MANIA: What It Means to be Manic

If you’ve never experienced a manic episode, it could be hard for you to imagine. We often hear these episodes described as ‘high’ periods, but this description can be misleading. Individuals who have never experienced mania often confuse this ‘high’ period as a time of excessive happiness and excitement. 

Note that ‘high’ energy characterizes manic episodes, not necessarily positive emotions. Although, a manic episode could feel like a positive experience at the time. It is common for individuals receiving treatment for Bipolar 1 Disorder to ‘miss’ their mania. After reading the following information you will have a more thorough understanding of mania and what it means to be manic.

What Is Mania? 

The definition of mania is excessive enthusiasm or desire. Mania in terms of mental illness is intense feelings of excitement, euphoria, delusions, and overactivity. It is the ‘high’ energy state of mind present during a manic episode. A manic episode often results in elevated moods. 

More common moods present during mania are excitement, irritability, anger, and enthusiasm. Racing thoughts, exaggerated behaviors, hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis are additional signs of mania. They could be present during a manic episode as well. 

Know the Signs and Symptoms

Many people enjoy some of the symptoms of mania. These people often feel more productive, outgoing, creative, inspired, and/or happy while experiencing mania. Unfortunately, there are many negative symptoms associated with manic episodes. In addition, a depressive state often follows these high periods. Check out the following signs and symptoms of mania.

  • Elevated Mood or Energy Level
  • Feelings of ‘Euphoria’ or being ‘High’
  • Racing Thoughts and Quick Speaking
  • Not Sleeping or Needing Less Sleep
  • Excessive Irritability, Distractedness, and Annoyance
  • Acting Impulsively, Unusual, or Strange
  • Feeling Invisible or Detached from Reality

These signs and symptoms can appear in many different ways- an individual may seem more productive or creative. There are often subtle signs in their appearance. During manic episodes, the individual may dress differently, style their hair differently, or begin a new venture. Poor decisions often accompany mania; having unprotected sex, using illicit drugs, and overspending is three common issues associated with manic episodes.


Mania is often associated with Bipolar 1 Disorder and is often diagnosed when individuals seek help for depression. However, mania can be experienced by individuals without bipolar disorder as well. The following list contains alternative reasons an individual may struggle with mania or manic episodes.

  • Postpartum Psychosis
  • Brain Injury, Tumor, or Stroke
  • Trauma or Abuse
  • Side Effects of Medication, Stress, or Sleep Deprivation
  • Present Dementia
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Mania Vs Hypomania 

Mania is an intense and disruptive state of mind. It is most often associated with Bipolar 1 Disorder. It often disrupts the lives of the individual and those closest to them. Hypomania is associated with similar symptoms, though it is less intense and less disruptive. Hypomania is often associated with Bipolar 2 Disorder and Cyclothymia. Although less disruptive, hypomania can still cause problems for the individual both professionally and personally. 

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

Mania is an indicator of bipolar 1 disorder. To understand what causes mania, we have to understand what causes bipolar disorders. Most forms of mental illness involving moods are caused by a mix of social, environmental, and physical components.

Many believe that bipolar disorders are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters. They include serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. There is a link between the neurotransmitter noradrenaline and manic and depressive states. Too much of the chemical results in mania, while too little results in depression.

Physical and environmental factors influence these disorders. Due to this, they appear to be genetic. If a family member struggles with mental illness, an individual’s risk of suffering from bipolar disorder increases. Stress and significant life events may trigger the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Treatment Options 

If you or a loved one believe that you have experienced, or are experiencing mania, consult a professional. These professionals can provide you with a diagnosis and help you explore treatment options. Although the first manic episode may feel empowering or productive, it is imperative to understand that mania puts you in danger physically, socially, and professionally. Poor decision-making and impulsivity can lead to relationship issues, financial problems, and trouble at work. In addition to these risks, some manic episodes end in hospitalizations. 

Once diagnosed, there are several treatment options available to you. Medication is the most recommended treatment option for bipolar disorders. An initial antipsychotic medication may be recommended, but mood stabilizers will be necessary to prevent future manic and depressive episodes. 

Anxiety, ADHD, and eating disorders are common issues experienced alongside bipolar disorder and mania. In addition to medication, talk therapy is necessary while learning to cope with these issues. 

Missing Mania? Consider This!

As mentioned earlier in the article, it is not uncommon for those utilizing treatment to ‘miss’ their mania. We often hear creative individuals attribute their best works to their mania. This is because so many individuals feel empowered, inspired, and driven by their high energy. 

If you find yourself missing the productivity or euphoria associated with mania, consider the negative symptoms that coincide with these attributes that you miss. Many people discover that they do not miss manic episodes at all. They miss the art created, the level of focus, or the motivation felt during manic episodes. Establish new routines, expose yourself to new things and allow yourself the time you need to focus on achieving your goals.

Published by alswartz

I am an aspiring novelist working on my first book. I have an interest in mental health and each of my works is related to mental health in some way.

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