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Mania is a psychological condition that causes a person to experience unreasonable euphoria, very intense moods, hyperactivity, and delusions. Mania (or manic episodes) is a common symptom of bipolar disorder.

Mania can be a dangerous condition for several reasons. People may not sleep or eat while in a manic episode. They may engage in risky behaviors and harm themselves. People with mania have a greater risk of experiencing hallucinations and other perceptual disturbances.

Family history may play a factor in mania. People whose parents or siblings have the condition are more likely to experience a manic episode (National Alliance on Mental Illness). However, having a family member with manic episodes does not mean a person will definitely experience them.

What Are the Symptoms of Mania?

Patients with mania exhibit extreme excitement and euphoria, as well as other intense moods. They are hyperactive and may experience hallucinations or delusions. Some patients feel jumpy and extremely anxious. A manic person’s mood can quickly change from manic to depressive, with extremely low energy levels.

Manic episodes make a person feel as if he or she has a tremendous amount of energy. They can cause body systems to speed up, as if everything in the world is moving faster.

People with mania may have racing thoughts and rapid speech. Mania can prevent sleep or cause poor work performance. People with mania may become delusional. They may be easily irritated or distracted, exhibit risky behavior, and go on spending sprees.

People with mania can have aggressive behavior. Drug or alcohol abuse is another symptom of mania.

How Is Mania Diagnosed?

A physician or psychiatrist can evaluate a patient for mania by asking questions and discussing symptoms. Direct observations can indicate that a patient is having a manic episode.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), outlines criteria for a manic episode. The episode must occur for a week, or less than a week if the patient is hospitalized. In addition to a disturbed mood, patients must experience at least three of the following symptoms:

  • He or she is easily distracted.
  • He or she engages in risky or impulsive behavior. This includes spending sprees, business investments, or risky sexual practices.
  • He or she has racing thoughts.
  • He or she has a reduced need for sleep.
  • He or she has obsessive thoughts.