Mania is usually grouped with bipolar disorder, as nearly all cases with mania will go on to experience episodes of depression. International studies suggest a lifelong prevalence rate of bipolar disorder of 0.3-1.5%. A UK study suggested that between 3.3 and 21.6% of primary care patients with unipolar depression may have an undiagnosed bipolar disorder.
It is important to obtain a history from relatives or carers, as patients can often exert some control over their symptoms and appear temporarily better than they actually are.
Also, see separate Bipolar Disorder article and the articles Rapid Tranquilisation and Compulsory Hospitalisation.
This consists of elevated mood, physical and mental over-activity and self-important ideas.
- Patients usually appear cheerful and euphoric but may be irritable, which can quickly turn into anger.
- Insight is often impaired - but again this may change with the patient's mood.
- Speech is rapid and copious ('pressure of speech'); and may rapidly flit from one subject to another ('flight of ideas'). There may be 'clang associations' - connections between words dictated by chance similarities in word sounds rather than their meanings (eg rhyming or punning).
- Mood may even vary during the day and sleep is often reduced whilst appetite may be increased.
- Sexual desires may be increased and uninhibited, and contraception may be neglected.
- There is increased activity including excessive involvement in pleasurable activities without thought for consequences (eg a spending spree resulting in excessive debts). Patients can become physically exhausted.
- The self-important ideas may take the form of grandiose delusions and other delusions (such as persecution) may occur, as may hallucinations (eg voices).
This is a term used to describe a lesser degree of mania, which involves a persistent mild elevation of mood, alternating with irritability, increased activity and energy, inability to concentrate, flight of ideas and insomnia; however, without hallucinations or delusions.
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- Anorexia nervosa.
- Illicit drug use.
- Other psychotic disorders, eg schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, cyclothymia.
- Medications, eg steroids, isoniazid, L-dopa, sympathomimetic amines.
- Renal failure.
- Cerebral insults, eg neoplasm, infarcts.
The International Statistical Classification of Disease and Related Health Problems (known as ICD) 'ICD-10' requires at least two episodes in which a person's mood and activity levels are significantly disturbed (one of which must be mania or hypomania). In comparison, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) requires only one episode and divides bipolar disorder into types I and II. ICD-10 further divides bipolar disorder into:
- Currently hypomanic
- Currently manic
- Currently depressed
- Mixed disorder
- In remission
Three of the following symptoms confirm mania:
- Grandiosity/inflated self-esteem.
- Decreased need for sleep.
- Pressured speech.
- Flight of ideas (rapidly racing thoughts and frequent changing of their train of thought).
- Psychomotor agitation.
- Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities without thought for consequences (eg a buying spree resulting in excessive debts).
There may also be psychotic symptoms, eg delusions and hallucinations.
The manic episode is mixed if there are associated depressive symptoms.
Patients should be referred for a specialist mental health assessment and development of a care plan, if any of the following are or have been present:
- Episodes of overactive disinhibited behaviour (mania or hypomania) ± episodes of depression lasting >4 days and not entirely explained by drug misuse.
- A history of a recurrent depressive episode on three or more occasions in the context of a history of overactive, disinhibited behaviour.
- Overactive, disinhibited behaviour and a first period of depression before the age of 25 years.
It is essential to refer patients who have a family history of affective disorder, particularly bipolar disorder, or if two or more of the above are present.
For further details management of mania, see separate Bipolar Disorder article.
Management of a manic episode
- Manic episodes require urgent control and patients may be violent. Liaise with a consultant psychiatrist - always consider hospital admission (as insight is usually lost) and record assessment of any suicidal ideas.
- Aims of treatment are to reduce symptoms rapidly and ensure safety of the patient and others. If the patient is violent or poses a danger to self or others then refer urgently for psychiatric assessment and consider use of the Mental Health Act (MHA) if they are unwilling to be admitted voluntarily.
- Try to convince patients to have oral therapy voluntarily. In A&E, therapy can be given under coercion under Common Law if it is deemed that not doing so would cause harm to the patient or to others.
- If acute control is needed then use one or more of the drugs discussed below. Use oral preparations in preference to IM, as absorption varies and it is therefore difficult to determine response. Rapid tranquilisation (parenteral administration of tranquilising drugs) may be needed - remember, if the patient refuses, you may need to either use Common Law (allows treatment in an emergency) or to use the MHA . Ensure circumstances are well documented, including whether the MHA or Common Law was used.
- Atypical antipsychotics, eg olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone. These are used as their onset is quicker and they have lower incidence of extra-pyramidal side-effects.
- Benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam, may be needed to aid sleep or reduce agitation.
- Mood stabilisers can also be used (usually under specialist guidance). They include lithium, which has a slower onset of action, so tends only to be used alone if less severe symptoms are present and valproate (but not in females of child-bearing age).
- Carbamazepine is sometimes used as a first-line treatment and again only under specialist supervision.
See separate Rapid Tranquilisation article.
Further reading & references
- Medscape CME Course - Approaches to the Treatment of Mania; free - but registration required
- Hanwella R, de Silva VA; Signs and symptoms of acute mania: a factor analysis. BMC Psychiatry. 2011 Aug 19;11:137.
- Sorref S et al, Bipolar Affective Disorder, Medscape, Dec 2011
- Smith DJ, Griffiths E, Kelly M, et al; Unrecognised bipolar disorder in primary care patients with depression. Br J Psychiatry. 2011 Jul;199:49-56. Epub 2011 Feb 3.
- Violence: The short-term management of disturbed or violent behaviour in in-patient psychiatric settings and emergency departments, NICE Clinical Guideline (2005)
- Benazzi F; Bipolar II disorder : epidemiology, diagnosis and management. CNS Drugs. 2007;21(9):727-40.
- The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders, World Health Organization
- The Management of bipolar disorder in adults, children and adolescents, in primary and secondary care; NICE (2006)
- Doy R, Burroughs D, Scott J; Mental Health- Consent, the law and depression- management in emergency settings. Emerg Med J. 2005 Apr;22(4):279-85.
|Original Author: Dr Gurvinder Rull||Current Version: Dr Laurence Knott||Peer Reviewer: Dr John Cox|
|Last Checked: 19/01/2012||Document ID: 361 Version: 3||© EMIS|
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