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Case report
Late-onset mania associated with corticosteroids and small cell lung carcinoma


Episodes of mania typically occur in the context of bipolar disorder, with an average age of onset of 25 years. A condition with identical symptoms, known as secondary mania, generally occurs in isolation in older adults and has an identifiable organic etiology. Here, we report a 57-year-old man who presented to the emergency department with a 3 weeks history of sudden onset mania with psychotic symptoms. He had no previous psychiatric history, and his presentation coincided with the initiation of a course of steroids. Despite the absence of physical symptoms, investigations revealed a previously undetected adrenocorticotropic hormone-releasing small cell lung carcinoma that led to his death within months. This case highlights the complexity of distinguishing primary from secondary mania when it occurs after the peak incidence period of early adulthood. Undertaking a comprehensive medical workup is generally recommended.

  • lung cancer (oncology)
  • bipolar I disorder
  • psychiatry of old age

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