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

What treatments can help?

There are a range of treatments available for hypomania and mania. You might find that you need to try a number of options, along with self-help techniques, to manage your symptoms effectively.

Before you start any treatment, your GP or psychiatrist should discuss all your options with you, and your views and preferences should be taken into account.

Seeking help

Many people do not seek help for hypomania or mania – some people find it exciting or enjoyable and do not see it as a problem, and some may not realise that their behaviour is unusual or causing problems. This can mean that sometimes people receive the wrong diagnosis and treatment, or don't get treatment when they need it.

If you are seeking help from a doctor, it's a good idea to take note of all your moods (both high and low) to make sure you get the right diagnosis and treatment. If you find it hard to recognise when you need help when you're manic or hypomanic, it can help to agree with professionals, family and friends in advance what to do if you're becoming unwell.

Physical checks

To make sure you are given the correct treatment, your doctor should carry out physical checks to make sure your mania or hypomania isn't a side effect of a physical illness or medication, including antidepressants such as SSRIs.

Talking treatments

Talking treatments will help you understand yourself better and develop strategies to deal with hypomania or mania in the future. A talking treatment is likely to be most effective when your mood is stable. (See talking treatments for more information).

There are no talking treatments that are specifically recommended for hypomania and mania. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, and whether you experience hypomania or mania on its own or as part of a wider diagnosis, you may be offered:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – a short-term, practical therapy that aims to help you identify patterns that can lead to hypomania and develop ways to change these.
  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) – a therapy focused on living and paying attention to the present moment.
  • Psychoeducation – a brief intervention to help you learn coping strategies, either on your own or in a group.
  • Interpersonal therapy – this looks at any problems you have in communicating and interacting with other people, or relationship problems.
  • Family-focused therapy – this involves working as a family to look at behavioural traits, identify risks and build communication and problem-solving skills.

Medication

If you are experiencing mania or hypomania, you will normally be offered one of these antipsychotics:

If you experience mania or hypomania, as part of a mood disorder, you may also be offered mood stabilisers. These include:

For more information about these drugs, including side effects and what you should know before you take them, see our information on antipsychotics and lithium and other mood stabilisers.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

Very rarely, a treatment called electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be offered. According to NICE guidelines, this could be if:

  • you're experiencing a long period of mania, and
  • other treatments have not worked, or the situation is life-threatening

If you feel like you're in this situation, your doctor should discuss this option with you in a clear and accessible way before you make any decisions.

Community-based support

If you experience hypomania or mania regularly, and it has a significant impact on your ability to carry out daily activities, you may be referred for community-based support.

This could include:

  • health services, such as support from a Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) or Community Mental Health Nurse (CMHN); our Community care and aftercare section has further details 
  • social support, such as support from a social worker or help with practical day-to-day tasks

I now have a care co-ordinator and have been stable for a few months.

Crisis services

If you start to feel very unwell, or if an episode of mania is lasting for a long time and your regular treatment isn't working, you may need to access crisis services to help you get through it. This may include:

See our pages on crisis services for more detailed information about your options in a crisis.


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


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