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 causes hypomania and mania?
There isn't one single or clear-cut reason that someone may become hypomanic or manic. It seems to be a combination of long-term and short-term factors, which differ from person to person.
These are some possible causes of hypomania or mania:
- High levels of stress
- Changes in sleep patterns or lack of sleep
- Using recreational drugs or alcohol
- Seasonal changes – for example, some people are more likely to experience hypomania and mania in spring
- A significant change in your life, such as moving house or going through a divorce
- Childbirth – see our page on postpartum psychosis for more information
- Loss or bereavement
- Trauma and abuse
- Difficult life conditions – for example, problems with money, housing or loneliness
- As a side effect of medication
- As a symptom of a physical illness or neurological condition
- Family history – if you have a family member who experiences bipolar moods, you are more likely to experience mania or hypomania
Some of these are long-term factors that might make you more likely to experience hypomania or mania in general. Whereas others are more immediate factors that might trigger an episode.
A typical hypomanic episode for me will begin by a night of hardly any sleep, maybe two to three hours, then the next night I probably won't sleep at all.
Some medications can cause hypomania or mania as a side effect. This could either be while you are taking them or as a withdrawal symptom when you stop.
This includes medications for physical conditions and for mental health, including some antidepressants.
If you're concerned about the effects of any medication you're taking or have stopped taking, discuss this with your doctor.
I had 10 years living with dysmorphia and was eventually treated with antidepressants and became flirty, flighty, promiscuous, argumentative and aggressive. When I stopped the treatment, I no longer experienced these traits.
Some physical illnesses and neurological conditions can cause hypomania and mania. This includes lupus, encephalitis, dementia, brain injury, brain tumours and stroke.
To make sure you get the correct treatment, your doctor should always check whether there might be a physical cause for your hypomania or mania before you are diagnosed.
This information was published in March 2023. We will revise it in 2026.
References and bibliography available on request.
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