Mania and Hypomania

Unlike traditional psychiatry, which rarely looks at the brain, Amen Clinics uses brain imaging technology to identify brain patterns of conditions associated with mania and hypomania.

What is Mania and Hypomania?

Mania and hypomania are symptoms that are often seen in people with bipolar disorder (also known as bipolar spectrum disorders, or BSD) and sometimes in people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders. However, you don’t have to have these mental health conditions to experience mania or hypomania. Mania and hypomania are often misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, psychosis, or even ADD/ADHD. Making the distinction between someone who has manic or hypomanic episodes and someone with these other mental health conditions is critical because following the wrong treatment plan can make symptoms much worse. This is why it is so important to look at the brain with SPECT imaging to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Difference Between Them

With both mania and hypomania, friends and family members may notice the changes in your mood and behavior, but you may be unaware of them. Here are some details.

Mania is a mood disturbance in which you feel unusually energized, excited, euphoric, and able to accomplish anything. Manic episodes may last a week or more. During a manic episode, you may impulsively start several projects at once and stay up all hours of the night to work on them. However, you may not complete any of them. These behaviors can interfere with everyday life and in some cases, may be so severe that a person requires hospitalization.

Hypomania episodes are similar, but they are less intense than those of mania. Episodes may last only a few days, and you may simply feel like you have a surge of good energy. It’s likely that you’re able to meet your daily demands.

What are the Core Symptoms?

Symptoms range from high energy and excessive appetite to hallucinations and paranoia. (See below for a list of symptoms related to mania and hypomania.)

What Causes Mania and Hypomania?

Many things can contribute to mania or hypomania, including high stress levels, lack of sleep, physical illnesses such as hypothyroidism, drug intoxication, significant life changes, trauma, medication side effects, or losing a loved one. They are often seen in people with bipolar disorder and sometimes in those with schizoaffective disorders.

Left untreated, mania—and hypomania—can have a negative impact on your life.

  • Difficulty Maintaining Relationships
  • Problems with job performance
  • School issues
  • Risky behavior
  • Substance abuse
  • Reckless sexual activity

Why Choose Amen Clinics for Treating Mania and Hypomania?

At Amen Clinics, we use leading-edge brain imaging technology called SPECT that measures blood flow and activity in the brain. Brain scans can help distinguish between mania and hypomania, bipolar disorder, ADD/ADHD, schizophrenia, psychosis, and other conditions. SPECT brain scans also show that many people with mania or hypomania have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that has never been properly diagnosed and treated. For these people, healing the underlying TBI can be very helpful in overcoming their symptoms.

Manic Brains Work Differently

Those who are in a state of mania can experience changes in their mood and personality. Their normal activities including sleep can be significantly impacted. With hypomania the symptoms can be so severe that they disrupt the ability to function normally.

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Symptoms of Mania and Hypomania

Mania and hypomania are characterized by a heightened sense of physical and mental energy. After a manic episode, it’s common for people to feel ashamed about their behavior. You may have taken on new responsibilities that are unmanageable when you aren’t filled with abnormal energy levels. Many people feel extremely fatigued following a manic episode and require a lot of sleep. Symptoms may include the following.

  • Abnormally elevated mood: You’re likely to be brimming with optimism and a can-do attitude that borders on euphoria.
  • Inflated self-esteem: Many people with mania say that when they’re in a manic episode, they feel like they’re invincible, filled with confidence, and may even think that they possess special powers.
  • High energy levels: One of the most common symptoms of mania is an abnormal surge of energy.
  • Decreased need for sleep: If you or a loved one are staying up until 4 a.m. and then wide awake and ready to go again at 7 a.m. or staying up all night, it’s a sign of mania. The connection between lack of sleep and mania goes both ways with each exacerbating the other.
  • Increase in goal-oriented activity: It’s common during a manic episode for a person to get involved in extreme multitasking.
  • Grandiose notions, ideas, or plans: People tend to come up with out-of-the-box big ideas while in a manic episode.
  • Increased talking or pressured speech: When someone begins talking more rapidly and louder than usual, it can be an indicator of mania.
  • Racing thoughts: Many people with mania say it feels like their thoughts are racing out of control.
  • Hypersexuality: During a manic episode, a person may engage in risky sexual behavior, including prostitution or getting intimate with someone they just met online.
  • Hyperreligiosity: A sudden and heightened interest in religion or devotion to spirituality can be a sign of a problem.
  • Excessive appetite: Some people with mania begin voraciously eating much larger quantities of food than usual.
  • Inappropriate or risky behavior: Doing or saying things that are out of character in a social setting or abusing drugs or alcohol are often seen in people with mania.
  • Irritability or aggression: Unreasonable irritability is commonly seen in many people during manic episodes.

 

“With A Better Brain Comes A Better Life”

– Daniel G. Amen, M.D.

 

Serious Symptoms of Mania

During a manic episode, a person may experience more serious consequences, such as a break from reality or symptoms often seen in psychosis or schizophrenia, including:

  • Hallucinations: Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there
  • Delusional thoughts: Believing something that isn’t real
  • Paranoia: Delusions of persecution or suspicions and mistrust of people and/or their actions

If a spouse, family member, or loved one exhibits these serious symptoms, contact their psychiatrist or physician immediately.

These symptoms are not present in hypomania.

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