Mania and hypomania: although they sound similar, they differ in multiple ways. Although mania and hypomania have similar symptoms, hypomania is known to be a milder/less severe form of mania. Hypomania is seen in a diagnosis of bipolar II, while mania is seen in the diagnosis of bipolar I. Hypomania and mania differ in the length of episodes, severity, treatment, the possible need for hospitalization, and how significant it impairs function. Mania will last for a minimum of one week, where hypomania will last somewhere between a minimum of four to seven days. Mania is more severe in symptoms, severely impairing one’s functioning, and possibly leading to the need for hospitalization. Hypomania often does not greatly impact one’s daily functioning. Below are the symptoms of mania and hypomania, the key difference is hypomania’s version of the symptoms are less severe than mania.
Symptoms of Mania and Hypomania
- Feeling of euphoria and feeling overly happy/silly. This can last for most if not the entire day for several days.
- Higher levels of activity, excitement, and energy than usual.
- Experiencing less sleep, not needing as much sleep, and still feeling rested on little to no sleep.
- Not feeling hungry or the need to eat.
- Reckless/risky decision making without considering the consequences of those decisions. These can include, but not limited to, purchasing large cost items, large amounts of reckless sexual activity, heavy gambling, and reckless driving.
- Increased impulsivity and taking on many activities at one time.
- Increased irritability and aggression.
- High increase in optimism and over confidence, outside of one’s usual range.
- Racing thoughts, racing speech/talking, and racing ideas.
- Easily distractible by unimportant stimuli.
- Hyperfocus on an activity.
The way hypomania and mania are diagnosed is through a mental health professional or healthcare professional. A healthcare professional will often rule out medical related conditions that could be causing mania or hypomania symptoms. Once an underlying medical related condition is ruled out, a mental health professional can diagnose mania or hypomania using the criteria listed in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-5). Both hypomania and mania can be treated with psychotherapy and psychiatric medication. One of the most common forms of psychotherapy used to treat hypomania is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Mania and hypomania can often be treated with medications such as antipsychotics, anti-seizure medications (mainly used to treat mania rather than hypomania), mood stabilizers, and antidepressants. It has been stated in multiple articles that hypomania can be treated without medication with a primary focus on psychotherapy, self-care, and healthy lifestyle choices.
If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of mania or hypomania, please contact your health or mental health care provider. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe symptoms of mania, and is a danger to themselves or others, please contact 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Cuncic, A. (Novemeber 30, 2021). Hypomania vs. mania: What’s the difference?. Very Well Mind. Retrieved October 15, 2023. https://www.verywellmind.com/hypomania-vs-mania-5208167
Cleveland Clinic (nd). Hypomania. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved October 15, 2023. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21774-hypomania
Pietrangelo, A. (September 29, 2022). What you should know about mania vs. hypomania. Healthline. Retrieved on October 15, 2023. https://www.healthline.com/health/mania-vs-hypomania