10 Minutes

October 22, 2021 by THE BALANCE
Fact checked

When it comes to mental health issues, the most frequently mentioned disorders are depression and anxiety. This is because they are more well-known, but we must broaden the conversation to include other problems to educate and assist those who are suffering, as well as to raise awareness of less common mental health disorders. Bipolar disorder is one such problem that is rarely discussed. Many people have heard of it and may have even seen it depicted on TV or in movies, but these depictions are frequently wrong. They also don’t get into the nitty-gritty of the disease, such as the distinctions between mania and hypomania. More people can obtain the support they need by finally putting a name to their thoughts and experiences by discussing crucial themes like these.

Bipolar disorder can generate drastic mood swings. You can go from severe sadness to “mania,” which is characterized by racing thoughts, exuberant energy, and jumbled emotions. Have you come across the term “hypomania” before? It’s a less severe form of mania. It may appear pleasant because your mood has improved and you have more energy than usual, but it is not excessive. In people with bipolar disorder, hypomania can swiftly turn into mania. It could also lead to a serious case of depression. Mania and hypomania are both characteristics of bipolar illness. They can affect people who aren’t bipolar. The symptoms of both diseases are similar, albeit manias are more severe. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness in which a person’s mood, energy, activity level, and thought patterns change.

This article  looks at the differences between mania and hypomania, as well as its symptoms, treatments, and prevention. There are self-help suggestions as well as advice for friends and family members. People suffering from mania or hypomania can benefit from psychotherapy and antipsychotic medications. Hypomania can be addressed simply by altering one’s lifestyle.

Mania is a significant bout of euphoric or irritable mood and heightened energy that lasts at least a week and substantially impairs the sufferer’s capacity to operate

Hypomania is a milder form of mania, characterized by an elevated or irritable mood that interferes with a person’s ability to operate to a lesser extent than mania.                                                                         

Hypomania and mania can be pleasurable for certain people. Alternatively, you may find them stressful, distressing, or unpleasant.

What is Mania, exactly? 

 Manic episodes are a hallmark of bipolar I disorder. They’re mistakenly supposed to be sudden spurts of energy that need to be burned off, but they’re mood swings. Mania can make you feel euphoric to the point that it’s dangerous and may require hospitalization. This energy can have an almost euphoric effect on your mental and physical health. Mania is frequently accompanied by bouts of depression. 

Mania Symptoms:

Mania can cause the following symptoms:

  • The eagerness that can’t be contained. 
  • Feeling delighted or overjoyed.
  • Angry or agitated feelings.
  • Tremendous quantities of energy that the person struggles to control.
  • High activity levels include excessive running, fidgeting, or moving about.
  • Difficulties concentrating or paying attention.
  • Self-esteem that is unjustified and too high, as well as a feeling of overconfidence
  • A lack of inhibitions in social situations.
  • Sleeping less or not at all is a common occurrence.
  • Taking risks or engaging in risky behavior
  • Suicide or self-harming ideas are common.
  • During a manic episode, people may suffer psychotic symptoms.
  • Hallucinations, or seeing or hearing things that aren’t there.
  • Grandiose delusions, or believing that they are invincible, and highly powerful are examples of these.

What is Hypomania, exactly?

It’s a symptom of both bipolar II and cyclothymic disorder. Hypomania can persist for up to four days. It still makes you feel energized, but not as much as mania does. Restlessness, racing thoughts, a decreased desire for sleep, being easily distracted, and engaging in dangerous conduct are all indicators that are still present. Hypomanic episodes are less severe than mania because they lack the more pronounced symptoms. Hypomanic states, on the other hand, are obvious to those around you and create noticeable effects.

Hypomania Symptoms:

Hypomania can cause the following symptoms:

  • Having a better-than-usual mood.
  • Higher levels of irritability or rudeness.
  • A sense of overconfidence.
  • Without a clear cause, higher activity or energy levels than typical.
  • A strong sense of mental and physical well-being.
  • Being much more talkative and friendly than usual.
  • A more intense urge for sex than usual

Mania and hypomania are bipolar disorder symptoms. They can, however, be triggered by:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Medications
  • Use of Alcohol
  • Drug Abuse

Bipolar disorder has an unknown cause. A person’s family history could be a factor. If you have a family history of bipolar disorder, you’re more likely to get the illness. A chemical imbalance in the brain could potentially be a factor in bipolar disorder. If you’ve already had a mania or hypomania episode, you’re at a higher risk. If you have bipolar disorder and do not take your meds as prescribed by your doctor, you may increase your risk.

Feeling exceedingly cheerful, on an emotional high, and feeling more energetic and creative are all indicators of mania and hypomania. A period of mania or hypomania may be combined with a depressive phase in rare situations. This is referred to as a mixed features episode by experts. When this combination occurs, a person may feel both invigorated and despondent, hopeless, or empty. An episode of mania or hypomania might be triggered by certain life circumstances or activities. These occurrences are referred to as triggers.

A brief investigation of a group of young people with bipolar disorder discovered the following causes for mania and hypomania:

  • Love at first sight
  • Recreational drug use, particularly stimulant drug use
  • Launching a new creative venture
  • Partying or staying out late
  • Taking a vacation
  • Listening to music that is too loud

Your doctor will most likely take your medical history and perform a physical examination during your session. It’s critical to inform your doctor about all of your prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications and supplements, as well as any illicit drugs you’ve used. Mania and hypomania are difficult to diagnose. For example, you may be unaware of certain symptoms or how long you’ve been experiencing them. Furthermore, if you have depression but your doctor is ignorant of manic or hypomanic behavior, they may mistakenly label you with depression rather than bipolar illness. Mania and hypomania can also be caused by other medical disorders.

Furthermore, symptoms of hypomania or mania might be caused by an overactive thyroid gland.

Diagnosing mania:

For your doctor to diagnose you with mania, your symptoms must last at least a week. If your symptoms are severe enough to require hospitalization, a diagnosis can be made even if they only last a few days.

Diagnosing hypomania:

For your doctor to diagnose hypomania, you must have at least three of the symptoms listed above under “Symptoms” for at least four days.

Mania and hypomania have no cures, however, patients can control their symptoms with medication and conversation therapy. These treatments can help prevent mania, hypomania, and depressive episodes. To avoid spells of mania or depression, a person must take their drugs as prescribed by a doctor, which is usually daily.

The following medications can aid in the treatment of bipolar disorder:

  • Lithium and anti-seizure medications are examples of mood stabilizers.
  • Antipsychotics of the second generation, often known as atypical antipsychotics, are used to treat mania and hypomania.
  • Antidepressants, In some situations, this may aid in the treatment of bipolar disorder’s depressive periods.
  • Sleep medications may be beneficial for a limited time in people who have difficulty sleeping.
  • A mixture of medication and talk therapy can help a lot of people.
  • Talk therapy, often known as psychotherapy, can help persons with bipolar disease by providing support, guidance, and knowledge.
  • People on anti-mania or anti-hypomania medication should not discontinue taking it without first consulting their doctor.
  • If mania returns, abruptly quitting medication can result in more severe symptoms. There is also the possibility of harmful withdrawal symptoms.

Although lifestyle modifications alone will not cure mania or hypomania, persons can do the following to control their symptoms and potentially avoid triggers:

  • Avoid skipping meals by eating a healthy diet.
  • Set a timetable for your days, such as when you eat your meals, exercise, and work, to help you deal with and manage an episode.
  • Keep in mind that you can do everything perfectly and still experience a manic episode. This does not imply that your efforts were in vain; rather, it indicates that you are suffering from a disease that can cause setbacks from time to time. When you’re realistic about your illness’s aims, a setback or episode won’t be as demoralizing or aggravating.
  • Sleep hygiene is important. If at all feasible, go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Keep a consistent sleep pattern each day and avoid staying out late.
  • Use a mood chart or keep a journal of your mood fluctuations. These can aid in detecting the onset of mania or hypomania so that treatment can be coordinated with their therapist.
  • Avoid alcohol and illegal substances: You may feel compelled to drink or use drugs during a manic episode, but this might exacerbate your symptoms.
  • Stress management: Use stress-relieving practices to keep your stress levels in check. You can achieve this by practicing yoga or meditation. If you realize that stress is piling up at work, school, or at home, take action. This can be accomplished through open conversation, taking a day off for yourself, or seeking counseling or therapist assistance.
  • Keep all of your doctor’s appointments and take your medications as directed. If you’re considering self-harm or suicide, seek help immediately now.

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