Hypomania is similar to mania, but less intense. If a manic episode is a nine or ten on a scale of ten, a hypomania is a seven or eight. Psychosis (hallucinations, delusions, thought disorganization) is not present in hypomania and hospitalization is rarely required. Someone who is hypomanic has a persistently elevated, irritable, euphoric, self-important or grandiose mood for at least four days (DSM-IV-TR criteria).
During this time they will also exhibit a number of the following symptoms.
• Rapid, or pressured, speech. In hypomania, people will talk more rapidly than is normal for them. But here, unlike in mania, you can break in and carry on more of a conversation. You’ll likely have to interrupt a number of times, though.
• Decreased sleep. Often someone with hypomania will sleep just a few hours a night and feel rested.
• Increased goal-directed activities. These could include spending large amounts of time on work-related or school-related projects, cleaning, non-stop socializing, and talking on the phone for hours. Some people will describe how when they’re hypomanic they will overbook activities and appointments, often enjoying the feel of racing from event to event.
• Pleasure-seeking behaviors, often with the potential for bad outcomes. These run the gamut from reckless spending and high-risk sexual activities to gambling and drugs and alcohol.
Some people with bipolar disorder view hypomania as a preferred state, where they feel energized, “high,” or “the life of the party.” They require little sleep and can be remarkably productive. At times, trying to achieve, or maintain, this state may prompt someone to discontinue or decrease the use of mood-stabilizing medications.
Still others have learned ways in which they can maintain a slightly hypomanic state, typically by keeping healthy and regulated daily routines, paying particular attention to getting adequate sleep, and avoiding drugs and alcohol