Coping With a Hypomanic or Manic Episode

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Hypomania and mania are conditions that cause sudden and extreme changes in a person’s mood. They could also be symptoms of other conditions, most commonly, bipolar disorder. It’s important to note the distinction between hypomania and mania. While sudden and severe mood swings characterize both, hypomania is less severe than mania. 

Hypomania typically lasts for at least four days. Its symptoms can disrupt daily functioning in some instances, though this disruption is typically mild. On the other hand, to be classified as mania, symptoms should last at least one week and be severe. Mania symptoms almost always disrupt daily functioning.

In some cases, you might even have to be hospitalized if you have mania. This is rarely ever the case with hypomania.  This article looks into tips that can help you cope during a hypomanic or manic episode.

Symptoms of Hypomania and Mania 

It’s essential to know and recognize the symptoms of hypomania and mania to figure out the best ways to cope with them.

Symptoms of both conditions are very similar, with the only distinction being that symptoms of hypomania are less severe. The most identifiable symptoms of both conditions are: 

  • Having unusually high energy levels 
  • Experiencing insomnia or feeling like you need less sleep than usual 
  • Having a sudden surge in your libido 
  • Engaging in behaviors that might be considered risky 
  • Having little or no inhibitions 
  • Being in a constant state of irritability 
  • Being easily distracted 
  • Becoming suddenly talkative 

Causes of Hypomania and Mania 

Hypomania and mania are prevalent symptoms of bipolar disorder. However, you can experience symptoms of these conditions even if you don’t have bipolar disorder.

Being extremely sleep deprived or using certain medications could bring on symptoms of hypomania and mania. Alcohol and drug abuse have also been identified as culprits. 

How to Cope With a Hypomanic or Manic Episode 

Experiencing a hypomanic or manic episode can be a scary and daunting experience. This is especially true if it has never happened before and you have no history of any conditions that could cause an episode.

Here are some tips that can help you cope with an episode:

  • Stick to your treatment: If your mania or hypomania episodes are caused by bipolar disorder, it’s important to stick strictly to your treatment plan. This helps you avoid the occurrence of more manic episodes, and even if they occur, they’ll be less severe. 
  • Monitor your symptoms: Some symptoms of mania and hypomania might seem like you are excited or experiencing an elevated mood. This could make other symptoms go unnoticed. The best way to monitor your symptoms is to keep a diary to track your moods and mood changes. Note how you feel and what made you feel that way daily. With time you’ll be able to identify patterns and triggers for hypomanic and manic episodes and might even be able to tell when an episode is about to come on. 
  • Avoid triggers: Abusing alcohol and drugs, not getting enough sleep, and not taking your prescribed medication could trigger episodes. If you already know that you are prone to hypomanic and manic episodes, you should avoid these habits. 
  • Ask for help: Don’t hesitate to ask your family and loved ones for help with monitoring and managing your symptoms. In some cases, the people around you are more likely to notice changes in your mood before you do. Letting the people around you know what to look for will help them recognize when you need help. 
  • Pick up healthy habits: Exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and eating a balanced diet, are great habits to pick up if you have hypomanic or manic episodes. This could reduce the frequency and severity of your episodes. 

What to Do After a Hypomanic or Manic Episode 

Recovering from a hypomanic or manic episode can feel like you are coming down from a ‘high.’ Your mood might feel lower than usual, and you could feel out of sorts. Here are some tips to get you back on track after an episode: 

  • See your doctor: If you had a hypomanic episode, you might not necessarily have to see your doctor. But with a manic episode, you should. Discuss the events that led up to the episode and the symptoms you experienced during the episode with your doctor. They might recommend specific lifestyle changes or tweak your prescription if you are already on medication. 
  • Get back on your routine: A hypomanic or manic episode might temporarily disrupt your daily routine. It’s essential to get back on your daily routine after an episode. Go to bed and wake up at the same time, eat healthily, and work out regularly. 
  • Don’t stop your medication: Experiencing an episode while on medication might make you think your medication isn’t working correctly. However, it’s crucial to stay on your prescription to avoid frequent or more severe episodes from occurring. If you feel like your medication isn’t working, you should speak to your doctor, who might adjust your prescription.

How to Help a Person During a Manic or Hypomanic Episode

Watching a friend or loved one go through a manic episode can be difficult. They will often behave in unfamiliar ways and display uncharacteristic moods. While you can’t pull them out of an episode, you can help them cope better with it. If someone around you is experiencing an episode, here are some things you could do to help: 

  • Help with sleep: A hypomanic or manic person needs to get enough sleep when having an episode. People in manic or hypomanic episodes might feel like they don’t need to sleep as much. Encourage them to get some shut-eye as often as possible. 
  • Be considerate: People in an episode might say hurtful or strange things to you during the episode. Remember that it’s the mania causing it, and they don’t mean what they say. If you become combative with a person having an episode, it could worsen their symptoms. But, in the event, that the person happens to become verbally or physically abusive, remove yourself immediately.
  • Keep the person well-fed: During an episode, a person might often forget to eat or not even sit still for long enough to eat a proper meal, especially when they are in a very elevated mood. You can keep healthy snacks and easy-to-eat foods readily available for these phases. 
  • Get them help: In some instances, a person might need professional assistance during an episode, especially during a manic episode. Contact a healthcare professional if you think they are in danger of hurting themselves or other people during an episode. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with bipolar disorder, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

How to Prevent a Hypomanic or Manic Episode 

Preventing a hypomanic or manic episode can be difficult, especially with bipolar disorder. However, there are some things you can do to reduce the frequency and severity of a hypomanic or manic episode:

  • Stick to your medication as prescribed 
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or using any illegal drugs 
  • Get enough sleep every night 
  • Stick to a regular exercise routine 
  • Create an action plan so your loved ones can know how to help you when they notice the early signs of an episode coming on. 

A Word From Verywell

Living through manic and hypomanic episodes can be challenging. With the right coping tips, you can manage your condition better. Maintaining a healthy routine and avoiding triggers for your condition are key to helping you better. You can also adopt healthy habits like avoiding drug and alcohol use to help you reduce the frequency and severity of hypomanic and manic episodes. And, if you need additional support, don't hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional.

2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Cleveland Clinic. Hypomania: what is it, comparison vs mania, symptoms & treatment. September 16, 2021.

  2. University of Michigan Health. Bipolar disorder: Preventing manic episodes. September 23, 2020.

By Toketemu Ohwovoriole
Toketemu has been multimedia storyteller for the last four years. Her expertise focuses primarily on mental wellness and women’s health topics.