To begin, what is hypomania? It is a state of mind short of full mania. A person with bipolar disorder is placed in danger in several ways when experiencing hypomania. Left without treatment, the afflicted person could move on into a more dangerous mood disorder. Also, the symptoms can result in someone in that state of mind taking actions which place themselves and even their relationships in danger.
Bipolar disorder is a cyclical mood disorder. For someone so afflicted hypomania is a dangerous part of the disorder to be in. Generally speaking it leads into the next mood disorder in a particular person’s cyclical pattern. For bipolar, type 1 most often this is period of mania. For bipolar, type 2 this is more likely to be a period of depression. For cyclothymiacs disorder a mild depression is the next likely state of mind. Whichever way it goes hypomania normally indicates that the next problem is close.
Let us take a look at the symptoms of hypomania. These are what a person with bipolar disorder faces when experiencing an episode. The symptoms include:
• feeling extremely joyful, happy, and excited
• increased energy, an inability to sit still and greater than normal activity
• talking more, faster than normal and frequently louder than normal
• an increased sexual drive
• recklessness combined with poor decision-making and
• Increased risk of problems with alcohol and drugs.
These symptoms combine to put a person with bipolar disorder at a high risk to themselves. Poor decision-making can lead to inappropriate sexual relationships. Financial contracts can be entered into which have no chance of being met. Excess use of drugs and/or alcohol can create severe problems for the afflicted person and their friends and loved ones. The actions of someone with bipolar disorder whilst in a hypomanic state can lead to the breakdown of valuable relationships with friends and loved ones. This leads onto the breakdown of important support networks.
There is a further problem for a person with bipolar disorder experiencing a hypomanic state of mind. Often the increased activity will make them feel great about themselves. They attack life with a new vigor. This creates, in their mind, a state of pleasure they do not want to end. As a result they refuse to seek treatment for the hypomania. Some will even go so far as to deny that a problem exists. To their mind life is wonderful.
So, exactly what are the dangers of the hypomanic state of mind to a person afflicted with bipolar disorder? One is that state is often a very good indicator that the next state of mind in the particular person’s cycle is very close. The next stage is often even more dangerous than hypomania.
A further danger is that the person will engage in reckless behavior which can lead to breakdowns in important relationships with friends and loved ones. Finally, the danger exists that the afflicted person will deny the existence of a problem or refuses to seek assistance for it. The irony of this is that the easiest opportunity to treat bipolar disorder is during a hypomanic episode.