The aim of this study is to explore mania as a network of its symptoms, inspired by the network approach to mental disorders.
Network structures of both cross-sectional and temporal effects were measured at three time points (admission, middle of hospital stay, and discharge) in a sample of 100 involuntarily committed patients diagnosed with bipolar I disorder with severe manic features and hospitalized in a specialized psychiatric ward.
Elevated mood is the most interconnected symptom in the network on admission, while aggressive behavior and irritability are highly predictive of each other, as well as language-thought disorder and “content” (the presence of abnormal ideas or delusions). Elevated mood is influenced by many symptoms in the temporal network.
The investigation of manic symptoms with network analysis allows for identifying important symptoms that are better connected to other symptoms at a given moment and over time. The connectivity of the manic symptoms evolves over time. Central symptoms could be considered as targets for clinical intervention when treating severe mania.

© 2021 The Authors. Brain and Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.