What does manic mean in manic depression?

Ah, manic depression. The disorder that feels like a rollercoaster ride that you didn’t sign up for. One day you’re on top of the world feeling unstoppable, and the next day you can barely get out of bed to brush your teeth. But what does ‘manic’ really mean when we talk about manic depression? Buckle up as we explore the highs and lows of this elusive condition.

Defining Mania

Let’s start by getting technical for a second- mania is an elevated mood state characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, grandiosity,and irritability. It’s like being on 10 cups of coffee at once but with added aggression and impossible-to-control energy levels. While it might sound fun initially (should I be concerned if it sounds appealing?), mania could lead to damaging behaviors such as gambling sprees or reckless driving that come with serious consequences.

Types of Mania in Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder comes in different forms, all classified under DSM-5 criteria:

Type I Bipolar Disorder

This type involves having at least one episode of mania lasting over seven days at a time or severe enough to require hospitalization.

Type II Bipolar Disorder

People experiencing Type II bipolar experience hypomanic episodes instead – milder versions which last four days or longer.


A fairly mild version where people swing between shorter periods of hypomania and depressive symptoms without meeting diagnostic criteria.

What do they have in common? Unsurprisingly: dramatic shifts from high manias into deep depressions.

Symptoms during a Manic Episode

Manic episodes are often accompanied by

Racing Thoughts

Your brain will not stop churning out new ideas making concentration close to impossible.

Increased Energy Levels

You feel like you can do anything and everything, even if it means staying up all night.

Decreased Appetite

Who has time to eat when they’re taking over the world? ([Table1])

Type Why
Manic Abnormal sugar levels in your body when too excited or low energy
Depressive Low motivation to cook/food at all sounds gross


Sound judgment flies out of the window as soon as mania sets in. Spending thousands on frivolous things might seem like an excellent idea during that moment- not so much later!

Potential Consequences

As we mentioned before, manic symptoms come with consequences. Let’s take a deeper look:

Legal Trouble

Reckless driving or making large purchases recklessly example is something that could land you in serious trouble.

Damaging Relationships

During manic phases it’s common for people to alienate themselves by picking fights with their loved ones without a cause .

Physical Health Problems Higher instances of drug use and poor health decisions have significant physical side effects such as heart failure[Ref]

The Treatment

You’d be happy to know there are existing ways to manage bipolar disorder. Most people will need professional help managing their mood swings,. Here are some (somewhat) effective interventions:


From lithium-based medication preventing future episode onset(evidence abounds)to benzodiazepines treating anxiety caused by ongoing episodes, getting stable mental health requires working together [\REF2]

Therapy ([Table 2])

It takes cognitive-behavioral therapy(CBT); family-oriented therapies(FFT); interpersonal social rhythms therapy(ISRT),and other treatment options tailored towards specific triggers underlying causes.

What should be left unsaid is how difficult living with Bipolar Disorder can get. But it’s also important to highlight that people managing this disorder are strong and unique. Literally, they’re one in a million, or roughly 4% of the population according to WHO^.

The Takeaway

Manic episodes stand out as a defining symptom of bipolar disorder; still, it’s hardly something you can sum up in just one word-unique instead. With medication or therapy and above all else awareness around these high feelings brewing inside: there is hope- always reach for help if needed[Ref3].