Manic Episode vs. Hypomanic Episode

A balanced mood is defined as an euthymic mood, and if this internal state starts to lean towards one side of the spectrum it will be described as hypomania or mania. However, by looking at the course, it will become easier to figure out whether it is characterized as an episode or a disorder. To recognize a manic episode the duration of the state of the mood as to last for at least 1 week, in which it is present either most of the day or nearly every day. In order to recognize a hypomanic episode it has to last for a sequence of at least 4 days, and also present either most of the day or every day. (Martins, 2021). 

Characteristics related to mania include impulsivity, a need for constantly doing something, lack of sleep, grandiosity and the course is usually episodic. Further the individual might also experience an absence of a need for sleep, excessive working, exaggerated self-esteem or in some cases even illusions. Other criteria according to the DSM-5 are that the individual is more talkative than usual and easily distracted. During this episode in which the mood is disturbed and energy or activity levels are increased, there has to be three or more of the  symptoms stated that have to be recognized. The symptoms have to be present to a significant degree and a noticeable behavioral change has to be present. In some cases psychotic features can also be noticed in relation to a main episode. However, an individual might experience some of the symptoms as a result of drug abuse or a medical condition, in this case, it would not be considered a manic episode. As they could be triggered from the substance or condition, rather than associated with dysfunction or impairment of an emotion or mood. (Martins, 2021). 

Even though a hypomanic episode will include the same criteria as a manic episode, it is not considered the same. First of all, psychotic features will not be expected in a hypomanic episode. Secondly, a hypomanic episode is a milder form of episode than a manic episode. It is not considered severe enough to cause impairment in social or functioning aspects, and there is no need for hospitalization. (Martins, 2021). 

To be able to distinguish between the two, it is recommended to look at these features: 


Martins, S. (2021). Psychopathology: Psychopathology of Emotions. [Slide 14-19]. UEM.blackboard. Retrieved from:

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