Bipolar Disorder is a complicated mental illness that can be undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years. Hypomanic episodes, a key aspect of the disease, can be particularly difficult to treat. This may make it even more difficult to obtain an accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder (or related health problem) and to receive effective treatment. What you should know about hypomania, including the subtle signs that you should be aware of.
. 1 Hypomania means that someone is experiencing an increased, high-energy mood and concomitant behavioral changes.
Bipolar disorder causes a person to declare between periods of emotional and energetic highs (hypomanic and manic episodes) and lows (depressive episodes), of the Mayo, alternating clinic . Between these spells, they can show little to no symptoms.
To be classified as a hypomanic episode, you must have a longer, unusually high temper and at least three of the symptoms [19459013foratleast four days :
- Unusually exhaling
- Uneasy feeling  Euphoric feeling
- Increased activity or energy
- Increased self-esteem
- Trouble sleeping
- ] More than usual talk
- Irritability or arousal
- Racing Thoughts
- Behavioral risks come in as bad financial decisions make
. 2 Hypomania has the same symptoms as mania, but at a less intense level.
"Hypomania differs from mania only in the degree of symptom severity and extent of impairment", Dr. med. Michael Thase, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Mood and Anxiety Program at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, tells SELF. Like Dr. Thase explains when the episode is severe enough to harm a person's work, relationships, or life; requires hospitalization; or includes psychosis (loses contact with reality), then it is classified as mania.
Episodes of hypomania, by contrast, are more subtle, says the Mayo Clinic . If you go through it, it can only feel like you are far more than usual, but not to a potentially harmful extent.
. 3 One can be naturally or most of the time naturally optimistic or energetic without experiencing hypomania.
It is possible that someone may be showing certain aspects of hypomania without going through a hypomanic episode, Nassir Ghaemi, Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine, tells SELF.
Remember that you must have at least three signs of hypomania – along with a lengthy unusual – temper to officially get a hypomanic episode. "Uncommon" is the key because the episode must be a fairly sudden change in your mood and behavior, says Samar McCutcheon, MD, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Wexner Medical Center, Ohio State University, to SELF. So, if you look at the list of symptoms up there and find that you're most of them most of the time, it does not automatically mean that you're suffering from hypomania.
. 4 Not everyone with bipolar disorder is hypomanic.
Bipolar Disorder is divided into various categories based on the episode mix that a person experiences.
To be clinically diagnosed with bipolar I disorder, you must be in a specific category. At least one manic episode must last at least seven days (or hard enough to require hospitalization), according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). You can also experience episodes of hypomania. While the minimum is four days, it can last for several months, says dr. Ghaemi. Someone with bipolar I may also experience depressive episodes of at least two weeks or mixed episodes of depression and mania. Basically, someone with bipolar I can engage in a number of mood phases, not necessarily hypomania.
To be diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, you must have at least one hypomanic episode and one depressive episode, but no manic episodes are explained by NIMH . Hypomanic episodes are a non-negotiable part of this diagnosis.
. 5 A condition known as cyclothymic disorder, which occurs as a less severe form of bipolar disorder, also includes hypomania.
Similar to hypomania, a less severe version of mania, cyclothymic disorder (also known as cyclothymia) is a less extreme version of bipolar disorder disorder, according to the NIMH . If you suffer from cyclothymic disorder, you will experience alternating phases of hypomanic and depressive symptoms that are not strong enough to meet the criteria for actual hypomanic and depressive episodes. To be classified as a cyclothymic disorder, you must turn these symptoms on and off for at least two years.
. 6 Some people with bipolar disorder related disorders may only have hypomania.
"There [is] there is a small subgroup of people who only have hypomanic episodes," says dr. McCutcheon. Since this does not quite fit into the categories bipolar I, bipolar II or cyclothymic disorder, it is diagnosed as Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders McCutcheon.
. 7 Experts do not know exactly what causes hypomania, but genetics and neurological factors generally seem to play a role in bipolar disorder.
If You Have Hypomania (and Other Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder), That Might Be It In Your Family Synthase. Experts are not yet sure which specific genes might be involved in the heritability of bipolar disorder, but a parent or sibling with the condition may increase their risk according to NIMH .
Similarly, it appears that the structure and function of the brain may have some effect on the development of bipolar disorder, but researchers have not yet discovered the details.
. 8 Sometimes hypomania is so hard to detect that people with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed.
The first problem with this is that people with hypomania and mania may not recognize that the symptoms indicate a disorder. Instead, they can easily copy evidence of these states as more energy or motivation than usual and consider it a good thing.
Even if someone who suffers from hypomania visits a doctor, he or she may be misdiagnosed because it can be so subtle. For example, someone with bipolar II – including hypomanic and depressive episodes – may be diagnosed with a major depressive disorder if he or a doctor misses these hypomanic symptoms.
It is the key to physicians perform such a thorough psychiatric assessment as possible when there is a possibility that someone experiences bipolar disorder because so many treatments are based on an accurate diagnosis.
. 9 Different types of medications can be helpful in treating bipolar disorder, but mood stabilizers are best for hypomania.
Mood stabilizers lower the level of abnormal brain activity contributing to hypomania (and mania), according to NIMH . Other drug classes may be helpful in various aspects of bipolar disorder. For example, antipsychotics may help to relieve persistent depression and mania that are not responsive to other drugs. The Mayo Clinic explains, and antidepressants, antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety medications may also contribute to the treatment of bipolar disorder.