What Is Dysphoric Mania?

Dysphoric mania refers to a group of symptoms that fall under the umbrella of bipolar disorder. Individuals with these symptoms usually experience depression and mania at the same time, which can trouble patients greatly. The combination of depression and the agitated state of mania can lead to extreme behaviors, such as attempted suicide or violence.

Also known as mixed mania, dysphoric mania can be a common in individuals struggling with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of extreme mood swings that create unusually intense highs and lows. About 50 percent of people with bipolar disorder experience the symptoms of dysphoric mania at some time.1 Learning more about the symptoms of dysphoric mania can help those with bipolar disorder recognize when things are out of control and get help.

Symptoms of Dysphoric Mania

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV) defines dysphoric mania as a period that includes two to four symptoms of depression while someone is in a manic state.

Manic episodes are characterized by at least one week with an elevated, expansive or extremely irritable mood.2 That’s why periods of dysphoric mania are often hard to recognize at first since they happen during manic episodes rather than just during times of depression.

Dysphoric mania is often included in a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder, which is the most severe of the three types of bipolar disorder. It can also occur with bipolar II disorder (which includes less intense periods of mania) and cyclothymic disorder (which includes less intense periods of both mania and depression).

According to the Mayo Clinic the following symptoms characterize a depressed phase::

  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Anxiety
  • Guilt
  • Sleeplessness
  • A lowered or increased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of interest in activities a patient once considered enjoyable
  • Problems concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Chronic pain without a known cause

The following symptoms indicate a manic phase:

  • Euphoria
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Poor judgment
  • Rapid speech
  • Racing thoughts
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Agitation or irritation
  • Increased physical activity
  • Risky behavior
  • Changes in sleep patterns3

If you recognize many of these issues in someone, dysphoric mania may be the cause.

Treatment of Dysphoric Mania

Dysphoric mania is more difficult to treat than other phases of bipolar disorder but many people see improvement through the use of mood stabilizers and anticonvulsants. You or your loved one’s doctor may need to try several different combinations of medication before finding the right balance that works for you.

Along with medications, individual and group psychotherapy can help in the treatment process. Hospitalization is sometimes necessary to bring symptoms under control, especially if the person suffering is a danger to himself or others.4

Patients with dysphoric mania do respond to treatment, but it often takes a longer period of trial and error before symptoms improve.

Help Finding Treatment for Dysphoric Mania

Dysphoric mania is a serious disorder that requires treatment. If you or a loved one struggle with bipolar disorder that includes periods of dysphoric mania, you do not have to suffer alone. Call our toll-free helpline now at 844-768-1248. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and help you find treatment.


Mehta, Foram. “Dysphoric Mania: Symptoms, Facts, and Treatment.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 5 Jan. 2017.

“Manic Episode Symptoms.” Psych Central, 16 Jan. 2018.

“Bipolar Disorder.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 31 Jan. 2018.

“Dysphoric Mania: Symptoms, Treatment, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, Sept. 2018.

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