Hypomanic Episode Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Hypomania in bipolar disorder is a state of mind and mood where a person may have excessive energy, little need for sleep, unusual exhilaration, irritability, excitement or aggression, and a variety of other symptoms.
For a person to considered hypomanic, there must be a sustained elevated, expansive or irritable mood during the entire episode. This could be the same sort of extra-happy mood that anyone might feel during a wonderful vacation, or the grouchy mood of a person working at a job that he hates, for example. However, in hypomania the mood is more than likely unconnected to anything going on in the person's life.
Hypomania is generally a mild to moderate level of mania, characterized by optimism, pressure of speech and activity, and decreased need for sleep. Generally, hypomania does not inhibit functioning like mania. Many people with hypomania are actually in fact more productive than usual, while manic individuals have difficulty completing tasks due to a shortened attention span. Some people have increased creativity while others demonstrate poor judgment and irritability. Many people experience signature hypersexuality. These persons generally have increased energy and tend to become more active than usual. They do not, however, have delusions or hallucinations. Hypomania can be difficult to diagnose because it may masquerade as mere happiness, though it carries the same risks as mania.
Hypomania may feel good to the person who experiences it. Thus, even when family and friends learn to recognize the mood swings, the individual often will deny that anything is wrong. Also, the individual may not be able to recall the events that took place while they were experiencing hypomania.
If unaccompanied by depressive counterpart episodes or otherwise general irritability, this behavior is typically called hyperthymia, or happiness, which is, of course, perfectly normal. Indeed, the most elementary definition of bipolar disorder is an often "violent" or "jarring" state of essentially uncontrollable oscillation between hyperthymia and dysthymia. If left untreated, an episode of hypomania can last anywhere from a few days to several years. Most commonly, symptoms continue for a few weeks to a few months.
What are the symptoms of Hypomania?
- Effected people tend to overestimate their capabilities.
- They feel inflated self-esteem or grandiosity.
- Increased alcohol consumption.
- They fail to see the obvious risks involved in their ventures
- Making lots of plans.
- Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities.
- Increased interest in uncharacteristic sexual flirting.
- They wish of doing several things at once.
- Decreased need for sleep.
- More sensitive than usual.
- They feel like taking too many responsibilities.
- Increase in goal-directed activity
Treatment for hypomania
The same medications as for mania. These include mood stabilizers such as lithium, Tegretol, Depakote, Topamax, Lamictil and Neurontin. Some people respond to high doses of omega 3 fish oils.
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