Hypomania and mania are periods of over-active and excited behaviour that have a significant impact on your day-to-day life.
- Hypomania is a milder version of mania that lasts for a short period (a few days)
- Mania is a more severe form that lasts for a longer period (a week or more)
They can be experienced as part of a mood disorder – such as bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, postpartum psychosis or schizoaffective disorder – or as a diagnosis on their own.
Some people find hypomania and mania enjoyable, whereas for other people it is a very uncomfortable, distressing and unpleasant experience.
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 lasts for a few days, and is less severe 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
||How you might behave
- happy, euphoric, with a sense of wellbeing
- lots of energy
- racing thoughts
- creative and full of ideas and plans
- like you can perform tasks better and more quickly than normal
- impatient, irritable or angry
- confident, with high self-esteem
- attractive, flirtatious and/or with more sexual desire
- restless, on edge and having difficulty relaxing
- heightened senses – colours may seem brighter, sounds louder and things more beautiful
- more active than usual
- taking risks
- very friendly
- very talkative or writing a lot
- sleeping very little
- signing up for and taking part in lots of activities
- taking on extra responsibilities
- wearing colourful and/or extravagant clothes
- making lots of jokes and puns
- finding it hard to stay still - moving around a lot or fidgeting
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 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
||How you might behave
- uncontrollably excited, like you can't get your words out fast enough
- racing and jumbled thoughts
- like you are special and understand things other people can't
- believing you are invincible or have special powers
- very easily distracted and unable to concentrate on anything
- loss of insight – not understanding that your behaviour is unusual or that it could cause problems
- delusions and paranoia – thoughts that other people don't understand or share
- seeing things, hearing voices or feeling things that other people don't (see our pages on psychosis for more information)
- talking a lot and very quickly – to the point that others may not be able to understand or interrupt
- jumping quickly between unrelated topics, or saying things that don't make sense to other people
- being rude, angry or aggressive
- doing or saying things that are inappropriate and out of character
- losing social inhibitions
- forgetting to look after yourself – forgetting to eat or drink, for example
- misusing drugs or alcohol
- taking serious risks with your safety
- spending money excessively and inappropriately
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 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.
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.
This information was published in August 2016. We will revise it in 2019.