Hypomania and Mania are two mood states that are key symptoms in Bipolar Disorder and Schizoaffective Disorder.

Both mood states involve an individual experiencing periods of over-active and excitable behaviour. But while this may sound like a positive thing, mania and hypomania normally cause distress, with an individual normally engaging in harmful activity that can cause many problems.

The two mood states feature similar symptoms, so what exactly is the difference between them? In this article, we take a look.

Mania and Hypomania are closely associated with Bipolar Disorder

The Symptoms of Mania and Hypomania

Here are the key symptoms of mania and hypomania:

Symptoms of ManiaSymptoms of Hypomania
Excessively happy feeling, euphoriaHappy feeling
Uncontrollably excitedExciteable
Racing thoughtsRacing thoughts
Over confidenceHigher confidence than usual
Not needing much sleepNeeding less sleep than usual
Acting impulsivelyIncreased impulsiveness
Taking extreme risksTaking risks
Feelings of grandiosity
More promiscious
Signs of psychosis

As summarised by the above, the symptoms are very similar. However, the key difference you may notice is in the severity of the symptoms.

Whereas someone in a hypomanic state may feel euphoric or excitable, someone in a manic state will normally feel excessively happy, or uncontrollably excited.

Similarly, a person in a manic state may feel very over-confident. Whereas someone who is hypomanic may have more confidence than usual, but not uncontrollably over-confident.

Essentially, mania is a more severe form of hypomania. It is important to note that both are challenging to live with.

This is summarised in the literal definition of the term ‘hypo’. This means ‘under’, which suggests hypomania isn’t quite as severe as mania.

Impact on life

As discussed, both mania and hypomania are challenging to live with. They both disrupt an individual’s life significantly.

Someone that is manic may go on a spending spree, engage in risky behaviour, or even have symptoms of psychosis. There is typically impairment in most parts of life.

Hypomania is also capable of causing chaos in a person’s life, but is less severe. Moreover, it doesn’t have such a strong impact on day-to-day functioning.

Someone in a manic state typically cannot function properly and will lose all inhibition, while this is rare in hypomania. Severe mania will often require an individual to be hospitalised – this shouldn’t be the case in hypomania.

Moreover, hypomania lasts for a shorter period than mania in general. Hypomania may last for a few days, while mania typically lasts longer, sometimes up to weeks or months.

A similarity with these two mood states is the common feeling of guilt after the conclusion of an episode. An individual will commonly feel ashamed or guilty afterwards, and may have little recollection of what happened during the episode. They will also typically be in desperate need of sleep.

Are Mania and Hypomania treated in the same way?

One of the similarities between mania and hypomania is that they are treated in the same way. Therefore, while it is helpful to know which mood state an individual suffers from, it isn’t essential.

Typically, treatment will involve a mood stabilising medication and if a doctor believes it would help – some form of talking therapy.

The medicine of choice is often Lithium Carbonate. However, alternatives are available to Lithium if an individual doesn’t respond well.

These medicines can be taken on a long-term basis. This is especially important if someone has had episodes of mania. Sometimes, hypomania doesn’t need medication. Every individual has different circumstances.

What conditions are Mania and Hypomania associated with?

Mania and hypomania are best-associated with Bipolar Disorder and Schizoaffective Disorder.

Mania is seen in Bipolar I Disorder, whilst hypomania is seen in Bipolar II Disorder and Cyclothymia.


Overall, mania and hypomania showcase many similarities. It can often be difficult to distinguish between the two states. However, the key difference is the level of severity involved.

Mania typically involves much more severe symptoms, whereas hypomania can prove more manageable. In any case, both can cause distress, and therefore accessing treatment is very important.

See Also


This website should be used purely for informational purposes, and does not intend to, nor should it ever, be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.

We strive to keep all of our pages updated, and ensure that our website is full of factual and in-depth information. However, we encourage you to browse this website with care.

As a reminder, this website and all content within it cannot and should not replace the advice of a trained medical professional. You can read our full disclaimer at this link.


If you are struggling with your mental health, help is available. With the right support and treatment, you can make a recovery. For information on helplines, or if you are in a state of crisis, please visit our crisis page by clicking on the relevant link for your geographical location (United Kingdom), (United States), (International). You can also see how to get mental health treatment and the process involved by clicking this link.