What is mania?

Mania is an abnormal and persistently elevated, inflated, or irritable emotional state, usually accompanied by excitement, hyperactivity, agitation, overoptimism, exaggeration, or impaired judgment. Symptoms of mania can include periods of exaggerated, extreme, and sometimes dangerous behavior.

Mania is often associated with bipolar disorder, but people without these disorders can also experience mania. When this happens, it means that other causes or factors contributed to it, such as the effects of a substance or medical condition.

symptom

Symptoms of mania and hypomania, and their less severe forms, largely overlap, except that hypomania is not accompanied by psychotic symptoms, nor is it severe enough to cause significant impairment of functioning or to require hospitalization.

To be classified as mania, symptoms must persist for at least a week, cause functional difficulties or require hospitalization.

racing thoughts

If you feel like your thoughts are speeding up, repeating, or distracting you, pay attention. If other people tell you they can’t keep their thoughts together, or that their brains run miles per minute, pay attention.

Reduced need for sleep

During a manic episode, the need for sleep is significantly reduced. In turn, sleep disturbances can exacerbate the severity of mania.

But if your loved one isn’t sleeping well, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re experiencing mania. There are many reasons why a person’s sleep habits may change.

talkative or increased speech rate

While some people are born to speak more frequently or faster than others, people with mania only do this during a manic episode. This is a marked difference from their normal speech behavior, but it may be easier for others to detect the change. Talking louder than usual is another manic symptom.

Euphoria

As a symptom of mania, euphoria looks like a high and inflated emotion that includes excessive and irrational joy, hope, and excitement. Importantly, these symptoms are not the direct result of consuming substances such as drugs of abuse, drugs, or other treatments.

If you’ve also experienced depression, the euphoria may feel liberating at first, but the good feelings quickly escalate to uncontrollable and uncomfortable levels.

increase energy or activity

Manic episodes are characterized by increased goal-directed activity (social, academic or work, or sexual) and psychomotor activity in the form of agitation. This increased energy or activity may also lead to sleep problems.

Feeling jumpy or wired

This may be related to feelings of anxiety and irritability, increased energy and activity, and irritable feelings that accompany tirelessness. In some cases, it can manifest as repetitive behavior.

People may perform these actions, such as finger or foot tapping, hand fidgeting, scribbling, pacing, and multitasking, to relieve their tension without completing a task or achieving a goal.

higher libido

An increase in sex drive and desire (sexual desire) and associated sexual distress may also appear in a manic episode. While this may seem harmless or even positive on the surface, it can lead to risky sexual behavior or sexual misconduct.

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engage in risky behavior

Risky behaviors associated with mania are those that have a high likelihood of negative or distressing outcomes. They may include:

  • consumption frenzy
  • risky sex, such as unprotected sex
  • Dangerous substance use behaviors, such as sharing needles or taking more than recommended doses of drugs
  • self-harm

How to get help

If you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911. For more mental health resources, see our national helpline database.

complication

Mania cannot be ignored. Not treating symptoms can be dangerous. Non-bipolar mania doesn’t just happen. If you or a loved one suffers from mania, talk to your doctor who can help diagnose the underlying cause, initiate appropriate treatment, and reduce the risk of complications.

Suicide is the most serious complication of untreated bipolar disorder.

If a friend or loved one experiences auditory or visual hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there) or displays paranoia or other delusional behavior (believing things that aren’t real), contact a mental health professional right away. These can be severe symptoms of mania.

different types of mental illness

mania in children

Identifying mania in a child requires an understanding of the child’s basic emotions and behaviors. Even so, the symptoms of mania can be difficult to distinguish from those of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What is the difference between mania and ADHD?

Mania occurs in episodes, whereas ADHD is a chronic disease.

Common manic symptoms in children include:

  • Increased activity levels
  • irritability
  • poor judgment
  • easily distracted
  • Problems falling or staying asleep

If your child is showing signs of mania or depression, talk to their pediatrician or your GP as soon as possible. After a manic episode, mood and behavior usually return to baseline.

reason

The causes of bipolar mania are not fully understood, but may include a combination of:

  • Family history: If your parents or siblings have experienced mania, you are more likely to experience a manic episode in your lifetime.
  • Stress or environmental changes: Events such as unemployment, breakups, family conflicts, financial problems, and illness can trigger manic episodes and relapse of symptoms.
  • Brain Differences: People with bipolar disorder and other psychiatric disorders have distinct brain differences. A 2019 study involving 73 participants found that people with bipolar disorder had different activation and connectivity in the amygdala, which is involved in memory, mood, and fight-or-flight responses.

Physical conditions associated with mania include:

  • alcohol abuse
  • brain tumor
  • Brain Injury
  • childbirth (postpartum psychosis)
  • Dementia
  • encephalitis
  • lupus
  • drug side effects
  • Medication
  • lack of sleep (insomnia)
  • stroke

diagnosis

You and your doctor will discuss symptoms, including how long the attacks usually last. Next, your doctor will order tests—such as a thyroid function test and a urinalysis—to rule out other potential effects on your symptoms.

In order for a manic episode to be diagnosed as part of bipolar disorder, a person must have the following three symptoms and be largely persistent, meaning there must be noticeable changes in behavior:

  • Inflated self-esteem or arrogance
  • Reduced need for sleep, such as feeling rested only after three hours of sleep
  • Talking more than usual or feeling pressured to keep talking
  • idea flying or feeling like your idea is flying
  • Easily distracted by unimportant or irrelevant stimuli
  • increased activity or excitement
  • Excessive engagement in activities that can lead to painful consequences

The mood disorder must be so severe that it significantly impairs your social or occupational functioning, or requires hospitalization to prevent harm to yourself or others. Also, manic episodes are not the result of a substance- or drug-induced illness.

treat

Symptoms of mania can be controlled with appropriate treatment. Some people may find it easier to control their mania with a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

drug

The type of medication your doctor prescribes depends on the underlying cause of your mania. Not all medications commonly prescribed in mental health settings are suitable.

For example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are antidepressants used to treat depression but should be used with caution or avoided because they may trigger mania or worsen mood cycles.

Medications that may be prescribed include:

  • Mood stabilizers (anticonvulsants or lithium)
  • Antipsychotics
  • sleep aid
  • Benzodiazepines

treat

Psychotherapy focuses on supporting patients in managing their illness and developing healthier coping skills. It can also help patients and their families better cope with stressful periods and triggers.

Common therapies used to treat bipolar disorder and related mania include:

  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • family therapy or group therapy
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy

A review of data from 1995 to 2013 found that bipolar-specific psychotherapy, when used in combination with medication, consistently showed advantages over medication alone in terms of symptom severity and risk of recurrence.

lifestyle changes

There are some other positive changes you can make to help manage mania and bipolar disorder, including:

  • Commit to daily exercise
  • eat a more balanced diet, including regular meals rich in nutrient-dense, colorful fruits and vegetables
  • Stick to a set sleep schedule and make sleep a priority even on weekends, holidays and vacations
  • keep a journal or journal of symptoms or feelings so you can check yourself for any emotional cycles or new risky behaviors
  • Practice self-compassion, which means forgiving yourself for your reactions to triggers and engaging in self-care activities

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response

If you’ve experienced a manic episode, it can help to deal with stressors and reduce your overall stress level. Coping with personal stressors is all about removing obstacles and helping you overcome perceived difficulties.

Strategies may include:

  • Seek help from others such as family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and therapists
  • Visit local support services and agencies or organisations for people with mania or a condition that causes mania
  • receive financial aid or supplements
  • access to transportation
  • practice a sense of humor

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between bipolar depression and manic depression?

Bipolar disorder was formerly known as manic depression or manic depression. They all described mental disorders that lead to dramatic mood changes and changes in energy, activity, and attention levels.

What does a manic episode look like?

During a manic episode caused by bipolar disorder, a person can experience more energy, creativity, and euphoria. It’s common to feel confident, like you can accomplish anything. However, there can also be irritability and loss of touch with reality.

How do you calm down a manic episode?

If you develop mania, you should see a professional for diagnosis and treatment. This is usually a symptom of bipolar disorder. You can calm manic episodes to some extent by practicing anxiety-reducing techniques (such as deep breathing) and focusing on what you can see, hear, smell, and touch. You can also develop and practice stress reduction strategies. However, appropriate psychiatric medication is usually required.

What happens when a manic episode ends?

When a manic episode ends, it’s common to feel exhausted, depressed, or even disappointed, because the self-esteem and euphoria that accompany mania can easily go unnoticed. After the mania passes, you may feel hopeless about your goals, but with treatment, you can work to stabilize those ups and downs.

generalize

Mania is characterized by feelings of increased self-esteem, mood, and activity. People with manic episodes may speak quickly, require less sleep, and engage in risky behaviors, such as binge spending. Although it is one of the main features of bipolar disorder, other conditions can also cause mania. If you have manic symptoms, contact your healthcare provider to help you find the underlying cause.

VigorTip words

Experiencing mania can be frightening, confusing, and isolating, especially if the person experiencing it is understandably apprehensive about sharing their symptoms with others. Knowing that you are not alone, you can manage your symptoms and stop it from interfering with your life by seeking help and getting treatment.

If you or someone you know needs help with the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder or mania, seek help from your doctor and mental health professional. They will be able to provide a diagnosis and help you develop a treatment plan.