Coping with a Hypomanic Episode

Coping with a Hypomanic Episode

The irony of a hypomanic episode is that, when somebody experiences one, the last thing she usually wants is for it to end. These episodes are a feature of bipolar II disorder, which causes the following issues:

  • Elevated self esteem or vanity
  • Distractibility
  • Anger or irritability
  • An uncharacteristically upbeat mood
  • Talkativeness
  • Impulse control problems related to spending, sex or other risky activities
  • Little need for sleep
  • Driven behavior and accomplishments

Hypomania, which literally means “below mania,” is a temporary phase that happens either directly before or after full-blown mania. Many people describe this condition as similar to a drug-induced high that they wish would never end, but these conditions tend only to last for a few days. Because self-awareness diminishes with this disorder, it is critical that people learn to recognize their symptoms as soon as they unfold.

Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

Bipolar disorder causes people to swing between severe depression and mania. During manic episodes, people can become unbearable, self-destructive and irrational. During depressive episodes they can become emotionally numb, hopeless and suicidal. However, during hypomania people may have excessive energy and drive. Some of them will engage in risky sexual behavior, which can later cause deep embarrassment or illness.

Many people with bipolar disorder use drugs to self-medicate their symptoms. This act only serves to add pain, frustration and despair. Unfortunately, cravings for drugs or alcohol can be unbearable, because they occur in the same part of the brain that manages impulse control and mood management. During a hypomanic episode, someone may be more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol just to feel high, but she may use drugs to cope with a depressive episode. Of course, substance abuse only makes life more painful while worsening symptoms.

Effectively Coping with Hypomania

If someone with bipolar II disorder learns to recognize the symptoms of mood swings, then she can take the following actions to prevent painful consequences:

  • Entrust a close friend or loved one to manage financial affairs
  • Remain accountable to a buddy to prevent reckless behavior
  • Journal emotions and experiences during episodes to take preemptive action in the future
  • Avoid major life decisions during these episodes

Counseling techniques, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, can help hypomanic individuals become more mindful and actively engaged with their emotions instead. This is better than being driven by emotions, the hallmark of this disorder.

Mental Health and Addiction Help

If you want to find a rehab program that treats co-occurring bipolar disorder and addiction, or if you simply have some questions about hypomanic symptoms and treatment, then call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day with free, confidential advice, so call now for immediate support.