What treatments can help?
How can I access treatment?
The first place to go is normally your family doctor. They should ask about your symptoms and discuss different treatment options. If you’ve been monitoring your moods, for example using a mood diary, it might help to show this information to your doctor. To make sure you get the right treatment, your doctor should check if your hypomania or mania has a physical cause or is a side effect of medication.
There are a range of treatments recommended for hypomania and mania, with information on these treatments available below:
You’re unlikely to be offered a talking therapy if you are currently experiencing a manic or hypomanic episode, but you might be offered one if you experience hypomania or mania as part of broader mental health problems, for example if you have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. See our pages on talking therapy and counselling for more information.
If you are experiencing mania or hypomania, you will normally be offered one of these antipsychotics:
- olanzapine (Zyprexa)
- quetiapine (Seroquel)
- risperidone (Risperdal).
If you experience mania or hypomania, as part of a mood disorder, you may also be offered mood stabilisers. These include:
- lithium (Camcolit, Liskonum, Priadel)
- valproate (Depakote)
- carbamazepine (Tegretol).
Warning to anyone who is pregnant, or could become pregnant, while using valproate
If you take valproate while you are pregnant it can increase the risk of your child being born with birth defects and learning disabilities.
The regulators of this medicine now say that valproate should not be taken by people who are able to become pregnant, unless there is a pregnancy prevention programme in place.
Your doctor or healthcare team should review any other medication you’re taking when you develop hypomania or mania. If you’re taking lithium, they should check your plasma levels.
“Lithium helps [me cope] and I just have to keep reminding myself that whichever feeling I’m going through won’t last forever.”
Medication really helps some people but isn’t right for others. Before deciding to take any drug, it’s important to make sure you have all the facts you need to make an informed choice.
See our pages on things to consider before taking medication and your right to refuse medication for more information. Our pages on coming off medication give guidance on how to come off medication safely.
If you experience hypomania or mania regularly, and it has a significant impact on your ability to carry out daily activities, you may be referred for community-based support.
This could include:
- mental health clinicians, such as psychiatrist, psychologist and/or mental health nurse
- social support, such as support from a social worker or help with practical day-to- day tasks.
Some people experiencing difficulties with hypomania or mania may be entitled to a needs assessment by social services and to social care.
“I now have a care co-ordinator and have been stable for a few months.”
If you start to feel very unwell, or if an episode of mania is lasting for a long time and your regular treatment isn’t working, you may need to access crisis services . This may include:
- emergency support, such as going to A&E
- getting support from a crisis service
- hospital admission
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
Very rarely, a treatment called electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be offered. According to NICE guidelines, this could be if:
- you’re experiencing a long period of mania, and
- other treatments have not worked, or the situation is life-threatening
If you feel like you’re in this situation, your doctor should discuss this option with you in a clear and accessible way before you make any decisions.