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What Does Hypomania Look Like?

Mania and hypomania are parts of a bipolar disorder diagnosis. Due to myths about mania, most people are unfamiliar with what these episodes really look like. In this blog, we’ll discuss the differences and similarities between mania and hypomania.

Myths about Mania

Mania is a greatly misunderstood part of mental illness. People think of mania as confidence, creativity, and productivity. The media furthers this false image, isolating people who go through mania. Unfortunately, this doesn’t just harm people who experience mania. The stereotypes and misinformation harm everybody with bipolar disorder.

There are four primary types of bipolar disorder included in the DSM-5: bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic disorder, and unspecified bipolar disorder. Only bipolar I involves episodes of mania. Bipolar II and cyclothymic disorder both include hypomania. Additionally, people with bipolar I can have hypomanic episodes; however, it isn’t required for a diagnosis.

Symptoms of Mania and Hypomania

When a person has mania or hypomania, they’ll feel much different than their normal, stable state. This is called euthymia. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of mania and hypomania include the following:

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Irritability and emotional reactivity
  • Severe mood swings
  • Jumpiness, high energy, or increased activity
  • Insomnia without being tired
  • Rapid speech
  • Changing topics quickly
  • Racing thoughts
  • Taking on many projects at once
  • Reckless impulsivity
  • Grandiosity
  • Heightened confidence in abilities and importance

A person might feel like their body’s restless and buzzing with energy. Some people like this sensation until the uncontrollable symptoms start. Others may not even realize their episode is a problem until a loved one points it out. Even then, if a person experiences depressive episodes, they could cling to their elated feeling.

Mania vs. Hypomania

Both mania and hypomania look similar. However, they differ in duration, severity, and impairment. The symptoms of mania last at least one week long. On the other hand, hypomania must last at least four days. Manic symptoms are more severe than hypomanic ones. While symptoms overlap, a person in mania can go through psychosis symptoms like hallucinations and delusions. A person experiencing mania might need immediate hospitalization, whereas someone with hypomania may continue their usual life. The symptoms of hypomania could slightly impact day-to-day functions. However, they won’t fully impair an individual.

Hypomania is a defining aspect of bipolar II and can be involved in other forms of bipolar disorder as well. Though it’s less critical than mania, hypomanic episodes can impact a person’s behavior and choices. Treatment can help a person manage the effects. If you or someone you love is struggling with hypomania, The Guest House can offer effective and compassionate treatment. Our team can provide psychotherapeutic interventions, holistic therapies, and medications. For more information on our treatment programs, contact us at (855) 483-7800.