Basically, like manic but not quite. Yeah... Hypomanic is the psychology term for an episode that is an elevated mood of euphoria or irritability. It is basically a manic episode that does not cause significant impairment and does not have any psychotic syptoms such as delusions or hallucinations. Kind of like a manic episode, only not as severe. DSM-IV says it must last at least 4 days for it to be considered a hypomanic episode, however it seems in common usage the term is used to describe any period, no matter how brief, of elevated or irritable mood that may be part of a mood disorder.

DSM Criteria

A) A distinct period of persistently elevated, expansive or irritable mood, lasting throughout at least 4 days, that is clearly different from the usual nondepressed mood.

B) During the period of mood disturbance, three (or more) of the following symptoms have persisted (four if the mood is only irritable) and have been present to a significant degree:

1) inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
2) decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep)
3) more talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
4) flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
5) distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli)
6) increase in goal-directed activity (at work, at school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation
7) excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)

C) The episode is associated with an unequivocal change in functioning that is uncharacteristic of the person when not symptomatic.

D) The disturbance in mood and the change in functioning are observable by others.

E) The mood disturbance not severe enough to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning, or to necessitate hospitalization, and there are no psychotic features.

F) The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication or other treatment) or a general medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism)

Note: Hypomanic-like episodes that are clearly caused by somatic antidepressant treatment (e.g., medication, electroconvulsive therapy, light therapy) should not count toward a diagnosis of Bipolar II disorder.

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