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What Is Hypomania?

A doctor can prescribe medication and deliver psychological therapy for hypomania if necessary.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 24 June 2014
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Hypomania is a persistent state of elevated and energized mood that occurs for four days or more. This term means “below mania,” a reference to the fact that people with hypomania are not in a manic state, but are more elevated and agitated than people in neutral moods. They retain their connections with reality and are usually able to go about daily activities as they usually would. However, this mood can be dangerous because there are certain attitude changes associated with it that can put people at risk.

This type of mood is most commonly seen in people with bipolar disorder, although it can also be observed with people who have schizoaffective disorder or cyclothymia. Sometimes, it is triggered by medications. Drugs used for the management of mood disorders can contribute to the development of hypomania and sometimes other medications may do so as well.

A person with hypomania can experience a variety of symptoms. People may feel like they are flying high, with an inflated sense of self esteem, purpose, and ability. It is not uncommon to make big plans, to engage in ambitious activities, and to participate in reckless behavior. The person might drive at high speeds, fail to observe safety precautions in dangerous situations, and otherwise endanger him or herself.

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This mood is not necessarily relentlessly upbeat, although hypomania is often characterized by cheeriness and happiness. People can also experience irritability and mood swings, where their moods change very rapidly with no apparent cause. They also tend to sleep less, to talk more, and to feel flooded or overwhelmed with ideas. For some people, hypomania translates into extreme productivity, and they may finish projects, be more focused at work, and even acquire new skills during a hypomanic episode.

This mood can persist for days, weeks, or even longer. It can progress into mania or slide back into depression, and the outcome of a period of hypomania is not always predictable. Some people may view the mood as a positive, taking advantage of the increased productivity and interest in socialization. Others may see it as a cause for concern because of worries that they may develop a more extreme mania or depression.

Medications can help manage conditions associated with hypomania and blunt the hypomania itself. Some patients also benefit from therapy, support groups with similar people, exercise, and other measures. A mental health professional can evaluate and provide advice and assistance.

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Discuss this Article

anon267268
Post 4

It's so hard to control the ups and downs of it. It's crazy. I'm about a week in at the moment of complete depression, isolation and wanting to die. I can't seem to find interest in anything that made me happy before. It happens so fast.

I truly feel sorry for you if you have it or you know a loved one has it. Please know, if we lash out, try to bring you down, or we don't want to be around you, it's not you. It's just an uncontrollable feeling that is very difficult to deal with. It eats you alive.

ellafarris
Post 3

I’m so glad I found this article. I too have a loved one who suffers from hypo mania. I’ve been married to my husband for ten years and I’ve seen him go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. His episodes usually last from several weeks to several months.

What’s the saddest thing to me about it is that even though he’s right there in front of me in physical form, mentally he’s somewhere else or someone else. I haven’t figured that part out yet, but once he comes down from what I call a naturally induced high, then the manic depressive side sets in.

I don’t know which is worse, having him run around acting crazy for months disrupting lives or disrupting lives from being locked behind closed doors, alone for weeks on end.

We seldom talk about his episodes but he did admit to me once that his depression is so severe sometimes that he just wants to die. And another time in a hypo stage he said he loved how he felt, that it was so euphoric and he never wanted to come down

aviva
Post 2

@Markus – Studies have shown that bipolar hypomania has the tendency to be hereditary. It’s been difficult to determine and much more research needs to be done.

The sad news is that a child has a twenty-five to fifty percent greater risk of developing bipolar symptoms if one or both of their parents has been diagnosed with it. Over eighty percent of people with bipolar disorder have a relative of some form with it.

It’s a depressing figure I know but the good news is there are treatments available for it and it can be controlled.

Try talking to your brother-in-law when he calms down from his mania and see if you and your sister can convince him to get some kind of therapy. Like with any treatment program, talking about it is the first step.

A good support group wouldn’t be a bad idea for you and other family members as well. Good luck to you and yours.

Markus
Post 1

My brother-in-law has all the symptoms of hypomania according to this article. There are times when his mood becomes elevated so rapidly and unexpectedly that you don’t know what just hit you.

It’s almost like he’s possessed or something. And all the things he does during those episodes are always over-exaggerated.

I’ve seen him behave this way at least two times during their marriage. I know my sister feels helpless when he acts like this because he won’t listen to reason.

He’s in such a state of euphoria that whenever she tries to talk to him, he tells her that she's a downer and he has to get away from all her negative energy.

I’m really concerned about this hypomania disorder of his and its effect on my sister and their children. His own mother was diagnosed as having Bipolar 2 and deals with severe depression all the time.

What I want to know is, if this a hereditary disorder, then should we be concerned about their children developing it someday?

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