Mania causes atypically high levels of physical and mental energy in people with bipolar disorder. Hypomania causes these same symptoms, but they’re not as intense or long lasting.

Mania and hypomania are symptoms that can occur in people with bipolar disorder. They can also occur in people who do not have bipolar disorder.

What is mania?

Mania is more than just having extra energy. It’s a mood disturbance that makes you atypically energized, both physically and mentally, for a week or more. Mania can be severe enough to require require hospitalization.

Mania can occur in people with bipolar I disorder. In most bipolar I diagnoses, manic episodes can alternate with periods of depression.

However, people with bipolar I disorder don’t always have depressive episodes. It’s very common for an individual to have more typical moods in between episodes.

What is hypomania?

Hypomania is a milder form of mania. If you’re experiencing hypomania, your energy level is higher than usual, but it’s not as extreme as in mania. It may only last for a few days.

Hypomania symptoms are different than your typical activity levels and behaviour so other people may notice that difference.

According to experts, in most cases hypomania does not require hospitalisation.

People with bipolar II disorder may experience hypomania that alternates with depression, or they may have more typical emotional states in between each.

The main differences between mania and hypomania are the intensity of the symptoms and how long those symptoms last.

Symptoms of mania and hypomania

While they vary in intensity, most mania and hypomania symptoms are the same. The key symptoms include:

  • having higher-than-typical energy levels
  • being restless or unable to sit still
  • having a decreased need for sleep
  • having increased self-esteem, confidence, or grandiosity
  • being more talkative
  • having a racing mind or having lots of new ideas and plans
  • having decreased inhibitions
  • having increased sexual desire
  • engaging in potentially harmful behaviors that may be unusual for you, such as having impulsive sex, gambling with life savings, or going on big spending sprees

The slight differences between mania and hypomania include:

Your behavior is so extreme that you are unable to maintain regular activities.People might notice changes, but you may still be able to maintain regular activities.
Delusions or hallucinations may occur.Typically, delusions and hallucinations do not occur.
Feelings of invincibility are common.Taking actions that may be harmful to you or others is common.
You may feel “detached” from reality.You may feel easily distracted.

During a manic or hypomanic phase, you may not be able to recognize these changes in yourself.

The more severe symptoms of mania

Unlike hypomanic episodes, manic episodes can lead to serious consequences. When the mania subsides, you may experience remorse or depression for your actions during the episode.

With mania, you may also have a break from reality. Psychotic symptoms can include:

Mania and hypomania are common symptoms of bipolar disorder. However, these symptoms can also be due to:

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unclear. Research has identified some environmental risk factors, but it could also be genetic, meaning that family history may play a role.

There isn’t enough research to establish a relationship between environmental factors and bipolar disorder, so more studies are needed.

You’re at an increased risk of mania or hypomania if you’ve already had an episode. Your risk may also increase if you have bipolar disorder and cannot take medications as your doctor prescribes.

Mania and hypomania, as well as bipolar disorder, are not preventable. However, you can take steps to lessen the effects of an episode.

Maintaining your support systems and working with a healthcare professional like a mental health professional are two methods that can help lessen the possibility of an episode and manage one if it occurs.

It’s important to stick with your treatment plan if you have one. Taking your medications as prescribed and keeping an open line of communication with your doctor are key. Working together, you and your doctor can create the best treatment plan to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

“Bipolar mania can be a scary thing to experience. But the good news is that bipolar disorder is treatable. Since receiving my diagnosis, I’ve found the right medication and the right dosage so that day-to-day life is totally normal.”

— Mara Robinson

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If you believe you may be dealing with symptoms of mania, hypomania, or bipolar disorder itself, it’s a good idea to talk with a healthcare professional. During your appointment, your doctor will request your medical history and do a physical exam.

It’s important that you tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you take, as well as any illegal drugs you may have taken.

If your doctor suspects you are dealing with mania or hypomania, they will likely refer you to a mental health professional for an actual diagnosis.

Diagnosing mania and hypomania can be complicated. For instance, you may not be aware of some symptoms or how long you’ve been having them.

Also, if you have depression, it’s important to share your complete medical history to help your doctor in making an official diagnosis.

In addition, other health conditions can cause mania and hypomania.

Diagnosing mania

In most cases, symptoms must last at least a week for your doctor to diagnose them as mania. However, if your symptoms are so severe that you’re hospitalized, a diagnosis can be made even if the symptoms last for a shorter time.

Diagnosing hypomania

Your symptoms must persist for at least 4 consecutive days for your doctor to diagnose hypomania.

To treat mania and hypomania, your doctor may prescribe psychotherapy and medication. The medication can include mood stabilizers and antipsychotics.

You may need to try several different medications before your doctor discovers the right combination to treat your symptoms effectively.

It’s important that you take your medication as your doctor prescribes. Even if you have side effects from the drugs, it can be dangerous to stop taking your medication without your doctor’s supervision.

If you have problems with side effects, talk with your doctor. They may be able to switch you to a different kind of treatment that isn’t so difficult on your body.

For hypomania, it’s often possible to manage symptoms without medication. Healthy lifestyle habits can help, such as:

  • maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet
  • getting physical activity every day
  • keeping a regular sleep schedule and prioritizing rest
  • keeping a journal that notes any mood changes or changes pointed out by loved ones

These tips can help you cope with mania and hypomania:

  • Learning about your condition: You can manage mania and hypomania. Learning to recognize personal triggers can help avoid them.
  • Keeping a mood diary: By charting your moods, you might be able to spot early warning signs. With your doctor’s help, you may also be able to prevent an episode from worsening. For instance, by learning to spot the early warning signs of a manic episode, you can manage it well.
  • Staying in treatment: If you have bipolar disorder, treatment is key. Getting your family involved in therapy might be a good idea as they can help you stay in treatment.
  • Watching for suicidal thoughts: If you have thoughts of self-harm, speak with a trusted friend or family member immediately or contact a suicide prevention hotline.
  • Reaching out to others for help: Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. Talk with loved ones about your situation and how they can best help you succeed. Look up support groups for individuals living with bipolar disorder. The more support you have, the less alone you may feel.

Help is out there

If you or someone you know is in crisis and considering suicide or self-harm, please seek support:

  • Call or text the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
  • Text HOME to the Crisis Textline at 741741.
  • Not in the United States? Find a helpline in your country with Befrienders Worldwide.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency services number if you feel safe to do so.

If you’re calling on behalf of someone else, stay with them until help arrives. You may remove weapons or substances that can cause harm if you can do so safely.

If you are not in the same household, stay on the phone with them until help arrives.

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Is hypomania more severe than mania?

No hypomania is milder than mania. Symptoms of mania are much more intense than those of hypomania and can last for a week or more.

What are the 3 types of mania?

Mania can lead to euphoria, psychosis, or as hypomania. These are not clearly defined types, and a person can have overlapping symptoms.

Mania and hypomania are two common symptoms of bipolar disorder, but they can also occur outside of it. Both mania and hypomania can cause a marked increase in energy, uplifted emotions, behaviors that may cause harm, and irritability.

While the episode may feel good while it’s occurring, both conditions can cause an individual to do things they might regret later.

Mania can be especially harmful if you do not manage it properly.

Although these two mental health conditions share similar characteristics, the main differences between mania and hypomania are the severity and the length of an episode.

If you believe you or someone you love is experiencing a manic or hypomanic episode, consider talking with a mental health professional as soon as possible.

Medication, therapy, and support can help treat manic episodes. Sometimes, lifestyle changes can help manage hypomanic episodes instead of medication.