Hypomania is a condition in which you display a revved up energy or activity level, mood or behavior. The new “energized you” is recognized by others as beyond your usual self. Hypomania is a less severe form of mania, and both are commonly part of bipolar disorder. Treatments include psychotherapy, medication and self-care strategies.
Hypomania is a condition in which you have a period of abnormally elevated, extreme changes in your mood or emotions, energy level or activity level. This energized level of energy, mood and behavior must be a change from your usual self and be noticeable by others.
Hypomania is a symptom of bipolar disorder, but can also be a symptom of other mental health conditions.
Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. The criteria that healthcare professionals use to make the diagnosis of either hypomania or mania is what sets them apart. These differences are as follows:
|How long the episode lasts||At least four consecutive days||At least one week|
|Severity of episode||Not severe enough to significantly affect social or work/school functioning||Causes severe impact on social or work/school functioning|
|Need for hospitalization||No||Possibly|
|Need for hospitalization||Can’t be present for a diagnosis of hypomania||Is among possible symptoms|
|How long the episode lasts|
|At least four consecutive days|
|At least one week|
|Severity of episode|
|Not severe enough to significantly affect social or work/school functioning|
|Causes severe impact on social or work/school functioning|
|Need for hospitalization|
|Need for hospitalization|
|Can’t be present for a diagnosis of hypomania|
|Is among possible symptoms|
Each person’s triggers may be different. Some common triggers include:
It’s smart to develop a list of your triggers to know when a hypomanic episode may be starting. Since hypomania doesn’t cause severe changes in your activity level, mood or behavior, it may be helpful to ask family and close friends who you trust and have close contact with to help identify your triggers. They may notice changes from your usual self more easily than you do. Share your trigger list with your close, trusted friends so they can tell when you might need help.
According to the criteria for hypomania, hypomania must last at least four days. But it can last up to several months.
After a hypomanic episode you may:
Symptoms of a hypomanic episode are the same but less intense than mania. Hypomanic symptoms, which vary from person to person, include:
It takes time to know the difference. Everyone enjoys being happy and feeling good. But feeling good doesn’t always mean you are good. Over time, you’ll start to understand yourself and learn the warning signs that you may be starting to have an elevated mood that is different than just feeling good.
Ask family and close friends who you trust, and have frequent contact with, to give you feedback. Ask them to tell you when they see beyond normal changes in your mood or behaviors.
What hypomania feels like and looks like will be different for each person. Some examples of things you might feel and/or do include:
Scientists aren’t completely sure what causes hypomania. However, there are several factors that are thought to contribute. Causes differ from person to person.
Causes may include:
Your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history, family medical history, current prescriptions and non-prescription medications and any herbal products or supplements you take. Your provider may order blood tests and body scans to rule out other conditions that may mimic mania. One such condition is hyperthyroidism. If other diseases and conditions are ruled out, your provider may refer you to a mental health specialist
To be diagnosed with hypomania, your mental health specialist may follow the criteria of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5. Their criteria for manic episode is:
If you have hypomania, you don’t have thoughts that are out of step with reality — you don’t have false beliefs (delusions) or false perceptions (hallucinations). If you do have these symptoms of psychosis, your diagnosis is mania.
Bipolar II disorder is a type of bipolar disorder in which people experience depressive episodes as well as hypomanic episodes (shifting back and forth), but never mania. People with bipolar II disorder tend to have longer and more frequent depressed episodes than people with bipolar I disorder.
If the severity of your symptoms never rises to the level of mania, you have bipolar II disorder. If you have even a single episode of what is considered mania or one psychotic event (delusions or hallucinations) during a hypomanic episode, your diagnosis would change to bipolar I disorder.
Hypomania is treated with psychotherapy, antipsychotic medications and mood stabilizers.
Psychotherapy involves a variety of techniques. During psychotherapy, you’ll talk with a mental health professional who will help you identify hypomania symptoms and triggers and learn ways to cope with or lessen the effects of hypomanic episodes.
Antipsychotic medication choices include:
Mood stabilizers include:
(If you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant, let your provider know. Valproate can increase the chance of birth defects and learning disabilities and shouldn’t be prescribed to individuals who are able to become pregnant.)
Sometimes antidepressants are also prescribed.
Managing hypomania without medications
If your hypomania is mild, you may be able to cope without medications. Your healthcare provider may suggest having a greater focus on self-care to stay as healthy as possible.
Suggested actions may include:
Episodes of hypomania can’t always be prevented. However, you can learn ways to better manage your symptoms and prevent them from getting worse.
Suggestions on your “to-do list” might include:
If you’ve been diagnosed with hypomania, you can have a favorable outcome if you learn about your condition, learn to recognize when you’re having a hypomanic episode and engage in coping strategies to lessen the severity or prevent events. Always take any prescribed medications as directed by your healthcare provider.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Being amped up about your life and being in a good mood is usually thought to be a good thing. It can be if that’s how you normally are most of the time. This is what makes hypomania a little tricky to diagnose. Key to a diagnosis of hypomania is that your elevated mood, behavior or activity level must last at least four days (all day or most of the day) and must rise to the level that’s beyond normal and is noticeable by others. Know that a team of healthcare professionals — your primary care provider, psychologists and/or psychiatrist — is ready to help you figure this out.
Yes. If you have been diagnosed with the less severe condition of hypomania and have even a single episode of mania (as defined by the criteria), your diagnosis will change to bipolar I disorder. Once you have a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder – even if you never have another manic episode – your diagnosis can never be changed back to bipolar II disorder. You’ll always have a bipolar I disorder diagnosis.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/16/2021.
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