What is hypomania?

Ruth White, MPH
Social Work
A mild or moderate level of mania (shifts in mood from a high feeling, sometimes associated with irritability) is called hypomania. In this state, the person feels good, may be more productive and function better than usual, and will tend to deny that anything is wrong, even when others around him or her learn to recognize the symptoms and confront the person with them. Episodes of hypomania often only last two to three days but can continue for a longer period. However, if left untreated, hypomania can develop into severe mania or switch to depression. Someone in a hypomanic state may stop taking his or her medications because of the good feelings associated with this type of episode.
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John Preston, PsyD
Psychology
Hypomania (both euphoric and dysphoric) is seen in bipolar II. There is an increase in energy, a decreased need for sleep (but no daytime fatigue), and impaired judgment. During euphoric hypomanic episodes, people have a heightened sense of well-being and are very productive and gregarious. During dysphoric episodes, people are agitated, pessimistic, and restless.

This type of mania can last for a few days or go on for months and, although everyone around the person can tell something is wrong, it's very difficult for the person experiencing the hypomania to notice the problem until the episode is over. The person's social life often increases, as can substance abuse and spending. It's hard for friends or family members to do anything about it, as the person is still basically functioning. Often, this is when the person is perceived as "wild" or "irresponsible," causing the family to give up on them.
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Sheri Van Dijk
Psychiatry
Some people with bipolar disorder don't experience manic episodes but do have times when their mood is somewhat elevated. This is known as hypomania, and people tend to experience these episodes more often than manic episodes for two reasons: full-blown manic episodes tend to be less common, and hypomania often comes before full-blown mania in people who do experience the severe highs. The symptoms of hypomania are the same as those for a manic episode, but according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) they are less severe, last only a minimum of four days rather than one week, and do not include the delusions or hallucinations that sometimes occur in mania. Unlike manic episodes, when you are hypomanic, you usually remain aware of the changes in yourself, and you are therefore more able to prevent yourself from acting on the urges and impulses you are experiencing.
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Even if you've just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it's likely that you've been living with it for a long time. You've probably already developed your own ways of coping with recurring...
A mild to moderate level of mania is called hypomania. Hypomania may feel good to the person who experiences it and may even be associated with good functioning and enhanced productivity. Thus even when family and friends learn to recognize the mood swings as possible bipolar disorder, the person may deny that anything is wrong. Without proper treatment, however, hypomania can become severe mania in some people or can switch into depression.
Ms. Julie A. Fast
Mental Health
It’s hard to understand mania unless you have seen it and heard it personally.  There are two types of mania: full blown and hypomania. Even though hypomania is the milder form of mania, it’s still very concerning and can wreak havoc on a life. Many mistakes around sex and money are made when a person is hypomanic.
My friend Sharon just went through a month of hypomania. It went in and out of euphoric (upbeat and grandiose) and dysphoric (agitated and negative) mania. One day, I was on the phone with Sharon and we had a manic conversation. In other words- she was hypomanic (euphoric) and I was just trying to get a word in.  Here is a transcript of that call. This is a manic work of art!
**
I’m manic Julie. I know I’m manic. But I’m reining it in. That’s a good thing right? It’s a good thing. It’s not like last time. I went to sell my gold today. So I got all of my gold together. And I saw this ring at the store. This beautiful ring. It was vintage from 1920’s. It was an oval shape and very beautiful with a diamond. But don’t worry. I didn’t buy it. I really didn’t buy it! See how I am reigning in my mania? I would have bought it just a few years ago. 
 Yes, you’re right, it’s hypomania- but it won’t go to the big mania. I know it won’t.  I wish I could live this way forever. I got up at five and it was great! I’m a really good teacher right now- really good.
You know that guy I dated? The one that smelled so good? I went all over town to find his perfume. I walked everywhere and then I found it. It’s sandalwood. I knew I would find it. The people at Nordstrom were really nice. The person recognized me. Maybe mania isn’t a bad thing. This isn’t a bad thing. I have my Lamictal and I think it’s helping with the psychosis. Can it do that? Because six years ago when I got full blown manic I was psychotic.  I guess the lithium is still working some.  I hope your feet are better Julie. I miss walking with you because it’s not only about the walking- it’s about the talking and the walking too. It’s about friendship and the talking. Call me later if you want to talk.
**
Bipolar disorder is an odd illness. 
Julie
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Hypomania is a mild form of mania that does not usually disrupt normal activities as severely as a full-blown manic episode. In fact, hypomania feels good to most people. You may feel like the life of the party and everyone thinks you are on top of the world. You may feel chattier and like you’re moving at a mile a minute compared to your family and friends, but you won’t have psychotic symptoms, like losing touch with reality. You tend not to exhibit as risky or reckless behavior, and it is less likely that you will need to be hospitalized during these episodes.

 

In fact, hypomania can make you feel really good, more self-confident, creative, energetic, and productive. This may not seem like a problem at first, but it 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.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.