What is Mania?

The bipolar sufferer is a creature of extremes, and nowhere is that made more clear than during manic episodes. Often depicted as the default bipolar state in popular culture, mania is a psychiatric state defined by symptoms of gradiosity, irritability, pressured speech, and rapid thoughts.

The manic person may go from euphoric and impervious in one second to angry and snappish in the next. They often speak too quickly and become frustrated with everyone around them, who they percieve as moving too slow. Inability to concentrate due to the flood of ideas in a manic person’s mind means they start projects and then drop them before they’re even half-done (eg: I have piles of unfinished craft projects all over my house).

Spending increases, sometimes to extreme levels, and the purchases are rarely thought through. Increased sexuality and the desire to express such feelings sometimes leads to affairs or other drastic acts. People undergoing a manic state also tend to have an inflated sense of their own mortality; most of the time, it feels good to be a god, so compliance with medication and therapies is rare. Oftentimes they do not know they are manic, and one of the first issues to address when treating them is to get them to a point where they can be reoriented.

A diagnosis of mania is also the primary difference between Bipolar I and Bipolar II: the former requires an extreme manic episode lasting at least one week, possibly with psychotic features such as hallucinations or delusions of godhood. Sufferers of Bipolar II deal with depression and hypomania only.

Author: Cassandra Stout

Freelance writer Cassandra Stout blogs weekly at the award-winning Bipolar Parent, a comprehensive resource for parents with mental illnesses. She also blogs monthly at the International Bipolar Foundation website (IPBF.org). Her work has been published in the anthology, How the Light Gets In. Cassandra holds degrees from the University of Arizona in Creative Writing and Journalism. She has been a judge for the Pacific Northwest Writers' Association literary contest for nine years, where her memoir, Committed, recently placed as a finalist. She balances her literary work with raising her children, feeding her cat, and managing her bipolar disorder.

29 thoughts on “What is Mania?”

Comments are closed.