people in the US live with hypomania

Hypomania and mania are characterized by periods of heightened and excessive energy, significantly impacting daily life. Hypomania is a milder form lasting for a few days, while mania is more severe and can persist for a week or longer, unless treated. These episodes can occur independently – hypomania without bipolar – or as part of conditions like bipolar disorder, postpartum psychosis, or schizoaffective disorder, and individuals may experience them as either enjoyable or uncomfortable and distressing.

This guide addresses the following issues:

  • How long does hypomania last?
  • Hypomania vs mania: what’s the difference?
  • What is bipolar hypomania and common bipolar hypomania symptoms?
  • What are some hypomania examples?
  • What are the most common hypomania triggers?
  • What are the diagnostic criteria for hypomania?
an image of someone representing how to stop someone who self harms

What is Hypomania?

A mood episode that influences thoughts, moods, and behaviors, hypomania is characterized by an elevated and energized state. While it’s normal to experience a good mood, in hypomania, the mood surpasses the individual’s usual range. It is often marked by excitement, restlessness, irritability, and a sense of grandiosity. People in a hypomanic state may talk excessively, get easily distracted, and become intensely focused on one thing. Hypomania is a key feature of bipolar II disorder, although it may also occur in mood disorders like schizoaffective disorder. Those with bipolar disorder experience intense fluctuations in mood, thoughts patterns, energy, and activity levels, which can include soaring highs – manic or hypomanic episodes – and/or extreme lows – depressive episodes – depending on the type of bipolar disorder.

an image of someone representing how to stop someone who self harms
person is therapy session representing adjustment disorder symptoms

Difference Between Hypomania and Mania

What is the difference between mania and hypomania, then? People who have bipolar I experience episodes of mania, but individuals with bipolar II experience episodes of hypomania. Although both mania and hypomania can affect mood and behavior, there are some key differences between the two.

Hypomania is a milder form of mania, still triggering disruptions in life but not as extreme as mania. It generally lasts for a briefer period – usually less than a week – while mania can persist for a week or more. Manic episodes may call for hospitalization due to dramatic impairment in functioning, whereas hospitalization is not normally necessary for hypomanic episodes, which are less disruptive to functioning.

In mania, psychotic symptoms like hallucinations or delusions may present, but these are rare in hypomania. Both mania and hypomania may involve risk-taking behaviors, but high-risk behavior is more pronounced in mania. Hypomanic individuals exhibit higher energy levels than usual, though not as intense as those experiencing full-blown mania.

Hypomanic episodes typically do not significantly impact functioning in personal or professional lives, whereas manic episodes often do. Hospitalization may be necessary for mania, but it is unlikely for hypomania. Beyond this, there are no psychotic features that present in hypomania.

While both hypomania and mania require treatment and may benefit from medication and therapy, hypomania is less likely to progress to a full manic episode. With appropriate treatments and effective coping techniques, the impact of hypomanic episodes can be reduced, leading to improved well-being.

Symptoms of Hypomania

Hypomania symptoms may differ from person to person. Here are some hypomania DSM 5 symptoms:

  • Unusually high levels of energy or activity
  • Extreme happiness or excitement
  • Abnormal aggression, irritability, or hostility
  • Less need for sleep
  • Rapid, difficult-to-follow speech
  • Inflated levels of self-esteem
  • Racing thoughts
  • Easy distraction by minor issues
  • Purposeless movements like pacing or fidgeting
  • Overconfidence
  • Feeling of improved well-being
  • Increased libido
  • Restlessness triggering involuntary movements

Examples of how hypomania criteria can present:

Staying awake all night without feeling tired the next day
Engaging in a cleaning frenzy
Working continuously on multiple projects for extended periods
Pursuing activities with potential negative consequences impulsively
Engaging in reckless behaviors like excessive spending
Becoming completely absorbed in activities
Taking unwarranted risks due to a sense of luck
Behaving inappropriately in social situations
Dressing or behaving flamboyantly
Engaging in hypersexuality like involvement in affairs

Only if these behaviors are abnormal to the individual and accompanied by intense and excessive energy, happiness or irritability is an episode considered hypomanic.

an image of people learning about mental health disorders from a mental health blog

If you have been feeling any of these symptoms, and you are in need of help, please give our friendly team a call.

an image of someone dealing with depression

Treatment for Hypomania

Treatment options for bipolar disorder and hypomanic symptoms aim to stabilize moods and manage symptoms effectively. While there is no cure for hypomania, individuals can find relief through medication and talking therapies.

 Medication plays a significant role in treating hypomania and preventing episodes of both hypomania and depression. Mood stabilizers like lithium and antipsychotics are commonly used to manage mood swings effectively.

 Psychotherapy, conducted by mental health professionals, helps individuals identify and cope with hypomanic symptoms and triggers. Various approaches like IPSRT (interpersonal and social rhythm therapy), psychoeducation, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), family-focused therapy, and DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) can be helpful in addressing emotional and behavioral challenges.

an image of someone dealing with depression

For severe cases where medication and psychotherapy haven’t been successful, ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) may be considered as a brain stimulation procedure to alleviate severe depressive and manic symptoms. That said, ECT is typically reserved for specific situations and may not be the first-line treatment for bipolar II disorder.

Individuals taking medication for hypomanic symptoms should follow their doctor’s advice and not discontinue medication abruptly, as it could lead to more severe symptoms upon relapse and the risk of dangerous withdrawal effects. Continuous and ongoing treatment with medication is often recommended for relapse prevention in bipolar II disorder due to its recurrent nature.

Hypomania FAQ

What does hypomania feel like?

Hypomania is characterized by feelings of increased energy, euphoria, and a sense of wellbeing. People experiencing hypomania may feel unusually confident, talkative, and have a decreased need for sleep.

What are the signs of hypomania?

Signs of hypomania include heightened excitement, rapid speech, increased social activity, decreased need for sleep, impulsivity, and engaging in risky behaviors.

Who can diagnose hypomania?

Hypomania can be diagnosed by a qualified healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist or a mental health specialist, through a comprehensive evaluation of the individual’s symptoms, behavior, and medical history.

What are the medications for hypomania?

Medications commonly used to treat hypomania include mood stabilizers such as lithium or antipsychotics. However, treatment options may vary depending on the individual’s specific symptoms and medical history. A healthcare provider will determine the most suitable medication based on the individual’s needs.

an image of people getting depression treatment

Get Treatment for Hypomania at Connections

If you are suffering from the complications triggered by hypomania, we can help you get back on track at Connections Mental Health in Southern California. Our compassionate-first approach and welcoming, inclusive facility allows those seeking stability from mental health issues to build a firm foundation for sound mental health.

We have a committed team of experts who blend holistic and science-backed interventions for a whole-body approach to healing that treats the person rather than focusing on the symptoms of their condition.

While the environment is homely and welcoming, you will benefit from continuous clinical and emotional care, with at least two members of staff present at all times.

If you are battling hypomania, Connections Mental Health is the ideal setting in which to recalibrate and equip yourself with coping techniques while benefiting from tailored medications and talk therapies, as well as a range of holistic treatments like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. Our hypomania treatment plans also include a robust aftercare component with access to ongoing therapy if required.

Call the friendly team to learn more about our individualized treatment plans and begin your journey to ongoing healing at Connections.

an image of people getting depression treatment

Learn more about the individual mental health disorders we treat by clicking a button below.