Around six million people in America have a bipolar disorder diagnosis. It is a mental health condition of extremes that are marked by substantial shifts between phases of depression and elation.
In the elation phase, many people will experience mania or hypomania. People with bipolar 1 disorder might experience mania, while those with bipolar 2 disorder are more likely to experience hypomania.
Hypomania is a milder version of mania that lasts for a short period of usually just a few days. Mania is more severe and lasts for a longer period – a week or more, sometimes for many months.
Who experiences mania and hypomania?
While mania and hypomania are symptoms that usually occur with bipolar disorder, they can also be experienced in people who have not been diagnosed as bipolar. They are seen in other mental health conditions including schizoaffective disorder, SAD (seasonal affective disorder), and postpartum psychosis.
Dysphoric mania is when someone has mania and depression at the same time. Sometimes called mixed mania, mixed episode, or mixed state, it’s believed up to 40 percent of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder experience dysphoric mania.
There are some people who find their episodes enjoyable and even empowering. They like it because they can feel as if they’re untouchable and “on top of the world”, that they can do and achieve anything they want.
But most people feel disconnected and find it extremely distressing when they are in a manic or hypomanic state. It can put them in risky situations and make normal life seem impossible.
What are the signs of hypomania?
Hypomania lasts for a few days. It can have a negative impact on someone’s life, although it will generally feel less unmanageable than mania.
So a person with mania can on most days usually carry on with day-to-day living. That’s not to say that other people will not notice a change in the person’s mood and behavior.
Hypomania symptoms can include:
- Having racing thoughts.
- Acting spontaneously, taking increased risks.
- Feeling euphoric.
- Getting more easily restless and irritated, particularly because everyone else seems so slow to them.
- Being gregarious.
- Having an increased libido.
- Feeling as if they are living in a lively colorful world, but everyone else’s world is dull and gray.
- Being extremely excitable and more active than normal.
- Spending money carelessly.
- Being fidgety, unable to concentrate and lacking focus.
- Having an exaggerated sense of wellbeing.
- Being extremely talkative and often speaking very rapidly.
- Behaving in a very friendly manner, perhaps too friendly in a way that annoys others as it crosses healthy boundaries.
- Not sleeping much.
What are the signs of mania?
Mania tends to last for a week or longer. It usually has a drastically negative impact on the person’s ability to live normally and do even the most basic daily things. People suffering from severe mania frequently end up being treated in hospitals.
Mania symptoms can include any of the hypomania symptoms listed above. They can also include:
- Being aggressive.
- Abusing alcohol and/or drugs.
- Feeling untouchable and that nothing can harm them.
- Spending recklessly and in a manner that’s unusual for them.
- Taking serious risks, doing dangerous things.
- Talking so much and so rapidly that it doesn’t make any sense to other people.
- Doing things and saying things that are inappropriate and not like their usual character.
- Sleeping very little or not sleeping at all.
- Feeling like they can do mental and physical tasks much better than usual, almost as if they are superhuman.
- Feeling as if they can see, hear or comprehend things that no one else can.
- Eating very little food or none at all.
Manic episodes can last for up to six months. Following a hypomanic or manic episode, people can feel ashamed, guilty, and depressed about how they were, what they could have said, and how they might have behaved.
On the other hand, frequently they cannot remember much about what they said or did. Afterwards, they may have used up all their energy and feel extremely tired, lethargic, and desperate to rest and sleep.
Thankfully, there are known treatments that can help with any of these mental health disorders. Our friendly experienced team has treated people for many years now with all types of mental health problems.