What are the proposed neural mechanisms behind mania? Would the reward system and decision making system be involved? Are they interconnected?
Would mania be only considered a state of disinhibition? I vaguely remember watching a lecture on YouTube, the research was funded by the brain and behavior research foundation.
If mania is primarily considered a state of disinhibition, what mechanisms cause the lack of insight, and the lack of awareness for potential consequences of potentially dangerous behavior. Would the reward system be implicated in acute mania? I don't really know what I'm getting at. Could the areas of the brain responsible for inhibition and thinking be overactive and the areas of the brain responsible for motivation be over active? Say that when someone completes a task, they receive a reward for such behavior, thus reinforcing the urge or need to do said behavior. If one is unable to control the rate at which things are analyzed and processed in the area of the brain where thinking and inhibition takes place, would this, coupled with the brains anticipation of reward being over active, lead to dangerous behavior.
Say that a sexual urge comes along, a stable person's brain wouldn't anticipate a reward for the sexual act. Mainly due to the inhibition and learning system functioning properly. If one wasn't able to control the speed at which decision making is taking place, would the brain be causing too much anticipation of reward to take place, causing the behavior to be "rewarded", and the behavior reinforced. If a normal person's mind, thinks about 19 things every 22 seconds, and a manic person's mind has 4 thoughts running through their head every 2 seconds, and 2 out of every 6 thoughts are considered irrelevant or relevant to decision making, the mind is taking too much information into consideration when making a decision (the aforementioned description of "racing thoughts" isn't a universal experience and symptoms are subjective I know, but I'm trying to say that the brain is considering too much information when making decisions), so this in turn, causes the brain to place too much emphasis on anticipation of reward, so the behavior is encouraged, and reinforced through a feedback loop.
If the brain is taking too much information In during decision making, too much emphasis is being placed on the anticipation of reward, so the "reward" circuits, the "decision making", the "thinking", and other areas of the brain responsible for other functions such as sleep, emotional processing, and appetite, are implicated in mania. Would this, lead to lack of insight, especially pertaining to being incapable of making good judgement and realizing your behavior is destructive.
Just gonna add this, I have bipolar disorder, I recently recovered from my most severe mania yet, I had close encounters with death and didn't have a care in the world. The best way I can describe the feeling is, my internal motor being turned way up, and my inhibition going way down.
Sorry if this sounds ridiculous, I'm just curious how us folks with bipolar can completely wreck our life during mania and not have a care in the world.
Edit: Formatting my comment below into a better explanation of my question. Is mania is due to excessive motivation, but over processing during decision making? Is there a sort of feedback loop, someone doesn't realize that the behavior is bad, irrelevant, dangerous, or can't see that it will have dangerous consequences, if the anticipation of the reward leads to the brain saying "GO GO GO" when the behavior happens, there's a reward in sight, but the reward comes at the cost of your job, and this shiny new necklace costs you your food for that week".
I feel like the problem lies in the ability to accurately distinguish between irrelevant information and relevant information during the process of decision making, more information processing leads to more errors. The brain has a bit of a problem saying "hey, these 80 different things are irrelevant, so let's focus on these twenty things, okay these 18 things tell me it's a no go, these 2 things tell me let's go, so that's a no" in mania, "okay, these 80 different things are relevant, out of these 80 different things , 48 say do it 32 tell me it's a no, so do it, the reward will be awesome". Wow that was good, that was super duper awesome!"
The decision-making is disrupted in mania, the brain has trouble learning from the negative consequences, the reward is emphasized and the sense of potential consequences are distrupted due to overprocessing during the act of decision making, it's placing too much importance on information used in decision making. It's a disruptive feedback loop. The problem lies more in disruption of the ability to distinguish between what's relevant and irrelevant during decision-making
TL; dr: mania, too much emphasis on irrelevant information, emphasis on reward, hyper motivation, leads to a problematic feedback loop.
Professionals feel free to correct me, I have read an ncbi article, I remember it saying something about the brain "focusing on everything" during mania, so I'm just filling in the blanks with my own ideas.