Ask The Expert
March 29, 2013
The word hypomanic is a confusing term. The prefix “hypo,” coming from Greek, means “under.” Hypomania is therefore “under” mania. But compared with normal mood, hypomania is actually higher.
Having less need for sleep is common in hypomania. Some people who are hypomanic sleep only a few hours a day. Nonetheless, they say they feel rested.
Many creative people are energetic. They are in the “flow” of their creativity. They may need less sleep than normal. That does not necessarily mean they have a diagnosis of hypomania.
In a hypomanic episode, a person may have inflated self-esteem or images of greatness. It’s common to be talkative, easy to distract or even agitated. Thoughts may race. Judgment can be impaired. A person may go on shopping sprees or make impulsive business decisions.
Mania has similar symptoms. But it is more intense or lasts longer. It can lead to hospitalization. Psychosis (for example, delusional ideas) may emerge.
You don’t have any of these symptoms? Maybe you are one of the lucky people who can burn creative energy without harmful consequences.
You do have symptoms? Does the sleeplessness cause you trouble? For example, do you get depressed? Or do your relationships or work suffer? Then you may want to seek evaluation and treatment.
These lifestyle changes can help:
Talk with your doctor or a mental health professional. Discuss if a mood-stabilizing drug would be an option for you.