for better mental health

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.

What are hypomania and mania?

Hypomania and mania are periods of over-active and excited behaviour that can have a significant impact on your day-to-day life.

  • Hypomania is a milder version of mania that lasts for a short period (usually a few days)
  • Mania is a more severe form that lasts for a longer period (a week or more)

You might have hypomania and/or mania on their own or as part of some mental health problems – including bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, postpartum psychosis or schizoaffective disorder.

Some people find hypomania and mania enjoyable. Or you might find them very uncomfortable, distressing or unpleasant.

"I love being hypomanic because I feel as though I’m on top of the world and can and will do anything I want, but I hate it because I feel so disconnected from everyone else."

Hypomania

Hypomania lasts for a few days, and can feel more manageable than mania. It can still have a disruptive effect on your life and people may notice a change in your mood and behaviour. But you will usually be able to continue with your daily activities without these being too badly affected.

Symptoms of hypomania can include:

How you might feel

You may feel:

  • happy, euphoric or a sense of wellbeing
  • very excited, like you can’t get your words out fast enough
  • irritable and agitated
  • increased sexual energy
  • easily distracted, like your thoughts are racing, or you can't concentrate.

How you might behave

Your behaviour may include:

  • being more active than usual
  • talking a lot or speaking very quickly
  • being very friendly
  • sleeping very little
  • spending money excessively
  • losing social inhibitions or taking risks.

"Everything is extremely bright and loud and everything inside my head is moving extremely fast. I’m irritated with everyone because no-one talks or does things as fast as I do. It’s amazing but horrible at the same time... it’s like I’m in my own amazing colourful world but everyone else is still stuck in the normal dull grey one."

Mania

Mania lasts for a week or more and has a severe negative impact on your ability to do your usual day-to-day activities – often disrupting or stopping these completely. Severe mania is very serious, and often needs to be treated in hospital.

Symptoms of mania can include any of the symptoms of hypomania listed above, and can also include:

How you might feel

You may feel:

  • happy, euphoric or a sense of wellbeing
  • uncontrollably excited, like you can’t get your words out fast enough
  • irritable and agitated
  • increased sexual energy
  • easily distracted, like your thoughts are racing, or you can't concentrate
  • very confident or adventurous
  • like you are untouchable or can't be harmed
  • like you can perform physical and mental tasks better than normal
  • like you understand, see or hear things that other people can't.

How you might behave

Your behaviour may include:

  • being more active than usual
  • talking a lot, speaking very quickly, or not making sense to other people
  • being very friendly
  • saying or doing things that are inappropriate and out of character
  • sleeping very little or not at all
  • being rude or aggressive
  • misusing drugs or alcohol
  • spending money excessively or in a way that is unusual for you
  • losing social inhibitions
  • taking serious risks with your safety.

"My speech started getting really fast... I became aggressive and thought that I could solve the world's problems by myself. I didn’t sleep, hardly ate or drank and had so much energy that I would pace around the room."

After an episode

After a hypomanic or manic episode, you might:

  • feel very unhappy or ashamed about how you behaved
  • have made commitments or taken on responsibilities that now feel unmanageable
  • have only a few clear memories of what happened while you were hypomanic or manic, or none at all
  • feel very tired and need a lot of sleep and rest
  • if you experience hypomania or mania as part of another mental health problem, such as bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder, you may find that the episode is followed by a period of depression.

If you drive and your hypomania or mania is a symptom of one of the conditions listed here, you may have to tell the DVLA. For more information on your right to drive, including when and how to contact the DVLA, see our legal pages on fitness to drive.

"Then comes the inevitable crash – waking up one morning after finally sleeping for about 12 hours for the first time in a week and realising I’ve spent all my money, applied to study courses and for jobs I’m not even qualified for, and fallen out with everyone who tried to calm me down."

Male smiling with green hoodie on, with a lake behind him

I didn't even know what sectioning meant

"I was [...] ecstatic about what I thought I had discovered, thinking that a lot of people were going to be coming to the house and needed to be fed."

This information was published in January 2020. We will revise it in 2023.

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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