Hypomania is typically a description for the “high” end of a bipolar mood spectrum. Hypomania is considered to be less severe than full-blown mania and is unlikely to cause major issues in a patient’s work or personal life. It is also possible to experience hypomania as a result of a reaction to certain types of medication. What are the hypomania treatment options?
A patient experiencing a hypomanic episode will not show psychotic symptoms and will not therefore require hospitalization, but they may still need some kind of treatment in order to stabilize their mood and reduce the distress caused by the condition. Treatments for hypomania are normally the same as those used to treat the more serious mania and there are different treatment options available for hypomanic episodes, although you may need to try several before finding one that best suits you and your lifestyle.
What are the hypomania treatment options?
Many bipolar patients with hypomania episodes benefit greatly from talking therapy and having the opportunity to discuss their individual experiences in a non-judgemental atmosphere can help the patient learn new coping mechanisms to reduce or prevent future occurrences of hypomania.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a good example of talking therapy and the principle aim of CBT is to help the patient explore ways of coping with their moods and identity underlying factors that might be triggering episodes of hypomania. Cognitive behaviour therapy is often a short-term treatment for less severe episodes of hypomania, but it can also be useful when used in conjunction with other hypomania treatment options.
Group vs Individual Therapy
Group or individual psychotherapy is more about exploring past experiences and helping patients make sense of what has happened to them previously in the hope that a deeper self awareness will allow them to make positive changes in the present. It is not a quick-fix treatment for hypomania episodes, but if treated as a long-term exercise, it can reap a number of positive benefits for patients suffering from repeated episodes of hypomania and mania.
Talking therapies are normally combined with medication, particularly if there is a risk that hypomania episodes might develop into mania. Anti psychotic drugs including Risperdal and Seroquel are often used to treat hypomania, along with mood stabilizing drugs such as Priadel, a lithium based medication. Some patients also respond well to high doses of omega-3 fish oils.
Hypomania self help techniques
Aside from talking therapies and medications, there are plenty of self-help techniques you can utilize to help reduce or eliminate your hypomania episodes. Keeping a mood diary is one way of learning to recognize when you are heading towards a hypomanic period, which might give you future clues as to when you are more at risk from sliding into hypomania or depression.
Bipolar support groups are a good way of meeting other people going through similar experiences and this kind of support can be very useful for friends and relatives of those suffering from bipolar. Finding support online is another option and many of the main mental health organizations offer an online forum for sufferers to meet and exchange support and useful information about their experiences.