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Conditions: Mania and Hypomania

What is understood by mania and hypomania?

States of mania and hypomania refer to moods and periods that are characterised by over-active and excited behaviour that can have a significant impact on your relationships and your day-to-day life.

Hypomania is defined as “a milder version of mania that usually lasts for a short period of time (typically a few days) while mania involves a more severe episode that lasts for a longer period (a week or more)”. Hypomania and/or mania can occur on their own or accompany other forms of mental health problems – including difficulties that are associated with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Postpartum Psychosis or schizoaffective disorder, for example. In instances where hypomania or mania as part of another mental health problem, it can be followed up by episode of low mood and depression.

Hypomania and mania can be experienced as pleasant and enjoyable as well as uncomfortable, distressing, or unpleasant.

Mania and hypomania can however have a disruptive effect on your life and people around you may notice a change in your mood and behaviour.

If you have hypomania, you may feel elated, euphoric or have a heightened sense of wellbeing. You may feel that you cannot express yourself fast enough. You may also feel agitated and irritable, be easily distracted, feel like your thoughts are racing and have increased sexual energy. As a result, you may sleep or eat very little, talk a lot or very fast, be more active and friendly. You may also lose your inhibitions and take more risks or spend money excessively.

If you experience mania, which is a more severe form, you may feel uncontrollably excited and feel extremely confident and adventurous to the point where you feel invincible or like you cannot be touched or harmed or you feel full of great new ideas. You may also feel that you perform tasks better than normal and that you can understand, hear, or see things that others cannot.

After a manic or hypomanic episode, you may feel very tired and in need or sleep and rest. It is also common for people to feel very unhappy or ashamed about their behaviour but also have a few or no clear memories of what happened. It is also common to feel overwhelmed due to commitments and responsibilities that may have been taken on that now feel unmanageable.

When to seek help?

  • You are having episodes of mania or hypomania that leads to you doing things that often have adverse or even disastrous consequences – such as spending large sums of money on expensive and sometimes unaffordable items

  • When episodes of mania and hypomania result in you making decisions or saying things that are out of character and that others see as being risky or harmful or that you later feel ashamed of

  • You experience strange sensations, such as seeing, hearing, or smelling things that are not there (hallucinations)

  • The nature of the episodes has a negative impact on your life (for example staying in a job may be difficult and relationships may become strained)

Treatment recommendations

Treatment for hypomania and mania aims to reduce the severity and number of episodes. The most appropriate treatment would be individually tailored to your needs following a comprehensive assessment process in our service.

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