Bipolar Mania

Bipolar mania is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a "distinct period of unusual and persistent elevated, expansive or irritable mood that lasts at least one week, requires hospitalization, or results in psychosis."   Not all people diagnosed with bipolar disorder experience bipolar mania.  In fact, only people with Bipolar I experience full-blown mania–people with bipolar II experience a less intense, but still dangerous, form of mania called hypomania.  

Criteria for bipolar mania

Several elements must be present to diagnose a manic episode. First, there must be a distinct period during which there are marked changes in mood—abnormally elevated (on top of the world), expansive (flamboyant, filters off), or irritable—and goal-directed activity or energy level. Next, the uncharacteristic behavior or mood must last at least a week, or require hospitalization. Third, there must be at least three other symptoms (or four if the abnormal mood is irritability) from the following checklist:
  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Decreased need for sleep (for example, feeling rested after just a few hours’ sleep)
  • More talkative or sociable than usual, or pressure to keep talking
  • Flight of ideas or the feeling that thoughts are racing
  • Easily distracted by unimportant or irrelevant things
  • Increase in activity levels, either goal-directed (such as taking on new projects or socializing more) or a restless busyness
  • Plunging into reckless activities like buying sprees, promiscuity or high-risk business deals
Furthermore, symptoms must significantly affect the ability to manage at work or school, pursue usual social activities, or maintain relationships.  

Bipolar hypomanic episode

If manic symptoms last at least four days but less than a week, the episode is deemed hypomanic. Symptoms don’t interfere too much with work, relationships and usual pursuits—in fact, hypomania often brings a sense of feeling energized and able to accomplish more—but changes in sleep and behavior mark a distinct departure from the norm and are noticeable to others. Judgment may be shaky. Hypomania is often a border state leading into or out of mania, and sometimes alternates with depression. For some people, hypomania can induce irritability and agitation (dysphoria) rather than a productive high (euphoria).   Here is more information about the signs and symptoms of bipolar mania and bipolar hypomania:

Blogs and Articles

4 Great Hacks for Avoiding Hypomania & Overspending Around the Holidays

Lisa Acuña
December 4, 2018

Sticking to a budget and opting to spend cash only are simple ways you can control your spending while handling hypomania.     Hi everybody, my name is Lisa Acuña and I’m here today with bphope.com vlogs. Today, I’m going to be talking about hypomania and spending during the holiday season. My first suggestion is...

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Why Should You Manage Euphoric Mania if It Feels Good?

Julie A. Fast
November 29, 2018

While mania may feel wonderful after enduring depression, it’s important to remember that it is still a crucial part of bipolar to manage.   “Well, even in that deep misery I felt my energy revive, and I said to myself: in spite of everything I shall rise again, I will take up my pencil, which...

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What I’ve Learned from Being ‘Tricked’ by Bipolar Mania

Julie A. Fast
November 19, 2018

It’s important to recognize the signs of mania—even if it feels good—and to remember the mania cycle can fuel the depressive cycle. Being ‘tricked by mania’ is pretty timely, as it just happened to me. About a week ago I went into a severe depression. I know what the triggers were, I know why it...

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Presence of Mania Doesn’t Predict Response to Bipolar Depression

bp Magazine
November 15, 2018

A new study shows that a manic episode before bipolar depression does not impact the degree of change in depressive symptoms.   August 15, 2018, BERKELEY, CA—The presence of a manic episode before depression in people with bipolar disorder doesn’t significantly predict response to antidepressants, a new study suggests. American researchers, noting a previous study suggested...

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What to Do After a Manic or Hypomanic Episode: The Essential First Steps

Natasha Tracy
October 17, 2018

Manic or hypomanic episodes can be brutal for those with bipolar disorder, but learning what to do immediately after can help minimize the damage If you’re like me and you have bipolar disorder, then you will have experienced at least one manic or hypomanic episode. And what’s pretty clear for those of us who have...

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Bipolar & Restlessness: What Is PRE-Mania?

Julie A. Fast
October 11, 2018

Learning the subtle signs that mania is on the way, such as taking on too much, can help you manage this symptom before it starts taking over. Learning the very first signs of a bipolar mania mood swing is the only way I have found to stop big manic episodes. If I don’t catch my...

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The Dos and Don’ts of Mastering Your Hypomania ‘Dragon’

Lynda Williams
October 2, 2018

You can learn ways to “train” your hypomania dragon to avoid impulsive decisions that can have lasting impacts on your life.   Last month I discussed how bipolar depression affects my decision-making, specifically in terms of work. Now I’d like to address the impact of hypomania on my decisions and how these affect my relationships....

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How to Distinguish Bipolar Mania from Joy

Melody Moezzi
July 24, 2018

The scary line between healthy feelings of joy and terrifying symptoms of acute mania isn’t nearly as narrow as I once thought. Here’s how seeing my mood states as frogs helps me sort out my emotions, moods, and episodes. Bipolar Mood States = Amphibians? Hear Me Out… I love frogs. Have ever since I was...

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Casting the Glamour: The Enchantment of Euphoric Mania

Martin Baker
July 24, 2018

Euphoric mania can be exciting for those under its spell, but it can also be perilous if you don’t learn to navigate it safely. By Martin Baker   “Casting the glamour” is an old Scots term for a magic spell or enchantment. It is the perfect metaphor for the wild, captivating, almost otherworldly impact of...

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3 Simple Ways to Put Calm into Your Mania

bp Magazine
July 19, 2018

Redirect your energy toward these three everyday activities—and feel the difference. #1. Take deep breaths Stopping what you are doing and taking deep breaths can help you stay in control. A simple technique to try: close your eyes, sit up straight, and count to five as you take a deep breath in. Count to five...

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7 Strategies to Outsmart the Sun: Staying Clear of Summer Mania

Brittney Sibley
June 22, 2018

While you can’t change the seasonal shift to longer days, you can make subtle lifestyle changes, such as regulating sleep, to sidestep summer mania. The days are longer and the sun is shining the brightest in a while. For a person diagnosed with Bipolar I in 2006, the mere transition to long, luminous days and...

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missing hypomania and accepting stability

Missing Hypomania and Accepting Sacrifices for Stability

Lynda Williams
June 1, 2018

It may not be easy, but letting go of hypomania’s false promises and accepting the challenge of committing to treatment can help you manage your bipolar disorder. Sometimes I miss hypomania. If all my hypomanic episodes didn’t culminate in crushing depression, I’m pretty sure I would still be prancing around untreated, oblivious, and fundamentally convinced...

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Hypomania: Trying to Understand Bursts of Energy, Insomnia and Racing Thoughts

JB Burrage
May 22, 2018

While there may be aspects of hypomania that are more enjoyable than depression, it’s important to remember to keep impulsivity under control.   I think I’m recovering from a hypomanic episode. It lasted for about a week. It was extremely annoying. I was easily irritated. Everything everybody said or did was getting on every last...

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Bipolar Psychosis: Combatting Stigma and Common Misconceptions

Andrea Paquette
May 8, 2018

It’s important to have open and honest conversations about bipolar disorder psychosis to take on the stigma of a very misunderstood symptom. Psychosis consists of seeing, hearing, and believing things that are not real. This is the simplest way to define how someone in psychosis experiences the world, which can happen often for those living...

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Mania Again! Beware of Signs and Symptoms in Spring

Melvin G. McInnis, MD, FRCPsych
April 2, 2018

With spring’s increased sunlight, your reactivity and sensitivity to light changes and can take cheerfulness to the new extreme of mania. Monitor your moods carefully! Happy Spring! Everyone feels better in bright sunshine—especially after a long, gray winter. But among individuals with bipolar, the reactivity and sensitivity to light changes can take cheerfulness to the...

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World Bipolar Day: Honoring Van Gogh—Are Creativity and Bipolar Linked?

Carin Meyer
March 29, 2018

We are all familiar with the story of the “tortured artist,” but is there a unique creative force in the mood swings of bipolar? By the time I was 16 years old, I had convinced myself that I was a creative genius. I knew nothing yet of bipolar disorder, but the budding manias of my...

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Bipolar Mania, Hypomania and the Desire to Escape

Carin Meyer
March 13, 2018

Knowing the early signs of mania, such as a desire to escape, can help to avoid it spiraling into planning elaborate getaways.   The hallmark symptom of my coming mania is an overwhelming urge to escape. For me, the lure of mania has often brought with it the lure of escape. At the beginning, when...

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Setting the Rules for Your ‘Bipolar Calendar’ as the Seasons Change

Carin Meyer
February 23, 2018

Every year, the returning sunlight marks the coming of my most dangerous season, and so begins my preparation for another bipolar spring.   By Carin Meyer   I have my very own bipolar calendar. And it is nearly always the same. Every spring, like clockwork, the sun returns to southern Alaska with an unnecessary force,...

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Recognizing Mania: You Want Me To Take a Pill Because I Am Too Happy?

Julie A. Fast
February 8, 2018

It’s important to have a plan in place so you can recognize when you are too happy, too energized—and manic. Here I am, living my life. Living the dream. I have clients, friends, a safe place to live and people who care about me. I look forward to my future. I’m excited about my next...

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Self-Tracking: Moving Forward after a Bipolar Episode

Carin Meyer
January 5, 2018

Remorse after a bipolar mood episode can cause tremendous pain, but when everybody else says “don’t look back,” I say: “look.” I once read a book about tracking animals, and when I lived for several months on the edge of the enormous Chugach State Park in Alaska, I tracked a snowshoe hare in the alder...

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