Unlike mania, hypomania may not cause significant distress or impair individual functioning. Hypomania is also not accompanied by psychotic symptoms and may last for a shorter time frame than mania. Hypomania symptoms are usually but not always noticeable by others.
To be considered hypomanic, an individual must have symptoms present for three out of four days. Although hypomania is associated with cyclothymia, experiencing the symptoms of hypomania does not necessarily mean an individual has a mental illness. Hypomania is a state that is rarely maintained, and can progress into mania or cycle into depression if not treated.
Symptoms of Hypomania
- Inflated self-esteem: Individuals with hypomania may feel better about themselves than they normally do. This may be accompanied with grandiose ideas as to their own importance and power.
- Increased cheerfulness, optimism or happiness: This is distinguished from a normal happy state by its persistence and non-reactivity. Individuals who are hypomanic, for example, may remain in a happy state despite hearing bad news or being in adverse circumstances.
- Racing thoughts: Individuals may be constantly experiencing a flux of thoughts, feelings and ideas. Individuals with hypomania, for example, may concoct complicated ideas and attempt to achieve them through detailed planning.
- Increased talkativeness: People with hypomania symptoms frequently speak at a faster rate than others. This may either be noticeable or not immediately apparent. Individuals may be more extroverted than usual, engaging in conversation with strangers or talking to people they normally would not.
- Irritability: Irritability is one of the more common hypomania symptoms. Individuals may become more irritated than normal, irritated over minor things or irritated for a longer period of time than when they are not hypomanic.
- Psychological impairment and disinhibition: Although hypomania is usually a pleasurable state, it may impair judgement. Individuals may feel overly confident in their abilities or engage in impulsive or reckless behavior, for example gambling or shoplifting. Other disinhibited behaviors include promiscuity, overspending and excessive drug or alcohol consumption.
- Increased physical and goal-directed activity, creativity and productivity: Although this may be of benefit in the short term, individuals with hypomania often take on too many responsibilities and can overestimate their capabilities.
- Decreased need for sleep: Related to the psychological symptoms of hypomania, individuals may feel a decreased need for sleep. This may be due to increased energy, increased productivity, racing thoughts or a combination of all three.
- Increased energy: Despite a decrease in sleep, individuals may still be full of energy. This may result in an increase in physical and goal-directed activities.
NB: The content of this article is for information purposes and is not intended to replace sound medical advice and opinion.