Mania is a mood state that is characterised by a euphoric high. Someone that is going through mania is said to be “manic”.

Those in a manic state will typically lose control of their actions, and may take part in impulsive, risky or adventurous behaviour.

Mania is a mood state that is best associated with Bipolar Disorder, though it also applies to Schizoaffective Disorder.

A manic episode frequently causes significant impairment, and may require hospitalisation in severe cases. In this article, we take a look at mania.

Mania is a common symptom in Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms of Mania

Mania will normally last for a week or more. In this time, the person in a manic state will normally see their symptoms negatively impacting their ability to complete their usual activities.

Unfortunately, the person will not realise that they are in a manic state, and therefore can’t control their actions. A manic episode would typically see an individual exhibit some of, or all of, the following symptoms:

  • Excessively happy feeling, euphoria
  • Uncontrollably excited
  • Racing thoughts
  • Very confident
  • Not needing much sleep
  • Feelings of grandiosity
  • Acting impulsively
  • Taking risks
  • Irritable
  • More promiscuous
  • Symptoms of psychosis

What do people do when they’re manic?

The exact activities or actions that a person does when they are manic is different from person to person.

Some examples include a person being incredibly active, going on spending sprees, abusing substances, or engaging in risky activity. They will often appear to others as over-friendly, or overly-irritable. The person will often engage in behaviour that they would never do normally.

Manic episodes can be very, very distressing. Furthermore, in some cases, those around the person can be impacted too, including family members.

In the most severe cases of mania, an individual may experience symptoms of psychosis. For example, this may include hallucinations, delusions or severely disorganised behaviour.

Psychosis can cause extreme distress, and can lead to an individual behaving in a strange manner. Combined with the other symptoms of a manic episode, there is potential for significant damage to be done.

Manic episodes can slowly build up in severity. At the start of an episode, an individual may be very productive and have high energy.

But this will normally progress into the state where the individual loses any inhibition they have, and this is when impulsive behaviour can take place.

What causes Mania?

It isn’t often clear what causes a manic episode. Normally, it is a sign of an underlying mental health condition. You can see potential causes of Bipolar Disorder here.

A manic episode can be induced by antidepressant consumption, in cases where an individual has been misdiagnosed with Depression [1].

Genetics is certainly a risk factor, with conditions like Bipolar Disorder commonly running in families. Past trauma is another other risk factor.

How is a Manic episode treated?

It is very important that someone who has had, or is going through, a manic episode accesses treatment.

It will commonly be down to a close friend or family member of the individual to instigate treatment, as the individual involved may not realise the gravity of what has happened, or happening.

By seeing a Doctor, an individual can receive a referral to a mental health specialist, who can diagnose the condition.

Treatment for mania normally revolves around the mood stabilising medication Lithium Carbonate. Lithium is very useful for helping to prevent future manic episodes and to generally stabilise mood. Lithium needs to be taken on a long-term basis.

It can also be used during a manic episode, as can other stabilisers like Valproate and Carbamazepine, or an antipsychotic like Quetiapine, Olanzapine, Risperidone or Aripiprazole.

Other medicines, outlined above, can be used if an individual doesn’t respond well to Lithium. Unfortunately, relapse is likely, although medication substantially reduces the risk.

What happens after a Manic episode?

In the aftermath of a manic episode, it is common for an individual to feel ashamed or guilty, as they come to terms with what has happened.

They may find themselves in financial difficulty due to commitments that they made during their manic episode. Moreover, they may also have developed relationship or familial problems during their episode.

They will rarely have much of a recollection of their actions during the manic episode. Finally, they will normally be in desperate need of catching up on sleep.

Mania and hypomania

It should be pointed out that hypomania is a similar mood state which features similar symptoms – albeit with less severity. While mania is associated with Bipolar I Disorder, hypomania is associated with Bipolar II Disorder.

Moreover, it is possible for an individual to be in a mixed affective state, where they showcase symptoms of a major depressive episode, as well as their manic symptoms.

Mania or hypomania can also be a symptom of Schizoaffective Disorder. Cyclothymia is a related condition.

Summary

Mania is a very difficult mood state to live with, and is associated with very severe mental health conditions. Fortunately, treatment is available, which can help an individual manage their symptoms more.

The aim is for mania to not to have a debilitating effect on the individual’s life, and help them lead as normal a life as possible.

See Also

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References

[1]          Goldberg, J. F., & Truman, C. J. (2003). Antidepressant-induced mania: an overview of current controversies. Bipolar Disorders. 5 (6): p407-420. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1399-5618.2003.00067.x.