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David Baxter PhD

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The Many Symptoms of Mania

by Robin L. Flanigan,
August 30, 2022

Inflated self-esteem. A decreased need for sleep. Inability to work or socialize in a functional way. Symptoms of mania can vary—and can vary from person to person.

This variation can complicate recognizing subtle signs. For example, often overlooked as a mood warning is agitation.

“The euphoric mood of a manic episode is not typically enjoyable or well-controlled,” says psychiatrist David A. Merrill, MD, PhD. “Oftentimes, elevated mood during mania manifests as extreme irritability or anger.”

Want to keep the extremes in check? Medication can help stabilize episodes, but it’s essential to have an arsenal of strategies for managing mania.

Try to recognize early warning signs, as spotting clues can prevent a full-blown episode. Keep a journal to document feelings and identify patterns that can keep more severe symptoms at bay.

Encourage family and friends—who are also impacted when mania strikes—to help. They can make a difference, “developing skills to manage stressful situations, supporting participation in treatment, and proactively developing action plans for the future,” says Anita Everett, MD, director of the national Center for Mental Health Services.

Friends may be less inclined to pressure you to stay out late once they know how important it is to get to bed at roughly the same time every night. As Shefali Miller, MD, warns: “Even one night without sleep can lead to mania.”

And friends and family both can help with monitoring subtle warning signs that may signal an oncoming manic episode—like talking more rapidly and being lax about self-care.

Julianna of California, and her husband, work as a team to alleviate the impact of her mania symptoms. Together, they’ve agreed to a plan that ensures she doesn’t drive and he takes away her credit cards.

“The trick is to stick to the agreement,” says Julianna, who is also devoted to daily meditation.

Read “Bipolar & Getting a Grip on Mania”

About Robin L. Flanigan​

Robin L. Flanigan is a national award-winning journalist for magazines and newspapers, and author of the children’s book M is for Mindful. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in language and literature from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, she worked for eleven years in newsrooms including The Herald-Sun in Durham, North Carolina, and the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, New York. Her work has earned awards from the Education Writers Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association, the New York Newspaper Publishers Association, and elsewhere. She also authored a coffee-table book titled Rochester: High Performance for 175 Years. When not writing for work, Robin is usually writing for pleasure, hiking (she climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2008), or searching for the nearest chocolate chip cookie. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband and daughter, and can be found at or on Twitter: @thekineticpen.
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