Hypomania: what it is, symptoms and relation to bipolarity

Hypomania is a state of mind that is characterized by arousal or euphoria that occurs more mildly than in mania. In other words, this is the moderate case of the latter; which usually does not seriously affect a person’s functionality.

Beginning by explaining what “mania” is, in this article we will see how hypomania is defined and under what circumstances this can occur.

    What is hypomania?

    The word mania comes from ancient Greek; it means “frenzy” or “elated and furious state”. We use it both in familiar and specialized language to designate different situations related to the latter. For example, to talk about a fixed concern for something; a strange custom; an aversion that one person has towards another; or to speak of a clinical criterion of psychopathology characterized by a state of exaltation.

    On the other hand, the prefix “hiccup”, which derives from the Greek “hypo”, means “below”. In this sense, and in the context of psychopathology, hypomania is defined as a state of elation which is characterized by decreased need for sleep, high energy level, accelerated metabolism, hyperactivity and / or irritability and increased psychomotor activity.

    The difference between “mania” and “hypomania” (and the reason why the prefix “hiccup” is added to them), is that the former does not have a significant impact on a person’s functionality and, moreover, does not have a significant impact on a person’s functionality. ‘does not include psychotic symptoms. In this sense, hypomania can also be defined as a kind of mania but less extreme.

      Main diagnostic criteria

      The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in its fifth version (DSM-V), includes “the increase in energy or activity directed towards a goal over what is usual in the subject”, as a criterion. hypomania detection clinic.

      For its part, the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization also includes increased energy as a diagnostic criterion. the last with elevation of mood.

      Likewise, if a person has exhibited manifestations of hypomania, but not enough to diagnose it, or not with the duration necessary to consider it a disorder; it may be a “hypomanic episode”.

      The above is included in the “Other Specific Bipolar Disorders and Related Conditions” category of the DSM-V.

      A hypomanic episode

      A hypomanic episode it is not in itself a clinical category or disorder, But one of the manifestations of the others. It specifically presents with the condition known as bipolar II disorder.

      The hypomanic episode is characterized by a mood that it is not severe enough to cause clinically significant discomfort to the person (The one that prevents you from effectively carrying out your daily activities and responsibilities). For example, the hypomanic episode does not prevent the person from working; in all cases, the reverse is true: the person does not need to be absent.

      It is also an episode which does not require hospitalization and which does not present any symptoms of psychosis. The above symptoms (clinically significant discomfort, need for hospitalization, or psychotic symptoms) are characteristic of a manic episode and usually occur in bipolar disorder type I. Hypomanic episodes can also occur with cyclothymia or the disorder. cyclothymic.


      Usually the episode of hypomania lasts all day and lasts at least 4 days. In the latter, you can distinguish a mood that is different from the usual depression and include some symptoms of mania.

      The above may even be functional or adaptive for some people, as increased energy also increases creativity, security, and self-confidence. In other people, hypomania rather it may manifest itself as irritability and easy distraction.

      The main symptoms of the hypomanic episode are:

      • High self-esteem and bombast.
      • Decreased need for sleep (feeling of rest after only 3 hours of sleep).
      • Increased need to speak and even pressure to keep speaking.
      • Leakage of ideas or subjective experiences where thoughts go very fast.
      • Ease of distraction.
      • It increases activity aimed at achieving goals, for example at work, at school, in sexuality or in daily socialization.
      • Excessive participation in high-risk activities unwanted or painful consequences, for example, gambling or uncontrolled shopping.

      For its diagnosis and treatment, it should be excluded that the above symptoms are caused by the effects of a substance (such as medication or medication), or by a general medical condition (eg hyperthyroidism). On many occasions, people with hypomanic episodes they are diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, A problem that requires a more specific approach.

      At other times, it may present as an effect of taking antidepressants, in which case it also requires some approach and control, which does not require a diagnosis of bipolarity.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Bressert, S. (2018). Symptoms of hypomanic episode. Accessed July 27, 2018.Available at https://psychcentral.com/disorders/hypomanic-episode-symptoms/.
      • Coryell, W. (2018). Bipolar disorders. Accessed July 27, 2018.Available at https://www.msdmanuals.com/es/professional/trastornos-psiquiátricos/trastornos-del-estado-de-ánimo/trastornos-bipolar.
      • De Déu, C., Goikolea, JM, Colom, F., et al. (2014). Bipolar disorders in the new classifications: DSM-5 and CIE-11. Journal of Psychiatry and Mental Health, 7: 179-185.
      • Worderference (2005). Mania. Dictionary of the Spanish language. Accessed July 27, 2018.Available at http://www.wordreference.com/definicion/man%C3%ADa.

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