Someone with bipolar disorder has episodes of depression and highs (feeling ‘hyper’ or ‘wired’).
During the ‘highs’ they might feel like things are speeding up, having thousands of thoughts and ideas, and they may feel invincible or behave recklessly.
Bipolar symptoms during a manic phase may include:
- feeling incredibly ‘high’ or euphoric
- delusions of self-importance
- high levels of creativity, energy and activity
- getting much less sleep or no sleep
- poor appetite and weight loss
- racing thoughts, racing speech, talking over people
- highly irritable, impatient or aggressive
- inappropriate sexual activity or risk taking
- dressing more colourfully and being less inhibited
- impulsiveness and making poor choices in spending or business
- grand and unrealistic plans
- poor concentration, easily distracted
- delusions, hallucinations.
What is a manic episode?
A manic episode is a period of abnormally and persistently high mood or irritable mood.
During a manic episode a person may have a huge amount of activity and energy. It lasts more than one week and is present nearly all the time. Sometimes, a person experiencing mania can have psychotic symptoms like delusions or hallucinations. Individuals that experience psychotic symptoms are more likely to need hospitalisation.
What is a hypomanic episode?
Hypomania means ‘less than mania’.
A hypomanic episode has the same symptoms as a manic episode but is less severe.
It’s still a distinct period (at least four consecutive days) of abnormally and persistently elevated or irritated mood and increased energy and activity.
However, the mood isn’t so severe that it causes problems with functioning at work or socially. Individuals experiencing hypomania do not require hospitalisation.
A hypomanic mood is still very different from the person’s normal mood, and it’s often friends and family who notice these changes.
The main difference between mania and hypomania is that mania:
- has delusions and hallucinations (psychosis)
- is generally more prolonged
- has marked impairment of functioning.