Hypomania is a less intense form of mania. Like mania, it’s a symptom of bipolar disorder. Both involve feeling more exited and energetic than usual for a long period of time—at least two weeks at a time. Hypomania looks different for everyone, but it generally includes some of the following:
- having lots of energy
- feeling “euphoric” (excited and happy, or even a little bit “high”)
- feeling extra confident and creative
- thinking and speaking more quickly than usual
- being easily distracted or annoyed
- not sleeping as much as usual
- impulsive behavior
- mild or moderate anxiety
If you compare this to the list of symptoms of mania, you’ll notice that they’re pretty similar. The main difference is that while mania often gets out of hand and causes lots of problems for people, hypomania is more manageable. Mania can sometimes lead to psychosis (losing touch with reality), but hypomania never does. That’s good news for people experiencing hypomania… but because it is less disruptive, it often goes unnoticed or unreported.
People with bipolar I can experience both mania and hypomania. Many people experience mania before starting treatment, and hypomania after they start treatment. People with bipolar II and cyclothymia only experience hypomania—never full-blown mania.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2017). What Are Bipolar Disorders? Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/bipolar-disorders/what-are-bipolar-disorders