Bipolar Mania Symptoms

Racing Thoughts & Flight of Ideas

What are racing thoughts & flight of ideas?

Racing thoughts literally mean that thoughts race, or go very fast. Racing thoughts usually present with flight of ideas.41

In flight of ideas, the subject of thought changes very quickly. A person suffering from this bipolar symptom will change the topic of conversation frequently.14

What does it feel like to have racing thoughts & flight of ideas?

Racing thoughts and flight of ideas leave the person feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.

Although the person may feel worn and tired, the inability to fall asleep can result in feelings of frustration.

How do I know if someone suffers from racing thoughts and flight of ideas?

The person may be highly distracted and change the subject of the conversation constantly.

Pressured speech is common. The words may sound rushed and sentences are scrambled. He or she is unable to talk fast enough to keep up with their thoughts and ideas.

The person may share with you that their thoughts are going very fast, feeling uncomfortable and annoyed by their incessant thinking.

How does this bipolar disorder symptom impact life?

Racing thoughts may trigger insomnia or interfere with a person's ability to work, study, or to enjoy leisure activities. It is difficult to fully interact with the external environment when the mind is active and draws attention inward.

The person may be busy, but unable to accomplish a great deal. Their attention shifts consistently and the person begins to work on other things without finishing tasks in progress.

Bipolar mania sufferers often report they have no control over their thoughts and are unable to slow them down. This may prevent them from falling asleep at night.16

My Story

"I need some chocolate. Do I have homework? Do fish breath underwater? Maybe I should phone Anthony. This world seems so messed up. My teacher was so upset. Wait, I forgot to clean the kitchen. Is it going to snow today? Right, I was going to clean the kitchen." Whenever my thoughts race like this and the ideas fly by I can't pay attention, and nothing gets done.

~ Aldon, Miami, FL