Many people who have been diagnosed with mania, or who believe that they have the symptoms of mania, do not realize that such symptoms are often a result of drug intoxication or the use of certain medications. Specifically, stimulant drugs such as crystal meth and cocaine can cause manic behavior, as well as certain medications, including antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Try giving up such drugs and medications to determine if you still display signs and symptoms of mania, as discussed in the next section. Allow your body time to adjust to this change before determining whether your still have the symptoms, which depends on how much and how long you have been taking the drug or medication (as a rule of thumb, allow at least 3-6 months). If you are unable to give up the drug or medication, consult with a medical professional about how to proceed.
Signs and Symptoms of Mania
The American Psychiatric Association defines a “manic episode” as an unusual and continuous elated or irritable mood for seven or more days that is not caused by drugs, medication, or illness. Signs and symptoms include:
• Racing thoughts (the inability to focus on anything other than your thoughts and inability to keep track of time)
• Grand or extravagant delusions and/or ideas
• Expanded self-esteem
• Elated mood or irritable mood
• Wide, open eyes with infrequent blinking of eyes
• Fast, frenzied speech
• Talking more often and for lengthier periods
• Difficulty falling asleep or reduced need for sleep (such as only 3-4 hours)
• Weight loss
• Indulgence in entertaining activities that result in negative outcomes (such as extravagant shopping, gambling, or questionable business transactions)
• The belief that your own goals are more important than everything else
• The belief that negative outcomes will not occur or will be minimal
• Denial that anything is wrong with you
• If bouts of depression are also experienced, then you may also be bipolar
Your psychiatrist should first rule out non-psychiatric causes before diagnosing you with mania and administering treatment. Atypical antipsychotic medication is normally used for acute mania for short-term purposes, while long-term mania treatment is often based on a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Since the chance of relapse is high for mania patients, psychotherapy, combined with medication and self-help strategies, enhance their treatment and result in more successful cases. Lithium is another mood stabilizer that is effective in manic bipolar treatment.
The University Behavioral Health of El Paso specializes in mania treatment and other mental health issues. Visit Ubhelpaso.com or call (915) 544-4000 for more information.