How does bipolar hypomania feel?

Ruth White, MPH
Social Work

I have experienced hypomania for decades.

It feels good. There are rushes of creativity and productivity, which gets rewarded by others. The brain is moving fast and one needs less sleep.

It can also feel bad. Like being hopped up on too much caffeine. It can be hard to focus because the brain is so active. Sometimes the good feelings of hypomania can be mixed with irritability.

It can also cause anxiety because there is a fear that if there is an up then there will be a down; that perhaps depression is on its way.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Bipolar hypomania often feels like a mild high. It can make you feel really good, more self-confident, creative, energetic, and productive.


Shy people become more outgoing and quiet people become more talkative. Some people even report feeling more sensual with an increase in sexual appetite. The better and more confident a person feels, the more risks they tend to be willing to take. This can be precarious since the good feeling can give way to poor judgment and risky behavior.


Hypomania may not seem like a problem at first, but that can quickly change. You can quickly swing into a serious depression or into a scary mania.


Talk to your doctor about how to control mood swings and prevent hypomania from developing into mania or depression.



Ms. Julie A. Fast
Mental Health
I've had hypomanic episodes for over 30 years- since age 17.  I’m now 47.
I didn't know what they were until I was finally diagnosed with bipolar II in 1995. I always thought they were the real me and the depression was the problem. 
There are two kinds of bipolar mania:
1. The full blown mania seen in bipolar I
2. The hypomania seen in bipolar II
Mania can be:
a. euphoric- this is the happy, lovely wonderful, creative, awesome mania I often experience.
b. dysphoric (also known as agitated mania)- this is the nervous, depressed, shaky, miserable, uncomfortable, buzzing, aggressive and anxious mania. I have had this kind of mania and it's awful.
I will describe my euphoric hypomania. If you send in another question- I can describe the dysphoric side.
I love, love, love euphoric hypomania. I call it cellular joy juice. It vibes through the body like a wonderful buzzing summer day. Everything is enhanced- colors, feelings- possibilities- beauty-, sexuality, belief in yourself, shopping, music- creativity. I’ve outlined business plans, books, new systems for dealing with old problems and much more! i feel completely beautiful- (just as I feel ugly and fat while depressed). My mind clicks like a big computer and can solve problems at triple my normal speed. And I don’t want to sleep. It's such a waste of time to a manic mind!
Ex: I learned to speak pretty darn good Chinese in four weeks while in a hypomanic episode in China.
Unfortunately, euphoric hypomania easily gets out of control and can ruin your life- big time.  All of your inhibitions are gone- the voice that says, “Hey, that might not be a good idea!” simply doesn’t exist. It’s not that you don’t listen- quite often the voice doesn’t show up. For example, this can lead to excessive sexual behavior that can lead to affairs, STD’s, ruined relationships, and very dangerous situations. Mania also increases a desire to drink and a person can drink a LOT more when manic and not get as drunk. I have been there and done that and wow, mistakes have been made!
I still get hypomanic- and I have learned to control most of it. I still LOVE it, but know its destructive power. So I use my treatment plan and keep it under control
PS: The movie Limitless is an amazingly good depiction of mania. The beginning of his transformation is hypomania and then when things go a bit wrong, it’s the full blown mania!
Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine
Hypomania means "below mania" or "less than mania" and refers to a mood that is often described as "feeling up.”
    Sometimes hypomania is a pleasurable experience with lots of ideas going through one’s head and feeling very happy and at peace with the world.
      Other times the hypomania can include symptoms like agitation, scattered thoughts, distraction, obsession, anxiety, bad decision making, etc.
        Ellen Frudakis
        Health Education
        This can be a tricky state to recognize in yourself. In my experience, hypomania creates a slightly elevated sense of urgency to accomplish things. The longer I let it go on unchecked, the more this urgency increases.
        When I was first learning to manage my illness, I wasn't sure how to tell the difference between being motivated and being hypomanic. After some time, and with more awareness, I learned that when I am not hypomanic I experience a motivation that is balanced and stable. This balance allows me to continue to stay active for long periods of time. When I compare this to my hypomanic state I see that although I can be very productive, it is not sustainable. 
        Now, when I notice that the things on my to-do list are becoming increasingly urgent, I know I need to assess where I am at and take steps to bring myself back to balance and wellness.
        The more you pay attention to your mood and have awareness of your state of mind, the better you will be at catching the subtleties of hypomania.

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