave him alone and try to pursuade him to see his doctor. If he spins out of control so that he is a danger to himself or others, you may have to call the police to take him to a hospital to be evaluated and possibly admitted. (Protecting someone who is out of control is not a betrayal.) He will probably be furious with you for intervening — until he settles down and realizes that you saved him from himself.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How do I react to brother who is manic?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). How do I react to brother who is manic?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 22, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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