Treatment of acute mania has been greatly influenced by loading strategies. Loading has potential benefits, including rapid symptom reduction in mania and a shortened length of stay. Disadvantages include an increased likelihood of adverse effects of the medications. Loading strategies for lithium, valproic acid (divalproex sodium), carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, olanzapine, and haloperidol decanoate in the treatment of acute mania are discussed. Recent studies high-light this treatment option for selected patients. It is the unique properties of the medications that influence their use in loading. Issues in patient selection for loading strategies with each medication are also considered.