Imagine the opposite of depression.  Imagine being so elated, so free, that you feel as if you could fly, and having so much energy that you don't need to sleep and can stay up for days at a time.  Now imagine feeling so creative and having such grandiose (great) ideas and plans that – during the time you have no need for sleep – you complete notebooks full of your racing thoughts on these ideas and plans.  If you can imagine these things, you may now have some understanding of bipolar mania.


Bipolar disorder has two sides to it, like a coin – flip one side and you have bipolar depression; flip the other side and you have bipolar mania – only it isn't as simple as just flipping a coin.


Depending on which type of bipolar disorder the person has will determine how often they will experience the manic side of the disorder.  For example, someone who has Bipolar Disorder I will have more mania than depression.

In bipolar mania, feelings of increased energy, creativity, and extreme happiness are common.  The person may talk extremely fast and sentences may come out in a rush.  They may act as if they are being run by a motor, sleep very little (sometimes going days without sleep), and experience increased productivity.  Some people might also feel as if they are "all-powerful," destined for greatness, or as if nothing can harm them.

However, even though bipolar mania may feel good in the beginning, it has a tendency to spiral out of control. People with bipolar disorder who are in a manic episode will often exhibit risk-taking behaviors such as: excessive spending; risky sexual behavior; gambling; impulsive decisions; bad business investments; gambling; and possible substance abuse. 

Many people think of a person in a manic episode as very happy and excited; however, there can also be a dark side to bipolar mania.  The person can also become angry, irritable, and aggressive.  For example, they might pick a fight with a friend, family member, or even a stranger for no reason at all, or lash out when other people don’t go along with their plans.  They may also blame anyone who criticizes their behavior. Some people have even become delusional or begun to hallucinate during this manic state.  If they become paranoid, violence may follow.

Hypomania is a less severe form of bipolar mania. People with bipolar disorder who are experiencing a hypomanic state still experience the euphoria, energy, increased productivity, etc. of a manic episode, but the difference is that they are able to carry on with their day-to-day lives and they never lose touch with reality.

When watching someone in a hypomanic state, it may seem as if they are merely in an unusually good mood. However, hypomania can still result in bad decisions that harm relationships, reputations, jobs, etc.  In addition, hypomania will often escalate to full-blown mania and many times, just like a regular manic episode, will end up in a bipolar depressive episode.