Mania is a period of abnormally heightened mood , emotions, energy level, or activity level. The intensity of a person’s physical, mental, and behavioural energy differs from who they typically are and is apparent to others. Mania leads to complications, and it is necessary to identify its signs to seek medical help. This blog is a comprehensive guide on manic episodes, their symptoms, causes and treatment options available.
How does mania manifest itself?
Manic behaviour is abnormal behaviour that stands out and makes it obvious to other individuals that it is excessive conduct. The actions can be a result of great happiness or annoyance. For example, sometimes, randomly, a business idea hits the person undergoing a manic episode. The person may feel enthusiastic about making that happen and become successful overnight without capital, experience or support. A maniac will spend a lot of time and effort, along with many sleepless nights, focusing on tasks like these.
What is a manic episode?
When a person has one or more mania symptoms, they are said to be experiencing a manic episode. In certain instances, a person may need to be hospitalized. In theory, having a manic episode qualifies as having a mental health disorder. Mania can be a symptom of various mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder , perinatal psychosis, cyclothymia, seasonal depression, and schizoaffective illness.
What are the factors that can trigger manic episodes?
Each person has different triggers for manic episodes. One has to develop investigative skills, keep an eye on emotions, and start tracking how one feels both before and during an episode. To assist in determining the triggers, consult family and close friends with whom one regularly interacts. They may be able to identify deviations from the regular conduct better because they are external observers.
Knowing the triggers can help an individual avoid episodes altogether, minimize their impact, or help one prepare for them.
A few typical triggers are:
- Lack of sleep
- Life changes include divorce, marriage, loss of employment, and death of a loved one.
- A stimulating setting with a crowd, lots of noise and bright lights
- Alcohol or narcotics
What happens after a manic episode?
Following a manic episode, the person will have little or hazy recollections of the events that occurred during the manic episode. They may feel overburdened by the number of commitments one has made during the episode, feel content or ashamed of their actions and feel exhausted. The person may also feel depressed if they are bipolar.
What are the signs and symptoms of a manic episode?
The following are some signs and symptoms that manic people show.
- Have an unusually high amount of energy or activity
- Ecstatic or exceptionally joyful or enthusiastic feeling
- Being susceptible to distraction
- Moving pointlessly, such as pacing inside the home or workplace or fidgeting while seated.
- Being involved in and obsessed with something.
- Feeling energetic despite the lack of sleep or just a few hours.
- Being overconfident in oneself and believing oneself to be unbeatable.
- Being chattier than normal
- Having several ideas or having a lot of thoughts on many different subjects at once.
- Exhibiting impulsive behaviour that can result in bad decisions, such as shopping binges and risky sex.
Some people may also show psychotic symptoms such as the following:
Delusion: Delusions happen when a person’s mind interprets information inaccurately and hold on to false beliefs and ideas. For example, a person may feel like everyone is trying to harm them.
Hallucination: Hallucinations manifest as perceiving unreal sounds, tastes, smells, or feelings. A person may start seeing and feeling nonexistent things. Some people even talk to people they believe are real but, in reality, are not.
How long do manic episodes typically last?
Early warning indications of a manic episode, sometimes known as “prodromal symptoms,” might linger for weeks or months. Episodes of mania associated with bipolar disorder might last three to six months if you are not already receiving therapy. An effective course of therapy typically results in a three-month recovery from a manic episode.
What are the causes of mania?
Scientists are unsure about the exact cause of mania. However, several elements are likely to play a role. From one person to another, reasons vary. Some of them are:
- An imbalance in brain chemistry.
- Family background: It is not necessary that having a family member with mania makes one inherit the same . But the risk factors are very high.
- A major life transition, like a divorce, shifting from hometown, the loss of a loved one, inability to control other problems like trauma or abuse, or issues with housing, finances, or loneliness.
- A negative side effect of alcohol, narcotics, or antidepressants.
- A disturbed sleep pattern or a lack of sleep.
- As a side effect of physical or neurological conditions, including brain injury, brain tumours, stroke, dementia, lupus, or encephalitis
- As a result of mental health issues like seasonal affective disorder, schizoaffective disorder, postpartum psychosis, or other mental health issues.
How is mania diagnosed?
The healthcare provider inquires about the medical history, family history, current prescription and over-the-counter medications, and any herbal remedies or dietary supplements a person takes. Some disorders mimic mania. One of them is hyperthyroidism. The doctor may prescribe blood tests and physical exams to rule out the chances of being affected by these diseases. The doctor may suggest a mental health professional if other illnesses and conditions have been ruled out.
How do doctors treat mania?
Medication, talk therapy, self-management, and family and friends support are common ways to treat mania.
Medications: Depending upon the severity of the condition, the healthcare provider may suggest antipsychotic drugs, mood stabilizers or antidepressants.
Talk therapy (psychotherapy): Numerous strategies are used in psychotherapy. Patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder would need to speak with a mental health expert during psychotherapy who assists in identifying and resolving potential triggers for the manic or depressive episodes.
Cognitive behavioural therapy may help alter false beliefs about who one is and how the world works. Family therapy is crucial because it allows a patient’s loved ones to understand their behaviour and what they can do to support them.
Other therapies: When someone has severe mania or depression, electro-convulsant therapy (ECT) may be considered. The brain is exposed to brief bursts of electric current in this therapy.
What are the methods to handle manic episodes?
Even though manic attacks are unavoidable, one can prepare a strategy to manage the symptoms better and stop them from worsening. The following methods can be used to prevent and handle manic episodes while they occur.
- Avoid engaging in stimulating activities and environments, such as those that are busy, loud, or bright. Instead, go for serene places and engage in hobbies that allow one to stay peaceful.
- Avoid people and settings that could persuade one to use recreational drugs or consume alcohol or make other unwise or risky decisions.
- Reduce social interactions to avoid becoming overstimulated and thrilled.
- Any significant life decisions and drastic changes should be postponed.
- Follow the routine. Even if one is not exhausted, go to bed at a specific time. Maintain consistent mealtimes, medication schedules, and exercise schedules.
- When experiencing a manic episode, consider choosing someone to handle financial affairs.
When one starts showing manic symptoms, such as mood swings and an extraordinary amount of energy and activity, problems may arise in social life, work/school, and home. If someone experiences severe hallucinations or delusions or if one needs to be kept from hurting oneself or others, they may need to be hospitalized. Understanding mania, its symptoms, one’s unique triggers, and effective management techniques for manic episodes are crucial. Mania can be managed with the support of family and friends, medication, talk therapy, and support groups.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is there a cure for mania?
Mania, as part of bipolar disorder, has no cure. But it is manageable with psychotherapy and medications.
Are mania and hypomania the same?
Hypomania is a less severe form of mania that may not affect a person’s daily functioning. A hypomanic person needn’t be hospitalized and may not experience delusions and hallucinations.
How long does a maniac episode last?
A maniac episode can last at least one week and may last more than that.