Mania is a drastic change in someone’s behavior that affects their ability to function in daily life over a certain period of time. Mania is a feature of several mental health diagnoses, such as bipolar disorder. Doctors may prescribe medications to treat mania, and people can use other treatments, such as talking therapy, to help them manage life with mania.
Mania is a state of extremely heightened energy or a drastic change in a person’s usual behavior and thought patterns. Mental health professionals often link mania with bipolar disorder.
Mania can cause people to act impulsively and recklessly, have racing thoughts, or feel euphoric. People may also refer to mania as a manic episode or manic phase.
In this article, we look at symptoms, causes, and diagnoses of mania, as well as treatment options and tools for living with the condition.
Mania is a drastic change in a person’s behavior that affects their day-to-day functioning and lasts for
People can experience mania on its own, or it may be part of a mental health condition, such as:
- bipolar disorder
- schizoaffective disorder
- substance induced mania
- bipolar disorder secondary to another medical condition
Some people may enjoy the experience of mania, while others may find it causes them discomfort or distress.
In some cases, mania symptoms can be severe, such as psychosis or hallucinations, and will require hospitalization.
Symptoms of mania, or a manic episode, are behaviors that are an extreme change from a person’s usual behaviors, and last for one week or longer.
People may have some of the symptoms of mania, such as high energy or talking quickly, but if that is normal behavior for them, it is probably not a manic episode.
Symptoms of mania can include:
- extreme high energy
- a reduced need for sleep
- euphoric feelings, such as extreme happiness, excitement, or feeling “high”
- feeling invincible
- racing thoughts
- being very talkative
- speaking very fast
- unusual behavior compared to a person’s normal behaviors
- being easily distracted or irritated
- increased goal-directed actions
- intense anxiety
- psychosis, which is a detachment from reality
- an increase in reckless behaviors, such as increased drug use, unprotected sex, or excessive spending
- delusions, such as paranoia
Severe symptoms of mania can be serious, and people may require treatment in hospital.
Once a manic episode has passed, people may experience any of the following:
- shame or unhappiness about their behavior
- commitment to responsibilities or tasks they now feel unable to manage
- little to no memory of what happened during the manic phase
- needing plenty of rest and sleep
If people have mania due to a mental health condition, such as bipolar disorder, they may experience a depressive episode after mania.
To diagnose mania, a doctor may carry out a number of tests to check for any underlying causes, and to rule out any other conditions. Tests may include:
- a complete blood count
- complete metabolic panel
- thyroid panel
- urine drug screening
- brain imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans, particularly in people
under the age of 13 or over the age of 60
There is currently no known cause for mania, or bipolar I disorder. Causes may involve a combination of genetics, psychological, and social factors.
There is also anecdotal evidence that social factors and stressful or traumatic life events can play a part in causing manic episodes, as well as affecting their frequency.
Environmental factors that may cause mania include:
- high stress levels
- lack of sleep, or changes to sleep patterns
- recreational drug or alcohol use
- changes in the seasons, as springtime may make the occurrence of mania more common for some people
- major life changes, such as moving or divorce
- childbirth, which may cause postpartum psychosis
- grief or bereavement
- trauma or abuse
- difficult circumstances, such as money problems, housing issues, or loneliness
- side effect of certain medications, such as some antidepressants
- side effect of a physical or neurological condition, such as lupus, dementia, stroke, or brain injury
Hypomania is a less extreme version of mania. Hypomania symptoms are similar but less severe than mania. People will not require hospitalization for hypomania.
Hypomania does not significantly affect a person’s ability to function socially or in their occupation. Hypomania lasts for
Symptoms of hypomania can include:
- euphoria or increased feelings of happiness
- rapid speech or being more talkative
- increased sexual energy
- difficulty concentrating or becoming easily distracted
- racing thoughts
- increased activity
- increased friendliness
- not sleeping very much
- excessive spending of money
- loss of social inhibitions
- increased risk taking
Hypomania most commonly affects people with bipolar II or cyclothymia.
People can see their doctor to discuss a treatment plan for mania. Treatment options may include:
People may take antipsychotic medications to treat mania. These include:
If people also have a mood disorder, they may take a drug to help stabilize their mood, such as:
If people are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, they can talk to their doctor about the safety of taking medication for mania. Taking valproate during pregnancy can increase the chances of a baby having birth defects or learning disabilities.
Other treatment options available to people living with mania include:
- Therapy: If people experience mania due to a mental health condition, such as bipolar disorder, they may benefit from talking therapy or counselling.
- Community support: If mania is affecting people’s ability to carry out everyday tasks, people may benefit from social support, such as a social worker.
- Emergency help: If people have severe symptoms, or a manic episode is continuing for a long period, people may need immediate medical treatment in a hospital. People can go to their nearest emergency room or call 911.
- Electroconvulsive therapy: In rare cases, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be an option if mania becomes life-threatening, or for people who have bipolar disorder which does not respond to other treatments. ECT passes controlled currents of electricity through the brain to cause a brief seizure in order to affect certain chemicals and neurons within the brain.
People may find the following strategies can help in day-to-day living with mania or a condition that involves mania, such as bipolar disorder:
- keeping track of moods in order to monitor them
- identifying personal triggers, and try to avoid or limit them where possible
- learning to recognize the warning signs of a manic episode
- making a plan to help manage a manic episode better, such as avoiding certain situations that may worsen symptoms, getting to sleep early, and postponing any major decisions
- sticking to a routine, and setting an alarm if it helps people remember to take medication consistently
- making time for relaxation and activities that reduce stress
- planning and managing finances to help reduce any financial concerns
- planning for an emergency, and having any important contact numbers close to hand
- maintaining physical health by eating a nutritious diet, as well as getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep
- talking to family and friends about how mania feels, and how they may help with any self-care plans or reminders
- finding a support group locally or online to connect with people going through similar experiences
Mania is a drastic change in a person’s usual state and behavior. People may experience euphoric highs, heightened energy, or impulsive behavior.
Mania lasts for one week or longer and can affect people’s ability to function as usual. Mania can occur by itself, but often has an association with bipolar disorder.
Mania symptoms can be severe and people may need treatment in a hospital. Treatments for mania can include antipsychotic or mood-stabilizing medication.
Taking care of physical health, learning warning signs, and putting self-care and coping strategies in place can also help people living with mania.