Operational definitions of mania are based on expert consensus rather than empirical data. The aim of this study is to identify the key domains of mania, as well as the relevance of the different signs and symptoms of this clinical construct.
A review of latent factor models studies in manic patients was performed. Before extraction, a harmonization of signs and symptoms of mania and depression was performed in order to reduce the variability between individual studies.
We identified 12 studies fulfilling the inclusion criteria and comprising 3039 subjects. Hyperactivity was the clinical item that most likely appeared in the first factor, usually covariating with other core features of mania, such as increased speech, thought disorder, and elevated mood. Depressive-anxious features and irritability-aggressive behavior constituted two other salient dimensions of mania. Altered sleep was frequently an isolated factor, while psychosis appeared related to grandiosity, lack of insight and poor judgment.
Our results confirm the multidimensional nature of mania. Hyperactivity, increased speech, and thought disorder appear as core features of the clinical construct. The mood experience could be heterogeneous, depending on the co-occurrence of euphoric (elevated mood) and dysphoric (irritability and depressive mood) emotions of varying intensity. Results are also discussed regarding their relationship with other constitutive elements of bipolar disorder, such as mixed and depressive states.