5 Differences Between Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors And Manias

5 differences between Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors and Manias

In recent years, we have experienced how talking about mental health and psychopathology has been introduced into our daily and everyday conversations, fostering environments of support and understanding towards people who experience disorders of this type. Understanding mental disorders is essential to promote empathy and support for people who suffer from them, as well as to deconstruct stigmas or false beliefs associated with them. In this article, we are going to focus on understanding two key symptomatological characteristics in numerous psychological disorders: obsessive-compulsive behaviors and manias.

These are often confused and treated as if they were the same. However, they entail a whole set of differences, and throughout this article, we will define five of them.

What are obsessive-compulsive behaviors?

Obsessive-compulsive behaviors constitute a mental disorder characterized by the presence of intrusive, unwanted and recurring thoughts, known as obsessions, that generate significant anxiety. These obsessions often lead to repetitive behaviors, called compulsions, that the individual performs in an attempt to relieve the associated distress. For example, someone obsessed with pollution may develop excessive hand-washing compulsions.

Obsessive-compulsive behaviors can cover a variety of topics, from meticulous organization to irrational fears. The persistence of these thoughts and the need to perform compulsions interfere with daily life, affecting interpersonal relationships and the general functionality of the individual. It is crucial to distinguish between obsessions and compulsions to fully understand the complex nature of this disorder.

You may be interested:  Panic Disorder: Symptoms, DSM V Criteria and Treatment

What are manias?

In contrast to obsessive-compulsive behaviors, manias represent distinctive episodes of extremely elevated, expansive, or irritable moods. They are part of bipolar disorder, where individuals experience swings between mania and depression. During manias, people often display excessive energy, racing thinking, and inflated self-esteem.

Unlike obsessions, which focus on unwanted intrusive thoughts, manias predominantly affect the individual’s mood and perception of themselves and the world. These manic episodes can result in impulsive, risky behavior or excessive activities. Although mania can provide a feeling of initial euphoria, it is often accompanied by negative consequences for daily life and interpersonal relationships. Understanding these differences is essential for accurate evaluation and effective management of both disorders.

5 differences between them

Next, we are going to discuss five fundamental differences between obsessive-compulsive behaviors and manias.

1. Nature of thoughts and behaviors

In obsessive-compulsive behaviors, the intrusive nature of obsessive thoughts leads to the performance of compulsive actions. Obsessions tend to have varied themes, from concerns about safety to perfection. On the other hand, in mania, the nature of the thoughts focuses on an abnormal increase in mood. Individuals may experience heightened self-esteem and a sense of invulnerability. In short, while obsessive-compulsive behaviors are rooted in unwanted thoughts, manias are characterized by an excessively elevated and grandiose mood.

2. Frequency and duration

Frequency and duration clearly distinguish between obsessive-compulsive behaviors and manias. In obsessive-compulsive behaviors, obsessions and compulsions can manifest persistently, occupying a substantial part of the individual’s day. This constant pattern can extend for weeks or even years. On the other hand, manias tend to be more defined episodes in time, with a duration that varies from days to weeks. These manic episodes are followed by periods of normality or, in the case of bipolar disorder, depressive episodes.

You may be interested:  Guilt in Postpartum Depression

3. Focus on thinking vs. mood

The fundamental difference between obsessive-compulsive behaviors and manias lies in the focus of psychological alteration. While obsessive-compulsive behaviors focus on intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors, manias primarily impact mood. In obsessive-compulsive behaviors, obsessions generate anxiety, leading to compulsions as a response to mitigate it. In contrast, during mania, individuals experience an exaggerated increase in mood, characterized by intense euphoria or irritability. This distinction between thought and mood is essential to properly understand and address these mental disorders.

4. Causes and triggers

Divergent causes and triggers offer a unique perspective on obsessive-compulsive behaviors and manias. In obsessive-compulsive behaviors, the roots can be linked to genetic, neurobiological or environmental factors, commonly triggered by anxiety. On the other hand, mania, present in bipolar disorder, can be driven by changes in sleep, stressful events, or lack of adherence to treatment.

The complexity of the causes suggests that obsessive-compulsive behaviors and manias require different evaluations to address its underlying foundations and provide comprehensive care.

5. Impact on daily life

The impact on daily life clearly differentiates between obsessive-compulsive behaviors and manias. Obsessive-compulsive behaviors can significantly consume an individual’s time and energy, affecting relationships and daily functionality. On the other hand, manias, by generating impulsive and risky behaviors, can have notable consequences in social areas, work and personal during manic episodes. Both disorders, although different, can have a significant impact on quality of life.

In conclusion, understanding the differences between obsessive-compulsive behaviors and manias is crucial for effective diagnosis and treatment. While obsessive-compulsive behaviors focus on intrusive thoughts and compulsions, manias affect mood and lead to impulsive behaviors. Recognizing these disparities is essential to adequately address these mental disorders, fostering empathy and support for those who experience them.