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Suzanne, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 919
Experience:  LCSW, RN. Mental Health, Relationship & Parenting issues.EMDR, Hypnosis.
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What are the signs of a bipolar hypomanic state please? I

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What are the signs of a bipolar hypomanic state please? I ask as one psychiatrist believes he has seen me in this state but another says I wasn't hypomanic. I am very confused and just want them to decide what is wrong with me. Thanks. Sue

I have been advised that this question may take a lot of time and research to answer and that I should offer a bonus ... in light of this I am happy to accept each answer as it comes through, thus paying for each question/answer in turn.

The reason that you can have two psychiatrists disagreeing on this matter is that whether one is considered hypomanic or not is somewhat subjective (in the eye of the beholder). An excellent summary on the signs of a hypomanic episode was found on

Hypomanic episodes have the same symptoms as manic episodes with two important differences: (1) the mood usually isn't severe enough to cause problems with the person working or socializing with others (e.g., they don't have to take time off work during the episode), or to require hospitalization; and (2) there are never any psychotic features present in a hypomanic episode.

A hypomanic episode is characterized by a distinct period of persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting throughout at least 4 days and present for most of the day nearly every day. This hypomanic mood is clearly different from the person's usual mood.

During the period of mood disturbance, 3 or more of the following symptoms have persisted (4 if the mood is only irritable) and have been present to a significant degree:

  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep)
  • More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
  • Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
  • Distractibility (e.g., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli)
  • Increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation
  • Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., the person engages in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)

A hypomanic episode is associated with a change in functioning that is uncharacteristic of the person. For example, the individual may be far more productive or outgoing and socialable than they usually are. This change in functioning and in mood is not subtle -- the change is directly noticeable by others (usually friends or family members) during a hypomanic episode.

A hypomanic episode is also not severe enough to cause serious impairment in social or occupational functioning, or to necessitate hospitalization, and there are no psychotic features. The observable symptoms of a hypomanic episode must not be due to substance use or abuse (e.g., alcohol, drugs, medications) or caused by a general medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism or diabetes).

People who experience a hypomanic episode are often diagnosed with a type of bipolar disorder called Bipolar II.

I hope I was able to furnish enough information that you will be able to use in this one answer, but if you have additional questions, I'll be happy to answer them.

Suzanne and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for that reply.

The latest psychiatrist saw me earlier this year when my head was buzzing. I was getting by on 2-3 hours sleep and had bucket loads of energy. I was fixated on cleaning ... scrubbing the kitchen floor some 2 or 3 times in each day, washing down walls, windows, woodwork. During this time (and each time I have felt like this) I sorted out and threw away stuff that I no longer deemed that we need and then I went and spent what I needed to replace a lot of it. During this time my mood was what I would class as high and I felt extremely happy, although somewhat agitated. However, it is this psychiatrist that feels she has not seen me in a hypomanic state.

I have been diagnosed with multiple personality disorders and she said this week that she feels I have a mood disorder, along with recurrent depression.

I know the diagnosis cannot be made without looking at the bigger picture but I just feel so frustrated.

The same doctor took me off antidepressants when I saw her earlier in the year because my head was buzzing at that stage. My CPN said that she probably did that to prevent me going into a hypomanic state. If she thought that was where I was heading then surely she must believe that I have bipolar?

I am now at the stage where I just want to know what is wrong with me!


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
As the psychiatrist said she believes I have a mood disorder, can I ask if bipolar is classed as a mood disorder or, if not, what does mood disorder mean?

Bipolar is classified as a mood disorder.

The fact that she took you off the antidepressant does indicate she most likely believes you are bipolar, as antidepressants can trigger hypomania.

If you'd like to work on gaining at least some mastery over your moods, you might like to get and read The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bipolar Disorder: Using DBT to Regain Control of Your Emotions and Your Life It will teach you how to track your moods, techniques for staying grounded, etc.

It might help you to take a look at some of the online resources for people with bipolar--perhaps reading about the experiences of others will give you the information you need to feel secure about whether you have this or not--and to keep your moods in control, regardless. Here are some online sites to try:

bipolar support groups

Links to several online support groups

Suzanne and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you