A manic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs with three or more of the other symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for 1 week or longer. If the mood is irritable, four additional symptoms must be present.
A mild to moderate level of mania is called hypomania. Hypomania may feel good to the person who experiences it and may even be associated with good functioning and enhanced productivity. Thus even when family and friends learn to recognize the mood swings as possible bipolar disorder, the person may deny that anything is wrong. Without proper treatment, however, hypomania can become severe mania in some people or can switch into depression.
Descriptions offered by people with bipolar disorder give valuable insights into the various mood states associated with the illness:
Hypomania: At first when I'm high, it's tremendous… ideas are fast… like shooting stars you follow until brighter ones appear…. All shyness disappears, the right words and gestures are suddenly there… uninteresting people, things become intensely interesting. Sensuality is pervasive, the desire to seduce and be seduced is irresistible. Your marrow is infused with unbelievable feelings of ease, power, well-being, omnipotence, euphoria… you can do anything… but, somewhere this changes.
Mania: The fast ideas become too fast and there are far too many… overwhelming confusion replaces clarity… you stop keeping up with it—memory goes. Infectious humor ceases to amuse. Your friends become frightened…. everything is now against the grain… you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and trapped.
This is taken from an article from the website of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). NIMH said "NIMH publications are in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without the permission from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). NIMH encourages you to reproduce them and use them in your efforts to improve public health. Citation of the National Institute of Mental Health as a source is appreciated."
Read more here .
Another helpful website listed Some ways on How to cope with Hypomania:
1. Get enough sleep. Patients experiencing a hypomanic episode often feel a decreased need for sleep. This is an important warning sign of the condition and stabilization is key. Try your best to return your sleep patterns to normal. If you are unable to sleep, contact a doctor or mental health specialist.
Actually, for me personally, my depression episodes have been more severe, prominent and paralysing, and I have been learning intensively how to manage it besides medication and looking to God . So I was able to write and share what I am learning along the way and what are my coping strategies thus far.
As for manic, whenever I am well, I am a little hypomanic but I don't really get very manic. I am still learning to identify when I am hypomanic and what are the things I do when I am hypomanic. So I don't really have much to share yet and that is why I have not written about it on my blog.
My hypomania is partly controlled by medication. I am taking an anti-psychotic (Seroquel 25mg) every evening which helps to slow me down and sleep through the night.
My psychiatrist is training me to identify my hypomanic phase. Keeping a Mood Chart is one of the way to track and see how my mood fluctuates and what may have caused it. I try to chart down my mood for each day, whether it is depression, normal or hypomanic. This way, I can kind of identify the triggering factors and try to work on resolving it from getting worst or do what can be helpful to get better.
Recently, I have been learning to identify that one of my hypomanic behaviour is I tend to write long emails to many people, or make many gifts or buy many gifts for many people when I am hypomanic. I tend also to take on many projects and have many ideas on what to do. These often lead to over-exhaustion, burn out and eventually depression. So now I am learning to cut down on these whenever I notice it. That's if I notice it :) I am learning to let go and set my priority on choosing what I need to do now and what can wait. Thank God also for some friends around me who constantly remind me to slow down when they sense that I am doing more than I ought to do.
Do you know of any other strategies that is helpful in managing mania or hypomania? Do feel free to share with me and my readers.