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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 January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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