According to Wholevehicles, mania is an affective disorder with a mood that goes far beyond normal, mostly euphoric. While a depressive person tends to be withdrawn and withdrawn, a manic patient is characterized by strong inner restlessness, sometimes persistent irritability and the loss of inhibitions.
What is mania?
The ancient Greek word mania means anger, madness or frenzy. From this, the term for the mental disorder known as mania was derived. The person affected is in a seemingly never-ending mood high and is often characterized by excessive self-confidence or boundless overconfidence. In some cases, irritability replaces the high mood.
As a result of the disease, those affected often come into conflict with their environment, as they can no longer consciously avoid them. The mania often occurs in episodes and is bipolar, i.e. with opposite moods. The most common form of mania is manic depression, in which manic and depressive episodes alternate.
The causes of mania have not yet been clarified with 100% accuracy. However, based on the current state of research and knowledge, it is assumed that there are several factors that can trigger a manic episode.
On the one hand, a disruption in the biochemical messengers (neurotransmitters) seems to play a role. On the other hand, changes in the genes were found in manic patients. After all, it is also often difficult experiences, such as the death of someone close to you, separations, fear of loss or existential fears, which have an external effect and promote the disease.
The fact that all of these factors could also be proven independently of one another in healthy people and that there are also patients who contract mania without any external factors underlines the complexity of the disease and its causes.
Typical Symptoms & Signs
- mood swings
- increased mental and physical activity
- High spirits, good mood, party mood
- high risk behavior
- high emotional excitability
- high level of social contact and communication
- less tiredness
- high self-confidence
Diagnosis & History
Mania is diagnosed by a psychiatric specialist based on the person’s symptoms and behavior. A physical examination is not necessary. In addition to the conversation with the patient, there are often also conversations with the relatives.
Diagnosis is often made more difficult by the fact that those affected do not see a doctor until very late. They do not perceive their behavior as abnormal or exaggerated and, on the contrary, feel very good and healthy.
Typical symptoms of mania include: a constant, unfounded high mood, uncritical behavior towards yourself, the loss of inhibitions, strong urge to talk, megalomania, reduced need for sleep, sometimes hallucinations, strong irritability, strong restlessness, restless activity.
It is characteristic that all of these behavioral patterns go far beyond what is normal and usually also tolerable for other people. In manic-depressive patients, the high mood phase is followed by phases of “hangover”, listlessness and sometimes shame because of their previous behavior.
Mania occurs from case to case with a different course and different symptoms.
The complications of mania depend on the condition of the person affected. The depression that afflicts most sufferers of mania also plays a role. The activities that the affected person carries out in his manic phases can have serious complications for him and those around him.
Uninhibited financial behavior often leads to serious financial imbalances. This can also affect the environment of the manic – through loans or rather rare thefts. The financial burden, in turn, leads to a worsening of the mood in phases of depression.
The sexual behavior of those affected can also cause serious emotional and health damage. A lack of caution during sexual – sometimes indiscriminate – contact carries a risk of sexually transmitted diseases. A lack of sleep and overexertion often lead to cardiovascular problems, which increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Those affected occasionally tend to be neglectful when it comes to hygiene, which can manifest itself in illnesses that occur. In addition, they often burden their bodies with alcohol or other substances. Overall, long-term damage from substance abuse occurs significantly more frequently.
Potential criminal acts have social and personal complications ranging from legal action to social isolation. All of these subsequent complications also ensure that the depressive episodes become more severe. The self-destructive behavior of those affected is often intensified and can even lead to suicide.
When should you go to the doctor?
If the person concerned shows sudden behavioral problems, he needs medical support. If you are extravagant, have a persistent shopping spree, or have a very active demeanor, there is an irregularity that needs to be investigated and addressed. A high level of activity, a reduced need for sleep or the permanent urge to do something are considered signs of an existing disorder. The mood of the affected person is euphoric, the patient has no feeling of illness and also no insight into an existing disorder. As a result, caregivers are asked to contact a doctor as soon as possible if symptoms occur so that help can be initiated.
Over-confidence, loss of awareness of danger, and emotionally hurtful behavior indicate a mental disorder that should be brought to a doctor’s attention. Since people in a manic phase are considered incapacitated, they need medical attention. If the personal performance increases excessively, the thirst for action increases and those affected show an unfounded immensely good mood, they need a doctor. They have lost their ability to assess reality because they stand out with a sense of elation in inappropriate situations. If the condition of the affected person is perceived by people in the immediate vicinity as ecstasy or intoxication, a doctor should be consulted. Compulsory instruction is often required.
Treatment & Therapy
Mania is treated with medication. Neuroleptics, antiepileptics and lithium preparations can be used. Combinations of individual drugs are also possible, which depends, among other things, on the severity of the disease. The aim of the medication is primarily to stabilize the patient’s mood.
In the acute manic phases, it is often necessary to treat the patient as an inpatient in a psychiatric ward. Especially if there are suicidal intentions or if the person concerned poses a danger to his or her environment.
Mania is not curable in the traditional sense. Since its causes are not really known, it cannot be prevented either. For those affected, the only option left is to “come to terms” with the disease. The high suicide rate among manic people shows that for many this life is unbearable.
Those affected have the chance to lead a relatively regular life without stress. It is important that they face up to the disease, do not stop taking the prescribed drug treatment and seek psychological support in order to work through past or existing problems.
Follow-up care for mania usually goes hand in hand with prevention. After an inpatient stay, it makes sense to continue the treatment on an outpatient basis. A psychotherapist supports the patient on a psychological and social level, while a psychiatrist decides together with the patient whether to take medication.
People with mania do not always have to take psychotropic drugs on a permanent basis. However, in severe cases, they can help establish a biochemical balance in the brain. Doctors prescribe certain drugs with the aim of reducing the risk of it becoming too prevalent. In psychotherapy, patients learn about their individual causes and triggers for mania. For aftercare, it is crucial to reduce these factors as much as possible in order to create a stable living situation.
You can do that yourself
The possibilities of self-help during a manic phase are very minimal. Since the clinical picture of mania includes a lack of insight into the disease, the patient lacks the necessary awareness of the disease and its symptoms. Behavior that resembles megalomania and arrogance towards other people or towards life is more likely. The person affected feels immortal and flawless. Even the warnings from people with whom there is a very good relationship of trust are ignored or dismissed as silly.
However, in healthy and well-reflected phases of health, the patient can take some precautions. They include medical care and financial arrangements. Precautions before another manic episode can be taken with a therapist, close family members, as well as a legal guardian. During mania, the person affected is considered incapacitated. This often leads to legal precautions being taken after an initial manic phase.
In addition, it is helpful if people in the immediate social environment are sufficiently informed about the disease and its effects. In an emergency, a card or a passport that is easily visible to third parties with the contact details of helpers is useful. In the event of a strong euphoric mood, a reference person can be called at any time.