What are the Key Differences Between Mania and Hypomania?

mania is a symptom of bipolar disorder

What are the Key Differences Between Mania and Hypomania?

When diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, you should be aware of some symptoms to get a handle on something that is so impactful on everyday life. There are two classifications of bipolar disorder that each present their individual circumstances: Bipolar I and Bipolar II.

Bipolar I and Mania

hypomania can lead to reckless behaviorOne of the key characteristics of Bipolar type I is mania. Classified by a variety of symptoms, manic episodes can cause a defined impairment in a person’s functionality and personal relationships. In extreme cases, a person experiencing mania will even require hospitalization to prevent the unfortunate instances of self-harm. Often these types of episodes have psychotic undertones and can lead to harm to others, relationships, etc. Mania symptoms include:

  • Abnormal, persistent bouts of elevated, irritable moods
  • Inflated ego or feelings of grandiosity
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Increased pressure to always be talking
  • Flighty behavior or thoughts
  • Racing thoughts
  • Frequent distractibility
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • More goal-directed activities
  • Overindulgence in pleasurable but risky activities that have a likely chance of ending in painful circumstance.

Bipolar II and Hypomania

Hypomania and mania have virtually identical symptoms. To classify as hypomania, the persons’ behavior must be unusual and noticeable by others. The main difference between mania and hypomania is that episodes of hypomania are not usually noticeable to others, and they do not often cause impairment or the need for hospitalization. Also, there are no psychotic characteristics. Symptoms of hypomania include:

  • A distinct phase of elevated or irritable moods
  • Feelings of grandiosity or an inflated ego
  • Less need for sleep
  • Distractibility
  • Increase in goal-oriented activities
  • An excess of involvement in pleasure related activities with the high chance of hurtful circumstances in the end
  • Flighty ideas or moods
  • More talkative

Mania vs. Hypomania

From what we have discussed so far, it is easy to see that the symptoms of mania and hypomania are the same. However, there is one marked difference between the two, and that difference is in the severity of symptoms. Mania is more dangerous as it lasts seven days at a time, and often causes harm to the person experiencing it, or to critical areas of their life. Hospitalization also comes into play at times with those experiencing mania. It can be imperative in preventing any unnecessary harm to the manic person or possibly to others.

Hypomania, sometimes referred to as light mania rarely requires hospitalization and only lasts for four days. It’s just a series of uncommon moods, causing harm to only themselves and their personal relationships. A good analogy to picture is that people with hypomania will binge shop and buy five articles of clothing while a person with mania will buy fifty or more.

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