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Mania is an abnormally elated mental state, typically characterized by feelings of euphoria, lack of inhibitions, racing thoughts, diminished need for sleep, talkativeness, risk taking, and irritability. In extreme cases, mania can induce hallucinations and other psychotic symptoms.
Mania typically occurs as a symptom of bipolar disorder (a mood disorder characterized by both manic and depressive episodes). Individuals experiencing a manic episode often have feelings of self-importance, elation, talkativeness, sociability, and a desire to embark on goal-oriented activities, coupled with the less desirable characteristics of irritability, impatience, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and a decreased need for sleep. (Note: Hypomania is a term applied to a condition resembling mania. It is characterized by persistent or elevated expansive mood, hyperactivity, inflated self esteem, etc., but of less intensity than mania.) Severe mania may have psychotic features.
Mania can be induced by the use or abuse of stimulant drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines. It is also the predominant feature of bipolar disorder, or manic depression, an affective mental illness that causes radical emotional changes and mood swings.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), the diagnostic standard for mental health professionals in the U.S., describes a manic episode as an abnormally elevated mood lasting at least one week that is distinguished by at least three of the following symptoms: inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, talkativeness, racing thoughts, distractibility, increase in goal-directed activity, or excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences. If the mood of the patient is irritable and not elevated, four of these symptoms are required.
Mania is usually diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist and/or a psychologist in an outpatient setting. However, most severely manic patients require hospitalization.
Author Info: Paula Anne Ford-Martin, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 2002This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your healthcare provider. Please consult a healthcare professional with any health concerns you may have.
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