Manic Episodes and the Disorders That Cause Them
Mania is categorized by periods of extreme changes or abnormal elevations in moods, emotions, or energy and activity levels. These periods are referred to as manic episodes. The extreme changes involved are drastically different from the individual’s typical self in such a way that other people notice the change. These episodes generally last for at least one full week and can even lead to the need for hospitalization. Mania can greatly interfere with one’s daily life when ignored or untreated.
Another lesser type of mania is called hypomania. Hypomanic episodes are categorized by similarly extreme changes, though these changes are less severe than full-manic episodes. Further, when facing hypomania, hospitalization is not needed.
Either form of mania can still be difficult to deal with and treatment can help with both forms. Manic episodes aren’t a standalone issue. They are caused by an underlying mental health condition.
Conditions Involving Periods of Mania
Navigating the minefield of manic episodes can be challenging without first gathering the knowledge needed to understand their source. Understanding the disorders that cause periods of mania is essential in seeking to manage future episodes.
Several mental health conditions can result in periods of mania or hypomania. Proper diagnosis is required to begin preventative or reactive treatment of these episodes.
Bipolar Disorder and Manic Episodes
The most common disorder associated with mania is bipolar disorder. This condition was previously referred to as manic-depressive disorder or manic depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Illness (NIMH), bipolar disorder is defined as “a mental illness that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.” There are three different recognized forms of bipolar disorder:
- Bipolar I: The NIMH defines bipolar I by noting manic episodes that last a minimum of seven days (the majority of the day, almost every day). It is also defined by manic symptoms that may become so severe that a person needs immediate hospital care.
- Bipolar II: This form of bipolar disorder is defined by a recurring pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes.
- Cyclothymic disorder (Cyclothymia): Similar to bipolar II, cyclothymic disorder involves recurrent hypomanic and depressive symptoms. It differs from bipolar II in that these symptoms are not severe enough or last long enough to be classified as hypomanic or depressive episodes.
When a person experiences symptoms of bipolar disorder that do not match one of these three types, it is referred to as “other specified/unspecified (Bipolar NOS).”
Mania in Schizoaffective Disorder
Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental health condition that primarily involves symptoms of schizophrenia. These include hallucinations, delusions, and mood disorder symptoms of both mania and depression.
Oftentimes, people facing schizoaffective disorder are initially misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder as it is a widely misunderstood and under-researched condition. The symptoms are very similar to bipolar disorder in that they involve episodes of mania and depression. It is set apart by the presence of hallucinations and delusions.
Postpartum Psychosis With Mania
Women who undergo childbirth are put through huge changes to their minds and bodies. Soon after giving birth, an individual is likely to experience significant changes in emotions. These changes include mood swings and even depression. However, some women can develop more severe conditions like PTSD, major depression, and even psychosis.
Women who face postpartum psychosis can experience schizophrenic symptoms. These can include, but are not limited to, manic episodes.
Seasonal Affective Disorder and Hypomanic Episodes
Periods of hypomania can also be associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). According to the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), SAD is an umbrella term for mood disorders following seasonal patterns of recurrence. This can also include bipolar I and bipolar II if they involve a seasonal pattern in their depressive or hypomanic episodes.
Individuals who face this disorder generally experience extreme changes in mood as the days get shorter during the fall and winter months. The symptoms begin to dissipate in the spring as daylight hours grow longer. Severe forms of SAD can involve hypomanic episodes during these seasonal symptoms.
Treating Mania or Hypomania
It is important to know that manic episodes are treatable. Once individuals have gone through the diagnosis process, treating the condition is the next step. Many of the disorders that involve mania are treated with a combination of medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Medications may include antidepressants, antianxiety medications, and antipsychotics. A treatment facility can help individuals determine what medications are best for each individual’s needs.
Therapy is usually focused on identifying problems or triggers and finding solutions that work for each client. This will help them not only cope with the condition but manage it in a healthy and effective way. Mania can be challenging to navigate and deal with. Luckily, with the right treatment plan, anyone can achieve a brighter and healthier future.
If you think you may be facing manic or hypomanic episodes, it may be time to seek help. Mental health conditions can worsen and impact your daily life when left untreated. Call Alter Behavioral Health today and let us help you obtain a proper diagnosis and get you started on the right treatment plan. You don’t have to face the uncertainties that come with mania alone. We can help you achieve a balance in your life that will give you the emotional freedom that you deserve. There is a future of happiness just waiting for you to reach out and grab it. Call us today at (866) 691-4386 for more information and to get started.