What to Know About Bipolar Euthymic Moods

The moments in between manic and depressive episodes

Euthymic mood can be defined as a state of well-being and tranquility. It is a term that is generally used when talking about bipolar disorder, previously known as manic-depressive illness.

This is because bipolar disorder is a mental health condition where people shift between episodes of major depression and mania or hypomania. Euthymia describes the phases between, without either of these extremes.

family euthymic mood

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What Does Euthymic Mean?

Euthymic is a mood or feeling of being optimistic and in control, where a person is doing well, tranquil, functioning. It is often associated with the phases of bipolar disorder between manic and depressive episodes.

Euthymic Mood in Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder involves both extremes of emotional highs and lows that reach levels of depression and mania.

A euthymic mood is that time between major depressive, manic, or hypomanic episodes. It does not necessarily mean that there are no symptoms of depression or mania at all, but that if symptoms are present, they are minor and below the threshold of being considered a diagnosable mood.

Mania vs. Hypomania

Mania and hypomania both involve high energy, activity, and a boosted mood, but mania is more extreme. Also, mania tends to last longer.

What It Is

Euthymic mood is the phase between bipolar episodes. Mood is a subjective emotional state. Affect describes how a person’s mood is shown through nonverbal behavior.

Mood vs. Affect

Mood is what a person feels, and affect is how that mood is shown in nonverbal communication.

What It Isn’t

Euthymia does not mean a person is cured. A common misconception is that a euthymic mood among people with bipolar disorder means they no longer have the condition. This is not true.

Although there are treatments for bipolar disorder, and euthymic phases can last years, it is a lifelong condition that needs to be monitored for possible bipolar episodes.

Recognizing Periods of Euthymia

Psychologists, psychiatrists, and other medical professionals who treat bipolar disorders are great resources for determining phases of euthymia. It can also be helpful for people with bipolar disorder to keep a journal of thoughts, feelings, and symptoms to reflect on regularly.

Since euthymia is the phase of bipolar disorder without major depression, mania, or hypomania, it can be identified by the absence of bipolar episode symptoms—for example, the lack of bipolar symptoms such as too little or too much sleep, fatigue or excessive energy, or a mood that is either depressed or abnormally upbeat.

What You Can Do

Staying on medications, even during phases of euthymic mood, is important to prevent bipolar episodes. It can also be helpful to keep track of mood fluctuations and triggers during all phases of the illness to determine patterns that could aid in symptom management.

Additionally, coping strategies such as physical activity can help prevent bipolar episodes and make euthymia last longer.

Mood Changes From Co-Occurring Conditions

People with bipolar disorder often suffer from anxiety disorders as well, which may make it more difficult to treat bipolar disorder.

Alcohol and drug overuse are also common among people with bipolar disorder, and alcohol and drugs can trigger bipolar episodes.

Other conditions that may occur with bipolar disorder include attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), eating disorders, and physical health problems.

Anxiety

Nearly half of people with bipolar disorder are diagnosed with anxiety disorder as well.

While anxiety is a feeling that anyone can experience, an anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that involves excessive and persistent fear, worry, or excessive apprehension, such as general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobias.

These conditions may complicate treatment for bipolar disorder.

Anhedonia

Anhedonia is something that can happen in depression. It is when a person is unable to feel pleasure. Anhedonia is experienced by more than half of people with bipolar disorder when they are in a depressive episode.

Medical Understanding

Even though someone who has bipolar disorder is euthymic, they may still struggle with anxiety, apprehension, or intense fear of the next bipolar episode. This means that a euthymic mood cannot be the end goal for people with bipolar disorder, but that their overall well-being must be considered as well.

Well-Being Therapy for Bipolar Patients

Even though bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, there is hope. Experts are continually working on bipolar management. Treatment doesn’t stop if a patient is in a euthymic state. 

There are many things that can be done to help manage bipolar disorder in addition to medication. These options include:

  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Following a routine
  • Remaining consistent with medications and medical appointments
  • Journaling and tracking mood and symptoms
  • Managing stress
  • Not using alcohol or drugs
  • Leaning on social networks and professionals for support

Techniques such as well-being therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy have also been found effective in managing bipolar disorder.

Summary

Among people with bipolar disorder, euthymia is an episode of doing well between episodes of major depression, mania, or hypomania. The details of these phases depend on the person. They could be frequent or rare, and could be short or last years. Even during times of euthymic mood, it is important to keep up with bipolar disorder treatment plans.

A Word From Verywell

A euthymic mood may bring a mix of emotions for those who experience the extremes of mania and depression, as there may be fear of the next bipolar episode.

If you are in a euthymic mood between bipolar episodes, you may be interested in talking with someone about what you are experiencing. Support is available. Reach out to your mental health professional.

You may also feel you no longer need support because you are doing well. It is still important to receive care to prepare for or prevent future bipolar episodes. If you think you may have bipolar disorder but have not yet been diagnosed, it is important to seek care, even in times of euthymia.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does the euthymic state last?

    How long the euthymic state lasts depends on the person, the severity of their disorder, and how well they respond to treatment. These phases may be short, or they could last years. The average length is 18 months.

  • What triggers the end of euthymia for bipolar patients?

    Since euthymia is the phase between the mania and depression episodes of bipolar disorder, the things that trigger the end are the things that trigger mania or depression. Stress is one of the biggest triggers. Other causes include traumatic events and drug or alcohol abuse.

  • Does being in a euphoric mood mean you’re euthymic?

    Euphoria is an increased feeling of well-being and happiness. A slightly euphoric mood could be part of a euthymic phase between bipolar episodes. However, a higher level of euphoria, especially if it is not aligned with reality, would be part of a manic or hypomanic episode.

  • Should people with bipolar disorder still take their medicine during euthymic episodes?

    It is recommended that most people with bipolar disorder continue taking medications, even when euthymic. This is because stopping the treatment is likely to lead to manic or depressive episodes. Stopping these medications can be very dangerous, especially when the process is not guided by a qualified medical professional.

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15 Sources
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