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Hypomania Defined

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 7/31/2009

The stigma of bipolar disorder is not less than the stigma of the terms associated with bipolar disorder, such as hypomania. Read below to learn how to recognize hypomania and to understand what it means.

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    Who has Hypomania?

    Hypomania is usually a term associated with bipolar disorder. Those who have bipolar disorder are very likely to experience hypomania as part of their symptoms or as a warning sign that actual mania is about to occur. Those who have bipolar disorder should learn to recognize this as one of the symptoms and take action to cope with this symptom as well as the ones that may follow it.

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    What is Hypomania?

    Hypomania is a mood state that is not as extreme as mania is, but certainly has the potential to develop into it. This mood state technically will last at least four days before meeting the criteria to be called hypomania. The mood will be a non-depressed mood that can be either slightly euphoric or slightly irritable. Either way it will be uncharacteristic of the normal non-depressed mood of the individual. The following list includes some of the symptoms of hypomania.

    • over-activity
    • lack of inhibitions
    • non-reactive (meaning that the mood is not affected by good things or bad things that may happen)
    • increase in energy
    • risk taking
    • often precedes episodes of mania or depression
    • rise in self esteem
    • decreased need for sleep
    • increased sociability and flirtation

    People who experience hypomania may view it as a form of happiness and neglect to understand that it is a warning sign of other symptoms to come. It is not unrealistic for those with bipolar disorder to view this as a sign of happiness since it is the bipolar form of a "high". In fact, people may be more productive and creative during these episodes and this alone can dissuade anyone from thinking that there is in fact a problem. One of the signs that this is a hypomania episode is that the production does not last and though the person may tend to come up with multitudes of fresh and creative ideas, they will tend to have problems following through with these.

    This may in fact seem like the perfect period in the bipolar world. The problem is that this period is followed by periods of depression or mania that can result in extreme and unhealthy behaviors. This makes recognition of this stage vital in preparing for the episodes that may follow. Whether a person has bipolar disorder or is close to someone who does, educating ones self about the various episodes involved is the key to preventing damaging behaviors that may range from socially unacceptable to suicidal.

    Reference

    Depression-Guide