Causes of Hypomania

Written by natasha l. kohlhoff polak
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Hypomania is when a person feels restless and on edge, often having extreme feelings of elation. Also known as a manic episode, this occurs during the overexcited stage of a mood disorder. The Greek physician Hippocrates defined depression as mania or melancholia (melancholy). Mania itself is the term used to describe having excessive elation and thoughts, depression is excessive disinterest, and manic depression is when a person suffers from abnormal and frequently elevated moods, or hypomania.

What Is Hypomania?

The average person is capable of controlling moods, and some range of variances is normal. A mood disorder is determined only when a person is unable to return to his normal mood, or his idea of normal is inappropriate. For this to be considered hypomania, activities must be disrupted due to the shifting temperaments, where the person appears hyper, feels productive and is positive about life for several days at a time, followed by a major depressive episode as is characteristic of bipolar affective disorder II. Bipolar I is more severe, where hypomania is replaced with mania and major depressive episodes. A major depressive episode or major depressive disorder is characterised by abnormal and frequently low moods.

It Starts With the Brain

Each area of the brain is responsible for specific functions. Brain chemistry changes over time. The brain functions best when it is exercised in different ways so its neurotransmitters can communicate with neurons and control brain activity. When this does not occur, the resulting imbalances can cause a mood disorder. There are several types of neurotransmitters. Norepinephrine is known as adrenalin for the brain. It is responsible for providing a person the drive to complete daily activities. Dopamine controls pleasure, while serotonin is balances moods, sleep cycles, appetite, and triggers a response to stressors. When a person suffers from hypomania, one or all of these neurotransmitters are at levels that are either too high or too low.

What Causes a Mood Disorder?

Genetics, stress, and the hormones testosterone and oestrogen are frequently the cause of the imbalances that lead to a mood disorder. Bipolar I affects both sexes equally, with the onset of bipolar disorder before the age of 30, and depressive disorder over 40. Hypomanic episodes can be triggered by physical or emotional trauma. Without a mood disorder, hypomania can occur as a result of illnesses, thyroid dysfunction, a cortisol imbalance, epilepsy, sleep apnoea, infections, cancers, tumours, anaemia or vitamin deficiencies.


Treatment for hypomania varies according to the severity of the problem. For a person who is not suicidal, violent or poses no threat to himself or others, psychiatric outpatient treatment is often prescribed. But if he is a threat to himself or others, a hospital stay is necessary. This also includes Psychoanalysis, exercise, and medication.

Lifestyle Adjustments

There are many ways to improve the quality of life to help minimise bouts of hypomania, mania and depression as part of a mood disorder.It is crucial for a person with hypomania to receive proper rest each day, maintaining an early-to-bed and early-to-rise regimen, so the body will be better able to regulate mood. Conversely, excessive sleep or sleep during the day will induce depressive episodes. Find ways to manage daily stress, either through relaxation techniques, exercise, or a combination of both. Limit or refrain alcoholic and caffeine intake, and avoid substance abuse.

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