Hypomania and mania

Explains hypomania and mania, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.

Your stories

My podcast: a manic soundscape

Robin's blog about how he used his skills in radio production to create a podcast about his hypomania.

Robin Blamires
Posted on 18/06/2014

My selfie on hypomania

Laura blogs about the selfies you'll start seeing on our information pages soon....

Laura H
Posted on 27/02/2014

How can I help myself?

There are lots of strategies that can help you to manage your moods, and reduce the unwanted effects of mania or hypomania. Using these strategies does not mean that you need to handle everything on your own – they are often used in combination with other treatments and support from friends, family and professionals.

Learn more about your condition

Learning more about your condition can help you be more involved in your care and feel more in control. This could include finding out more about:

  • your condition and diagnosis
  • possible treatment options
  • benefits, services and support available to you and how to access them
  • other people's experiences and what helps them – see Mind's blogs and mental health selfies

If you're looking for information online, make sure you use reputable websites and know how to stay safe.

Monitor your moods

Monitoring your moods will help you understand more about yourself and your mood patterns, and to recognise changes which can be difficult to spot otherwise. Many people use mood diaries to do this (see Useful contacts for templates and apps). For example:

Day

Stress (1-10)

Mood (1-10)

Energy (1-10)

Sleep (hours)

Comments

Monday

4

5

5

7

Relaxed day at work, nice lunch with colleague

Tuesday

7

7

7

6

Busy day, stayed late at work, went to pub

Wednesday

6

8

8

5

Really excited about things and think I achieved a lot today. But my sister said I don’t seem to be concentrating.

Learn to recognise triggers and warning signs

If you can spot the triggers and warning signs of an episode, it can help you recognise when you are becoming unwell. Triggers and warning signs can be very personal, so it may take a little while to work out what yours are. It might help to write this down so you can refer to it if you think you might be becoming unwell.

For example:

Triggers Warning signs
  • not sleeping properly or missing a night's sleep
  • stress at work
  • being really busy with activities and hobbies
  • being away a lot at weekends or not having enough downtime to relax
  • drinking too much caffeine or alcohol
  • skipping meals
  • staying up until early hours of the morning, and finding it hard to stop activities and go to bed
  • being more chatty than usual and wanting to be with other people all the time
  • buying lots of new clothes and wanting to wear quite loud outfits I wouldn't normally
  • spending a lot of time on social media
  • feeling impatient with people, like they can't keep up with me

I believed (all the time) that I was always right and everyone else was always wrong. I was bubbly and my confidence was really high. At work I would complete tasks simultaneously and felt that the work was way beneath me. I also started spending a lot and would spend almost all my wage.

Make a self-management plan

When you are well, make a plan for what you can do if you start getting hypomanic or manic, to manage your symptoms and prevent things getting worse.

For example:

  • make yourself go to bed, even if you don't feel tired
  • avoid alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants
  • avoid stimulating activities
  • avoid noisy, bright or busy environments and go somewhere quiet and calm
  • do activities you find calming or soothing
  • do relaxation or deep breathing exercises
  • avoid making big purchases – you might want to ask someone you trust to help you manage your finances while you are hypomanic or manic
  • postpone making major life decisions
  • avoid situations where you may take part in risky behaviour, such as driving irresponsibly or taking drugs

You might need to try a few things to find out what works for you. Bipolar UK has information and templates to help you create a self-management plan.

Have a daily routine

Having a regular routine and looking after yourself can help you stay well and prevent hypomanic or manic episodes. It will also make it easier to spot changes in your mood or behaviour, and to notice if you are becoming hypomanic or manic.

  • Get good sleep. Try to go to bed and get up at similar times each day. Make sure you have a calm space to sleep, and try to minimise stimulating activities before bed (see Sleep problems – tips).
  • Do some physical activity. Exercise can help you feel better and help you sleep at night. But be careful not to do too much, or too close to your bedtime, as this can become a trigger (see Physical activity).
  • Try to eat well and keep to regular mealtimes (see Food and mood).
  • Keep stress to a minimum. Try to reduce and manage stress as much as possible (see Stress). Balance stimulating or stressful activities with relaxing ones, and avoid taking on too many responsibilities.
  • Learn to relax. Prioritise leisure time and build in calming activities so you have a chance to unwind. You may also find relaxation exercises helpful.

Involve friends and family

It can help to have conversations with trusted friends or family about your condition, how it affects you and how they can help. For example:

  • Have honest conversations while you're well about how things feel for you, and what you do and don't find helpful. For example: 'I find it frustrating that you think I'm hypomanic every time I'm happy or have a good day,' or: 'It's really helpful when you notice I haven't been sleeping much and remind me to get a good night's sleep.'
  • Consider involving trusted friends or family members in your self-care planning. For example, if you're not sure what your triggers or warning signs are, you could ask if they have seen any patterns or behaviours around the times that you become unwell. If you find it difficult to spot your warning signs yourself, you could share these with someone and ask them to let you know if they see them developing. They may notice things you don't, or be able to suggest strategies that you haven't thought of.
  • Share your self-care strategies and self-management plan so they understand how to recognise when you need help and what they can do. This will also help them understand the difference between times when you feel like you can cope on your own, and times when they need to help or get you more support.

Use peer support

Sharing experiences and coping strategies with other people who also experience mental health problems can be a huge source of support (see peer support). This could be in a support group, where you go and meet people in person, or online.

For information about support groups in your area, contact Mind Infoline. For online support, check out Mind's online community Elefriends or Bipolar UK's e-community, and make sure you know how to stay safe online.

Create a crisis plan

It's a good idea to create a crisis plan that explains what you would like to happen in an emergency, if you become very unwell or are unable to make decisions for yourself.

This could include:

  • who to contact
  • what treatments you would like to have or avoid
  • at what point you would like people to consider hospital treatment as an option

There are many different types of crisis plan. See our information about Planning for a crisis for more details.


This information was published in August 2016. We will revise it in 2019.


Mental Health A-Z

Information and advice on a huge range of mental health topics

> Read our A-Z

Training

Helping you to better understand and support people with mental health problems

> Find out more

Special offers

Check out our promotional offers on print and digital booklets, for a limited time only

> Visit our shop today