What Is Hypomania?
Hypomania is a state of heightened or irritable mood and unusually increased energy or activity that is similar to but less intense than mania. A hypomanic episode is a distinct period of time in which these marked changes from a person’s baseline mood and energy are apparent.
A hypomanic episode is defined by the DSM-5 as lasting four or more days in a row, for most of the day, and involving several other symptoms in addition to changes in mood and activity. Among those symptoms are a spike in self-esteem or grandiosity, a lowered inclination to sleep, greater talkativeness, and increased engagement in potentially hazardous activities such as excessive spending or risky sexual behavior.
Is Hypomania Good or Bad?
For someone experiencing a stretch of hypomania, a burst of energy, rush of ideas, or interest in achieving goals may add up to a generally positive-feeling experience. There may be a blurry line between a functional period of hypomanic productivity and a more severe state that indicates professional care is warranted.
Hypomania can, however, involve negative aspects (including irritability) and may increase the possibility of harm resulting from risk-taking behavior. It can also coincide with depressive symptoms.
While not everyone who experiences hypomanic symptoms has a mood disorder, their presence is important to any broader consideration of a person’s mental health history. A hypomanic episode is key to the psychiatric definition of bipolar disorder type II, which also involves major depression, and is associated with a high risk for suicide.