Hypomania vs. Hypermania

Specialties Psychiatric

Updated:   Published

Can someone please help me understand the difference between the 2? I have an exam this week on bipolar disorder and I just can't grasp the difference between hypermania and hypomania. I know hypermania is basically mania and hypomania is a slower state. But hypomania is obviously more manic that a regular person without bipolar disorder right?

My instructor stated the difference by saying that when a person is hypermanicthey are going 100 miles an hour, while a hypomanic person will be going 80 miles an hour. If thats true.. then what is a normal person going at?.... 50? Or what?

Specializes in home health, neuro, palliative care.

Have you read the DSM-IV guidelines for both conditions?

Clinical Symptoms of a Hypomanic Episode: http://counsellingresource.com/distress/mood-disorders/hypomanic-symptoms.html

Criteria for Manic Episode: http://counsellingresource.com/distress/mood-disorders/manic-symptoms.html

Hypomania exhibits many of the same symptoms such as grandiosity, pressured speech, flight of ideas, and hypersexuality, but the symptoms are not marked enough to impair functioning at work or socially, nor are there delusions or other psychotic symptoms.


Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

my copy of mosby's medical, nursing, & allied health dictionary, 6th edition, page 855, defines hypomania as "a mild degree of mania characterized by optimism; excitability; energetic, productive behavior; marked hyperactivity and talkativeness; heightened sexual interest; quick anger and irritability; and a decreased need for sleep. it may be observed before a full-blown manic episode."

hypermania is not a listing in this dictionary. however, under a listing for the suffix of -mania on page 1049 it states "a state of psychosis" and uses the word hypermania as an example for the use of the suffix. i would extrapolate from that information that hypermania would be a full blown case of psychotic mania.

a search on emedicine only yielded results for hypomania and not hypermania. this is what the docs had to say about it:

from "mood disorder: bipolar disorder" on emedicine website, (http://www.emedicine.com/ped/topic240.htm)

"hypomania is somewhat similar to mania, but it is less severe and less debilitating than true mania. as such, hypomania is defined as an elevated mood during which (1) no hospitalization has ever been necessary, and (2) no state of delusional or other psychotic thinking ever coincided with the elevated mood. hypomanic and manic states must cause impairment of normal functioning to be considered pathologic states."

from "bipolar affective disorder" on emedicine website, (http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic229.htm)

"hypomania may be thought of as a less severe form of mania that does not include psychotic symptoms or lead to major impairment of social or occupational function."

from that, again, i would have to assume the hypermania is a psychotic state of extreme excitability.

here is a listing of the mazmanian mania-depression mood scale that lists the symptoms under each category as you procede through each level from the highest level of mania to the lowest level of depression.


So basically you can have hypomania without being bipolar? And you can consider hypomania just to be kind of hyperactivity with some elation mixed in there as well? If I'm in a really hyper and happy giddy mood... am I being hypomanic?

Also hypomanics dont require meds do they? If they only have hypomania and never progress to the hypermania?

Hypermania really isn't a commonly used term anymore. The main distinction to draw is between hypomania and mania.

With hypomania (which can sometimes occur without the cycles of depression that make up bipolar disorder), the patient has an elated mood, may be hypersexual or have lowered inhibitions in regard to things like spending money. Hypomania doesn't cross the line into psychosis.

Now, mania is a different story. If you've ever seen someone who has gone really wacky after not renewing their lithium for a while, it can be really impressive. Mania can involve symptoms of psychosis - visual and auditory hallucinations, delusions, some really out-of-control behavior.

My neurologist told me I was Hypomanic because at 7:30pm, most people are starting to wind down for the night and I was still very talkative, exitable, and, as he described manic. This was an answer to a question I had asked him that maybe I really wasn't manic anymore. I thought I was acting pretty normal.

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