What you need to know about Manic Disorder

What is Manic Disorder?

Manic Disorder formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

When you are undergoing depression, you may feel sad and lose interest in most activities. When your mood shifts from mania to hypomania you may feel euphoric, full of energy or irritable. Such mood swings affect your sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly.

You may experience episodes of mood swings rarely or multiple times a year. Most people experience some emotional symptoms between episodes, on the contrary some may not experience any.

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, where mood swings and other symptoms are managed by following a treatment plan. Most cases of bipolar disorder are treated with medications and psychological counseling.

Depression can be one of the effects of Manic disorder
People who have manic disorder commonly go through periods of depression or mania

Types of Manic Disorder

  • Bipolar I disorder has periods of severe mood episodes from mania to depression
  • Bipolar II disorder is a milder version of mood elevation, which involves milder episodes of hypomania that alternate with periods of severe depression
  • Cyclothymic disorder has brief periods of hypomanic symptoms alternating with those of depressive symptoms which are not as extensive as full depressive episodes
  • "Mixed features" is the occurrence of symptoms of opposite mood polarities simultaneously during manic, hypomanic or depressive episodes. It's signs indicate high energy, sleeplessness, and racing thoughts. Simultaneously the person may feel hopeless, despairing, irritable, and suicidal.
  • Rapid-cycling means having four or more mood episodes within a year. Episodes should persist for some minimum number of days in order to be considered distinct episodes.
    Few see changes in polarity from high to low or vice-versa within a single week, or even within a single day, meaning that the full symptom profile that defines distinct, separate episodes may not be seen. At times called "ultra-rapid" cycling, there is debate surrounding this within psychiatry as to whether this phenomenon is a valid or well-established feature in bipolar disorder. A pattern of rapid cycling can take place during any time in the course of illness, although some researchers believe that it may be more common at later points in the lifetime duration of illness. A rapid-cycling pattern heightens risk for severe depression and suicide attempts. Antidepressants are at times associated with triggering or prolonging periods of rapid cycling. However, that theory is controversial and still being studied.

Symptoms of Manic Disorder

  • Abnormally upbeat, jumpy or wired
  • Increased activity, energy or agitation
  • Exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence (euphoria)
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Unusual talkativeness
  • Racing thoughts
  • Distractibility
  • Poor decision making abilities — like going on buying sprees, making foolish investments

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

Like with rest of the mood disorders, the causes of bipolar disorder are not yet known. Bipolar disorder includes dysregulation of brain functioning and sometimes has a genetic component which runs in families.

Some scientists think that environmental and lifestyle factors play a role in bipolar disorder.
These factors include:

  • Extreme stress
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Substance abuse
  • Death of a loved one
  • Physical illness
  • Ongoing problems that affect your daily life, such as money or career problems

These situations can trigger symptoms of bipolar disorder, especially for those who may already be at a high genetic risk.


No laboratory test can diagnose mania. Some medical illnesses can have an effect on your mood, and so your doctor may run laboratory tests to rule out such concerns followed by a physical exam, ask you regarding your personal medical and family history, and then evaluate your signs and symptoms.


A person who is diagnosed with a full manic episode will be prescribed a mood stabilizer and often an antipsychotic drug. Psychotherapy including CBT, family-focused therapy, or group therapy may help.

Lithium being a mood stabilizer is most often used for the prevention of future episodes. Those with persistent or severe manic episodes may benefit from electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) if they are not responsive to medications.

For episodes of bipolar mania, additional sleep medications may also be prescribed. During ongoing treatment for bipolar disorder, mania and mood changes can still occur. Keeping track of your mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and events happening in your life can be very beneficial in the long run when it comes to discussing your symptoms, treatment options, and concerns with your therapist.

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