Many people associate the word mania with the presence of a person’s strange and prototypical habits, which is often repeated quite often. However, there are a lot less people who know that the concept of mania has another meaning as well, which is usually what we mean when we talk about psychopathologies.
And this is it mania is also an altered mood, To be next to the depression one of the main alterations which are part of the bipolar disorder and which, like this, supposes a serious alteration, discomfort and limitation in the life of the person. It is this type of emotional state that we will be talking about throughout this article, defining it and visualizing its basic definition, in what contexts it appears, and how it is usually treated.
Mania and manic episodes
Mania is understood as a psychological disorder characterized by the presence of a mood excessively euphoric, expansive and concomitant with a high energy level. It is a pathological and temporary condition that can appear in a variety of settings and usually appears as episodes lasting at least a week most days and most of the day.
These episodes are characterized by the presence of the aforementioned expansive, euphoric and irritable mood, which usually appears alongside a high level of restlessness and restlessness which manifests as hyperactive behavior. usually the person has the feeling that their thoughts are passing at high speedAnd it is not surprising that the thread of thought is lost in the face of the great influx of these.
The subject in the manic phase also suffers from a high level of distractibility, having great difficulty concentrating and continuously switching from one thing to another. They also appear in this state thoughts and delusions of grandeur and geniusConsidering the subject often invulnerable and with unlimited resources. It is also common that a strong impulsiveness and a strong aggressiveness appear, along with the capacity to judge and evaluate the risks decreasing, often leading to the performance of acts which may present a risk to health or risk. ‘integrity. They also often try to get involved in a large number of projects regardless of their viability.
It is common for fights and conflicts to arise both socially and at work or even in the family and / or partner, as well as large financial expenses (regardless of their financial capacity), hypersexuality (often at risk) and sometimes even and any use of substances that could make their condition worse (for example, cocaine).
It is also not uncommon for hallucinations and delusions to appear., Interpret reality based on them and react aggressively. Finally, it should be noted that the behavioral changes experienced often require hospitalization of the subject to stabilize him.
The onset of manic episodes is usually associated with the presence of bipolar disorder. In fact, one of the most common types of bipolar disorder known, type 1 bipolar disorder, requires at least a manic episode not derived from the consumption of toxins or medical illnesses be able to diagnose – not actually requiring – the onset of a depressive episode.
But bipolar disorder is not the only setting in which a manic episode or behavior can occur. And it is the mania that can also appear derived from the effects of the consumption of different drugs or substances, such as a product of intoxication. In addition, certain infections and diseases that affect the brain can also lead to the presence of manic symptoms. Among them can also be dementias or infections such as encephalitis.
More too it can appear in other mental disorders, By being an example of certain psychotic disorders. Specifically, Schizoaffective Disorder is distinguished, which has a subtype called bipolar in which episodes of mania also occur.
In general, mania is a consequence of the presence of a neurochemical or functional disorder in the brain, whether it is caused by a toxic substance or drug or by atypical functioning of some type of disorder or disease. Sometimes you may also notice that in some cases manic symptoms may appear in situations of high psychosocial stress.
The existence of a manic episode or phase usually has serious repercussions for those who suffer from it. At the social level, it is common as we have seen that there are conflicts or even verbal or physical fights, Especially with strangers.
It is also common for problems with the immediate environment or with the partner such as conflicts, arguments, accusations or infidelities to occur, and these problems can have repercussions even after the episode ends. More too it is common for the environment not to understand the subject’s performance, Or that it is due to an alteration of the state of mind foreign to his will.
For work, the presence of conflicts is not uncommon, as usually there is a loss of productivity due to excess energy and distractibility.
At the economic level, they are often carried out as we have seen significant excesses, often due to impulses or to acquire unnecessary products. The risks they can commit can cause the subject to suffer various setbacks, such as accidents at work, falls and trauma, poisoning or drug addiction, contagion by sexually transmitted diseases or infections or unwanted pregnancies. Sometimes, too, people in the manic phase may even commit illegal acts or be involved in criminal activities.
The subject’s high level of activation and his behavioral alterations often require a form of hospitalization in order to stabilize him, usually with pharmacological treatment.
Mania vs hypomania: a matter of degree
Mania is a psychological disorder of an emotional nature that can have a serious impact on the lives of those who suffer from it. However, there is another concept which implies the existence of almost identical symptoms and which is very easy to confuse mania with: hypomania.
As we can deduce from the name, hypomania is a slightly less extreme version of mania, Also appearing in an expansive mood, euphoric and with a high level of restlessness and energy. The main difference between mania and hypomania is the intensity with which the symptoms appear.
If hypomania is a mood alteration noticeable by the environment and can also have repercussions on the subject, symptoms are less severe and neither delusions nor hallucinations usually occur. Likewise, they generally do not prevent the subject from having a feature in their daily life, and hospitalization of the patient is also generally not necessary. Finally, hypomanic episodes last much shorter than manic episodes: they generally last between four days and a week.
Treatment of mania
Treatment of manic episodes is usually done from administration of some kind of eutimizer, That is, a type of medicine that stabilizes mood. Lithium salts are generally used for this purpose, although there are other options as well. In some cases it may be necessary to apply antipsychotic drugs as well.
In the event that its occurrence is due to poisoning, this fact should be treated differently. The same happens with infections, which need to be treated in order to reduce or eliminate the symptoms. In disorders such as schizoaffective bipolar or bipolar type, depending on the case and especially if there are characteristics that involve a medical emergency (such as the occurrence of suicidal behavior) or if medications are not working may be recommended the application of electroconvulsive therapy in a hospital.
In addition, it is common to use psychological therapy (once stabilized at the pharmacological level), in order to be able to detect prodromes or symptoms that warn of the onset of an episode. Psychoeducation and control of social and circadian rhythms (including sleeping and feeding schedules) can also be helpful.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition. DSM-V. Masson, Barcelona.
- Belloch, Sandín and Ramos (2008). Manual of psychopathology. McGraw-Hill. Madrid.