Here are definitions from a paper I found that was meant for healthcare professionals to give to patients and family. The full article is over 100 pages and contains the data from a survey of many doctors regarding the efficacy of different treatments, but in my opinion the data (and maybe even these definitions) is dated. It is from 2000. The full article can be found here :
Mania (manic episode). Mania often begins with a pleasurable sense
of heightened energy, creativity, and social ease. However, these
feelings quickly progress to full-blown euphoria (extremely elevated
mood) or severe irritability. People with mania typically lack insight,
deny that anything is wrong, and angrily blame anyone who points
out a problem. In a manic episode, the following symptoms are
present for at least 1 week and make it very difficult for the person to
● Feeling unusually “high,” euphoric, or irritable
Plus at least 4 of the following symptoms:
● Needing little sleep yet having great amounts of energy
● Talking so fast that others cannot follow you
● Having racing thoughts
● Being so easily distracted that your attention shifts between
many topics in just a few minutes
● Having an inflated feeling of power, greatness, or importance
● Doing reckless things without concern about possible bad
consequences (e.g., spending too much money, inappropriate
sexual activity, or making foolish business investments)
In severe cases, the person may also experience psychotic symptoms
such as hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that are not there) or
delusions (firmly believing things that are not true).
Hypomania (hypomanic episode).
Hypomania is a milder form of
mania that has similar but less severe symptoms and causes less
impairment. During a hypomanic episode, the person may have an
elevated mood, feel better than usual, and be more productive. These
episodes often feel good and the quest for hypomania may even cause
some individuals with bipolar disorder to stop their medication.
However, hypomania can rarely be maintained indefinitely, and is
often followed by an escalation to mania or a crash to depression.
If you are a scientific type you might enjoy the whole article, but even if you're not, check out the section from pages about 97-105, they are worth a read. Probably stuff you've heard before, and again it is 10 years old, but I found it interesting. I also printed that section and gave it to my parents to read.
Hope it helps!