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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

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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