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Symptom Checker

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Sometimes mood does not only go down. It can also go up, sometimes up too much, a condition that is called "mania." One dictionary defines mania as "an excessively intense enthusiasm, interest, or desire."

The definition of the psychological condition called mania or a manic episode is much more specific. The term mania does refer to a period of high mood, and in a manic episode a person may experience extreme elation. But you shouldn't mistake this mood with simply feeling good, because the elation can come apart in a moment. It is common for a person who is manic to be terribly irritable.

Added to the change in mood is a decreased need for sleep and an increase in energy and activity. People in a manic episode think unrealistically, often wildly overestimating their own abilities or importance. Thinking and talking may speed up; activity is scattered and unproductive. The person often is easily distracted and has very poor judgment, leading to actions that can be painful or embarrassing.

Sometimes the person with mania has delusions, or false beliefs. These beliefs may be consistent with the person's exaggerated sense of self. The thoughts may be completely unrealistic, even dangerously so.

When a person's mood is elevated, but not too elevated, mental health professionals sometimes use the term hypomania. Hypomania is a less intense form of mania. The symptoms of hypomania are similar to mania, but in this state someone can usually carry on daily life. He or she does not develop delusions. Judgment and behavior may only be mildly impaired.

Have you ever been manic or hypomanic? If you have had at least one experience described above, answer yes. Otherwise answer no or I'm not sure.



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