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What Is Hypomania? Is It Similar to Mania?

What Is Hypomania? Is It Similar to Mania?

If you’ve heard of mania, you might be wondering what hypomania is. Are the two the same? Is one more severe than the other? What are the treatment options?

When dealing with mental health, it’s important to have a clear understanding of different terms and exactly what they mean.

This article will shed some light on the key differences between mania and hypomania. Knowing how the two differ will help you to feel more informed, whether you’re the person suffering from hypomania, or you’re supporting a loved one during an episode.

What is hypomania?

Hypomania and mania are similar in many ways – they’re both periods of high-energy, excitability and overactivity that seriously impact your day to day life. [1]

However, there are a few key differences, which are listed below:

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  • Mania lasts for a week or more, while hypomania lasts for a few days.
  • The symptoms of hypomania are less severe than the symptoms of mania.
  • Mania has a severe negative impact on your day-to-day activities. Hypomania is usually less disruptive.

How to identify a hypomanic episode

Identifying a hypomanic episode can be difficult, especially if mania isn’t something you have much experience with.

For someone to be diagnosed with hypomania, they should have experienced at least three of the following symptoms for several days. The symptoms will be persistent – not just passing feelings. [2].

  • Increased self-esteem
  • Decreased need for sleep, lots of energy after very little rest
  • Speaking more than usual, or speaking in a very fast/excitable way
  • Racing thoughts
  • Getting distracted very easily
  • Becoming more goal-oriented than usual and wanting to get lots done
  • Doing things without regard for the consequences (e.g. unprotected sex, gambling, excessive spending)

While a hypomanic episode shouldn’t result in a serious disruption to the person’s everyday life, it will be clearly noticeable by friends and family.

For example, you might notice that a usually shy friend is suddenly very chatty and sociable, or a relative who usually procrastinates becomes extremely focused on goals, staying up all night to get things done.

Being able to clearly identify a hypomanic episode is really important, as it allows the person experiencing the episode to access the help and support they may need.

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What is the difference between mania and hypomania?

We’ve already listed a few key differences between mania and hypomania, but the examples below offer a more in-depth comparison.

Example #1

Hypomania: You might feel happy and excited, with lots of ideas.

Mania: You might believe you have special powers, are on a secret mission, or can see things other people can’t.

Example #2

Hypomania: You might be behave in a more flirtatious way than usual.

Mania: You might have unprotected sex or cheat on a long-term partner.

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Example #3

Hypomania: You might have heightened awareness – colours could appear brighter and bolder, or sounds might seem louder.

Mania: You might experience psychosis, hearing voices or seeing things that other people can’t.

Example #4

Hypomania: You notice that you feel different to usual.

Mania: You don’t notice any difference in the way you’re feeling or behaving, and don’t see any cause for concern.

Knowing the difference between mania and hypomania will help you to fully understand what’s going on.

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What causes hypomania?

There are many factors which contribute to hypomania. Hypomanic episodes can be a symptom of certain mood disorders, like bipolar disorder, but that isn’t always the case.

Listed below are some possible causes of hypomania:

  • Extreme stress or a big life change (e.g. moving house, leaving a job).
  • Change of season – for some people, hypomania happens only during a certain time of the year, like spring.
  • Alcohol or drug use/drug addiction.
  • Lack of sleep or changes to sleeping pattern (e.g. Starting to work night shifts).
  • Giving birth – some women experience hypomania as part of postpartum psychosis.
  • Taking medication – hypomania can be a side effect of certain prescribed drugs, like antidepressants.
  • Physical illness – some illnesses and conditions can trigger hypomania.

How is hypomania treated?

Mania and hypomania are treated in a variety of ways. One option is medication, and there are a number of antipsychotic drugs that your doctor may prescribe. These include haloperidol, olanzapine, quetiapine and risperidone. [3] It may take some trial and error to find the drug that works best for you. In rare cases, when other treatments have failed, your doctor may recommend electroconvulsive therapy.

You may also be offered talking therapy to help you to better understand hypomania and how to manage it. You’ll learn healthy coping strategies, ways to reduce the risk of a hypomanic episode, as well as having a chance to discuss your feelings.

Hypomania can be scary and confusing. Being fully informed will help you to deal with hypomanic episodes as effectively as possible.

Reference

[1] Psychology Today: Hypomania and mania
[2] Psych Central: Hypomanic Episode Symptoms
[3] NICE: Bipolar disorder: assessment and management

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Eloise Best

Eloise is an everyday health expert and runs My Vegan Supermarket, a vegan blog and database of supermarket products.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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