What is Hypomania?

People in a hypomanic episode usually have feelings of euphoria, irritability, increased sexuality, and competitiveness–but less than someone with full-blown mania. In Latin, “hypo” means below, so the definition of hypomanic as, “appears less intense than manic” follows logically.

Whereas inability to focus permeates mania, my experience with hypomania has been completely different. Increased focus and feelings of contentment means that I am incredibly productive while hypomanic, and I don’t doubt that this drive and ability applies to other people in such a state as well. Hypomania is a very pleasurable episode to be in; I have often felt as if I am coasting along in my day, accomplishing anything I set out to do with my super-human energy. It is part of the reason bipolar people often grieve for the hypomanic episode while depressed or normal. Similarly, medication compliance is difficult while this a state of ecstasy.

A hypomania diagnosis is also the main difference between Bipolar I and Bipolar II. People with the former suffer from full-blown manic episodes complete with psychotic features like hallucinations and delusions of godhood, whereas Bipolar II people deal with depression and hypomania only.

Author: Cassandra Stout

Freelance writer Cassandra Stout blogs weekly at the award-winning Bipolar Parent, a comprehensive resource for parents with mental illnesses. She also blogs monthly at the International Bipolar Foundation website (IPBF.org). Her work has been published in the anthology, How the Light Gets In. Cassandra holds degrees from the University of Arizona in Creative Writing and Journalism. She has been a judge for the Pacific Northwest Writers' Association literary contest for nine years, where her memoir, Committed, recently placed as a finalist. She balances her literary work with raising her children, feeding her cat, and managing her bipolar disorder.

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