BIPOLAR DISORDER MANIA 101: Do you know the difference between dysphoric and euphoric mania?

shopping cart mania 50

Julie’s cart during a manic shopping spree. She put ALL of it back when she realized she was manic. ARG!


MANIA 101: Here’s the basic info about bipolar disorder mania. 

Let’s start at the beginning.  There are two levels of mania: hypomania and full blown mania.

People with bipolar disorder II (two)  have hypomania only. People with bipolar disorder I (one)  have hyomania and the very dangerous and very life disrupting full blown mania. I have bipolar disorder two, but I’m one of the unfortunates- My type of hypomania is right on the verge of full blown mania. If I ever do move into full blown mania, I will then have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder one.  Fingers crossed that never happens!

Within these levels of hypomania and mania, there are two types of mania: Euphoric and Dysphoric mania. It’s simple to describe the difference between the two.


What are the signs and symptoms of euphoric mania?

Elips speech red 50uphoric mania feels better than the greatest sex a person can have. It feels like falling in love, getting a dream job, winning an Oscar, traveling the world and seeing flowers bloom.  You get the picture.  People with bipolar disorder get these euphoric feelings without any of the actual events. People tell me that cocaine has a similar feeling, but unless you have experienced euphoric mania, you will not understand how good it feels. It feels so good it gets people with bipolar disorder into a lot of trouble. I met my boyfriends and two husbands while manic- then they had to deal with my depression! Wonderful guys- they stuck with me- until I left! Often when manic. (In case this sounds stressful- I should let you know that this is NOT my pattern now. The Health Cards help me manage this manic behavior. 

When the euphoric mania strikes,  I’m more artistic, sing karaoke with no stage awkwardness, talk with anyone and I mean anyone, can pick up any guy and talk so fast it’s hard to stop myself, but I don’t really want to stop because it feels so darn good!

 What are the signs and symptoms of dysphoric mania?

 Now for the tough, tough, awful dysphoric hypomania and mania. It’s easy to describe this mania  as well- it’s often called a MIXED STATE because it’s a combination of the very high energy of hypomania and mania combined with agitated depression. There is no feeling of good will or peace or fun- it never feels good.  The body is restless, jumpy and the mind is always irritated, often aggressive and swirling like a blender full of ickiness! Once again, there is little way to describe it unless you have experienced it.

mania dysphoric

Dysphoric mania is often mean, accusatory, unreasonable and fickle. Nothing is every right with life when you are dysphoric manic. I had a big episode a few years ago where almost every moment of the day I thought- I have to leave Portland. I must get out. My life is terrible -people are terrible- moving is all I can do. Luckily, I once again had the Health Cards and they got me through it. Much of this episode was internal. I wrote about it in my Bp Magazine column.  Dysphoric mania has a high rate of road rage and suicide. Most of the people in jail who have bipolar disorder are there because of a full blown dysphoric manic episode. 





Both levels of mania and both types of mania have some very specific and shared symptoms. 

1. It’s extremely and I do mean extremely hard to see that you’re manic.

2. Pressured speech. That’s why I used the mouth graphic for this blog post!

3. Need a lot less sleep, but are never tired the next day. Please note, people who are manic do not sleep the next day after a night of not sleeping. They will tell you they do not want to sleep or need the sleep.  Not sleeping when manic is NOT insomnia. 

4. Increase in non thought through and unsafe behaviors- such as driving way too fast or sleeping with someone you don’t know- something you would not do normally.

Please note that mania is a really mood swing.  The manic behavior is not part of your life while stable. Once you learn how to recognize your symptoms by using the ideas in my books or a plan you find that works best for you, you can manage the mania. Without a plan? The mania will take over your life. 

There are many more symptoms of course, but those are the main ones the majority to people with bipolar disorder mania face.  

What about Psychosis? 

Where a person is euphoric or dysphoric, people in a full blown manic episode often have full blown psychosis. This is especially true with dysphoric full blown mania. Hypomania rarely has any psychosis.

My book Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder has an excellent description of mania- as well as a management plan. To be honest, I work well when I’m mildly to moderately depressed- but mania! Wow, like anxiety, mania is very tough to recognize and treat. This is why preventing euphoric and dysphoric hypomania and mania is the ONLY treatment path that works in my opinion. 

If you have mania, you need a daily management plan that looks for signs of mania and has a system in place for when it does show up.  I consider myself a rather good bipolar disorder manager- but my bipolar laughs at this. The picture of the shopping cart with all of the stuff hanging off it like an overloaded Christmas tree was a hypomanic episode. I got in line and realized, are you kidding me! I’m manic! And I put everything back. In the past, I would have spent the money on junk.

 Mania can be managed, but it has a nasty way of slipping back into your life when you least expect it! What is your plan? 



PS: Mania and Depression are two side of the bipolar disorder coin. One is not better or worse than the other- they are both BAD.  I’m sorry to burst your manic bubble. I wish we could somehow just have mild, euphoric mania that causes no danger and simply live there, but we can’t.  We just can’t.

Click here to read Letter from A Euphoric Manic Person from Bp Magazine. 

Click here to read Letter from a Dysphoric Manic Person from Bp Magazine. 


) Julie is currently working with Southern Methodist University on a research project that is testing her idea that we can recognize signs of mania in the eyes. Click here to read about the SMU Mania in the Eyes research project. You can submit pictures of your eyes and help the team change the world of bipolar disorder management.  Yes, mania means hypomania as well.)


5 comments to BIPOLAR DISORDER MANIA 101: Do you know the difference between dysphoric and euphoric mania?

  • Cathy Schaff

    This explains it all perfectly. Been there. I am so happy mine is very controllable with meds and a great support system of family, friends, and most of all God. This is very informative and explains it all very well. I have had dysphoric and euphoric mania before. I have had extreme clinical depression. I am also Bipolar II. I have a great doctor too that I have been with for 20 years.

    Keep on doing what you are doing because you are educating people about a debilitating illness that does not have to control lives. It is manageable in many cases.

  • Melody Gilmab

    Thank you Julie! I recognize both types of mania in my life. I think I may be in a dysphoric state right now. Everything and everyone is so awful right now. I’m ready to leave, run away but I have no direction or anywhere to go! Working on staying safe with psychiatrist now. So happy to meet you on Facebook. Sherry J. speaks highly of you.


  • Glen Riddick

    Thank you, this is the kind of thing I’m interested in. You have a lot of courage. Maybe I’ll get that book. I’ve had full blown, but no depression. Ever heard of that? Keep up your good work. Thank you again. 🙂

  • I know exactly what you mean. I am on a pretty even keel right now, but I know it can pop up anytime. Thanks for sharing on your blog. I’ve recently started blogging at about my experiences and hope it can help others as well as myself.

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