What Is Hypomania?
Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition that used to be known as “manic depression.” According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 5.7 million American adults have been diagnosed with some type of bipolar disorder. That’s 2.6 percent of all adults in the United States. It is generally assumed that this number is inaccurately low because of the many people who remain undiagnosed . You can arm yourself with knowledge about this psychological disorder and help yourself or someone you love seek treatment in the form of counseling, rehab or talking with a bipolar treatment professional.
Two Types of Bipolar Disorder
There are two types of bipolar disorder: Bipolar I and Bipolar II. There are a few key differences between bipolar I and bipolar II to be aware of. All types of bipolar disorder exhibit some type of mania and depression.
When a person has Bipolar I disorder, he or she experiences episodes of mania along with episodes of depression. In other words, bipolar I is more severe than bipolar II in most cases. People who suffer from bipolar I will experience hallucinations during extreme episodes of mania or depression. These bipolar hallucinations may look like:
- Grandiose or nonsensical plans
- Strange or untrue ideas about the world, religions, groups, the news, or other people
- Beliefs that are untrue—for example, a person may believe he is a millionaire when he is not, or he may imagine that he is in a position of power when he is not
When a person has bipolar II disorder, he or she will experience the same types of mania and depression, except this person will NOT experience hallucinations. Bipolar II patients experience what is known as “hypomania.” Hypomania can result in strange behavior, but it does not result in hallucinations or extreme delusions.
The Difference Between Hypomania and Mania
The difference between mania and hypomania may be difficult to determine at first. Often, it takes time for even the most experienced treatment team to pick out these subtle differences. In some cases, a person can become quite adept at trying to hide the symptoms of mania and hypomania. The key differences are:
- Hypomania – Bipolar II hypomania is often called “Mania Light.” Hypomania can include impulsive decisions, over-the-top thinking (and spending), engaging in risky behaviors, overextending responsibilities or “taking on too much,” and staying awake for hours on end, well beyond what is healthy. They hypomanic person may experiment with drugs or alcohol, and is often at high risk for addiction or sexually transmitted diseases.
- Mania – Bipolar I mania includes all of the symptoms of hypomania and more. Manic behavior is more uncontrollable or even more violent than hypomania. The fully manic person may see things that are not real, hear things that are not real, or believe things that just don’t make sense. Manic persons are more likely to be violent than hypomanic persons, and a fully manic person may be a danger to himself or those around him. Strong episodes of mania can be confused with schizophrenia.
If you or a loved one is exhibiting any symptoms of mania or hypomania, seek professional treatment immediately.
Find Bipolar Help from Experienced Counselors
If you are exhausted from struggling with bipolar disorder, we can help you find quality bipolar treatment. We can even put you in touch with a number of specialty dual-diagnosis treatment programs—programs that treat both bipolar disorder and addiction at the same time.
It’s extremely important to get an accurate diagnosis and the best treatment possible for your bipolar symptoms. If you or someone you love is struggling with bipolar mania or hypomania, please call us now. Our experienced counselors are available 24 hours a day to help you find the treatment and resources you need.