What is Mania?
Mania is the “high” of the manic-depressive cycle. It is a state of extreme mood elevation, characterized by fast, speeded up thoughts and ideas, accelerated speech and a feeling of increased energy. People in the manic state sometimes feel powerful, energized and superhuman.
Mania and Bi-polar Disorder
“Mania” is the upside of bi-polar disorder, a mental illness sometimes referred to as “manic-depression.” This illness involves severe mood swings, as the person suffering from the disease alternates between the highs of mania – the manic state – and the lows of severe clinical depression.
In a manic episode, symptoms take hold and refuse to let go. Extreme mania, with its overwhelming symptoms, engulfs the personality, making it difficult for a person to function in a normal way. The manic state is diagnosed when the symptoms of the disorder (at least three) continue on for at least a week. Though people in the manic state may suffer from many mania symptoms, or just a few, it is the continuous, daily experience of symptoms that defines the manic state.
As a light manic episode – or hypomania – turns into a full manic episode, the symptoms become increasingly disturbing. A feeling of euphoria or well-being will accelerate into out-of-control behavior as the person loses control over their impulses. Thoughts speed up as does speech. The manic person will speak too loudly and for too long of time, making strangely inappropriate or incoherent comments. Behavior becomes increasingly odd, as inhibitions are shut down, leading to grandiose, delusional ideas. In this state people experience hyper-sexuality which leads to highly inappropriate behavior. There is an overall franticness that affects all the person’s social activities. All this can lead to out of control actions, like wild spending, violence, substance abuse and an increasingly strange aspect.
If mania symptoms accelerate further, the manic person may become violent, hostile and paranoid. If left untreated, the manic episode can continue into hallucinations and psychosis. The possibility of self-harm and harm to others is obviously a major concern.
Creativity and Mania
People with bipolar disorder sometimes experience a less severe version of mania, called hypomania. The symptoms of this mood disorder are similar to mania, but are less intense. Some patients enjoy this state, as it is a kind of a “high” – a place where things seem magical and bright and everyday life becomes more intense and speeded up.
Many famous creative artists have suffered from bipolar disorder and mania. The manic state, with its intensity of ideas, seems to feed the creative process in some people, leading to the classic idea that true creativity is a form of mental illness. Major artists who suffered from mania include Vivien Leigh, Edgar Allen Poe, Lord Byron, and Sylvia Plath, whose depression lead to a tragic suicide.
Bipolar World.net, www.bipolarworld.net/Bipolar%20Disorder/Hypomania_Mania/.