Many people are familiar with the main types of bipolar disorder – bipolar I disorder and bipolar II disorder.  However, not as many people are familiar with the other types of bipolar disorder: hypomania and cyclothymia.

 

If you have three or more of the following symptoms listed below most of the day -- nearly every day -- for one week or longer, you may be having bipolar mania:

·         Excessive happiness (elation), hopefulness, and excitement

·         Sudden changes from being joyful to being irritable, angry, and hostile

·         Restlessness, increased energy, and less need for sleep

·         Rapid talk, talkativeness, interrupting other people's sentences

·         Distractibility

·         Racing thoughts

·         Increased sex drive

·         Tendency to make grand and unattainable plans

·         Tendency to show poor judgment, such as deciding to quit a job

·         Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity -- unrealistic beliefs in ability, intelligence, and powers; may be delusional

·         Increased reckless behaviors (such as excessive spending, risky sexual behavior, substance abuse, and/or ill-advised business decisions)

Hypomania is simply a less intense (severe) form of mania.  The person may seem to be in a better mood than usual, but not exhibit the extreme elation found in a manic episode.  They may experience a greater sense of well-being and feel as if they are more productive.

One of the problems for the person experiencing hypomania, however, is that it can fool them.  Hypomania can turn into full-blown mania, or can also lapse into a bipolar depressive episode.

 

Cyclothymia is another type of bipolar disorder and, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) by the American Psychiatric Association, a diagnosis of cyclothymia is based on the following:

1. Individual has had many periods of both hypomania and depression, for a period of at least two years.

2. Individual has experienced no periods of normal mood lasting longer than two months.

3. Individual has experienced no major depression, manic or mixed episode during the first two years of symptoms

4. Symptoms are not attributable to either Schizophrenia or Psychotic Disorder

5. Symptoms are not due to effects of medication, illicit drugs or medical condition.

6. Individual experiences significant distress or impairment in daily living.