Understanding Euthymic Mood: A Comprehensive Guide

Apr 25, 20244 min
Euthymic Mood - Therapy Club

The word, ‘Euthymic’ comes from the Greek language. In Greek, ‘eu’ means well, and ‘thymos’ means soul or emotion. Combine the two, and you get the words ‘euthymia’ or ‘euthymic’, which would mean emotional well-being.  

What is euthymic mood? 

Euthymic mood refers to a state of psychological well-being, which comes with feeling calm, content, and optimally optimistic. In other words, it’s a neutral state of being one may experience when life feels okay. When one is not agitated or upset by something, one may feel calm, content, and optimally optimistic. So, one can say that euthymic mood implies the absence of emotional distress. However, it’s important to understand that euthymic mood doesn’t always mean feeling good or happy. It simply means that you feel in control of your day or life, and can comfortably do what you need to do.  

While in Greek philosophy and humanistic schools of thought, the concept of euthymia or euthymic mood is associated with psychological well-being, in clinical psychology and psychiatry, euthymia also has another connotation. 

Euthymia in Bipolar Disorder 

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder prevalent in 0.5 to 5% of the population worldwide.  It is characterised by fluctuations between ‘high’ and ‘low’ mood states. Highs or high states are periods where the individual feels hyperenergetic and excited. They may exhibit high activity, extreme optimism or joy which seems out of proportion, impulsive spending or lack of sleep. The technical term for this high state is mania. Lows or low states are associated with sad or low mood and energy. These are depressive episodes or states where the individual may exhibit feelings of hopelessness, lack of pleasure in activities, sleeping too much or too little, or eating too much or too little.  

But, in between the two, exists a state where the individual may be calm. They are neither excessively energetic nor lacking in energy. This state is called ‘euthymia’ and is something that clinicians look out for when working with individuals who have bipolar disorder. You can read more about bipolar disorder here. One way to understand euthymia in bipolar disorder is to think of mood states along a spectrum. On the one end of this spectrum is mania or a high or elevated mood state. On the other end is depression or a low state. Somewhere in the middle of this spectrum is euthymia. This middle state can last anywhere between a few weeks to a few years. This makes it a bit challenging to diagnose bipolar disorder in a timely manner.

Having said that, euthymia in bipolar disorder can feel a bit different. It’s quite common for the euthymic mood to be accompanied by anxiety or a lack of interest in pleasurable activities. Simply put, if someone is feeling neither too excited nor too low, but is feeling anxious, it’s something to take note of. 

Euthymia in bipolar disorder can be of two types. These are as follow :-

  1. Euthymia with congruent affect: This means that the emotions the individual experiences or displays are appropriate to the situation. For example, at a birthday celebration, they may express happiness or joy, smiling and laughing along with loved ones. 
  2. Euthymia with reactive affect: This means that the individual has an appropriate emotional response to the events of their life, and that their response changes as situations change. For example, when out with a loved one, one may feel happy. But as the evening comes to an end and they are parting ways, one may feel a bit sad about having to say goodbye. This is an appropriate response to the situation. . 
Euthymia in Bipolar Disorder can Be Of Two Types - Therapyclub

A few questions that may arise with regard to euthymia in bipolar disorder are: What happens to the treatment? Does being in a euthymic mood mean one can at least temporarily stop medication and other treatment modalities? 

This  may not be recommended. Absence of symptoms does not mean absence of illness. Bipolar disorder requires lifetime management. However, with the right interventions and support, one can learn to cope with it effectively. 

The following is important even during phases of euthymia in bipolar disorder: 

  • Continuing medication, unless otherwise advised by your healthcare provider 
  • Continued psychotherapy
  • Maintaining a mood journal
  • Lifestyle management, which includes a nutritious diet, healthy sleep, and regular movement or exercise

Additionally, you can use this period to gain a deeper understanding of your triggers as well as support systems. A euthymic mood allows us the space to think with more clarity. It’s as if the fog of a manic state or depressive state lifts for a while. It’s a good opportunity to prepare oneself for future episodes. It’s also a good opportunity to take stock of stressful events or situations that are likely to trigger an episode and implement preventive strategies. Finally, a euthymic mood - where you’re feeling positive - is a good opportunity to connect with your loved ones, make some fond memories, and strengthen your relationships. A solid social support system acts like a protective cushion through life’s highs and lows. So, fill your cup every chance you get. 

References: 

Bipolar Disorder: Types, Diagnosis, Treatment. (n.d.). Therapyclub.mavehealth.com. Retrieved February 15, 2024, from https://therapyclub.mavehealth.com/blogs/bipolar-disorder-treatment 

Euthymia in Bipolar Disorder: Exploring the Mood — Talkspace. (n.d.). Mental Health Conditions. https://www.talkspace.com/mental-health/conditions/articles/euthymia-in-bipolar-disorder/#:~:text=Euthymic%20periods%20are%20sometimes%20brief‌ 

Euthymic Mood in Bipolar Disorder: How It Really Feels. (n.d.). Verywell Health. Retrieved February 15, 2024, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/euthymic-mood-in-bipolar-disorder-5208599#toc-recognizing-periods-of-euthymia 

Fava, G. A., & Bech, P. (2015). The Concept of Euthymia. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 85(1), 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1159/000441244 

Author's Profile picture
Prachi Gangwani
Therapist | Yoga Teacher | Author of Dear Men: Masculinity and Modern Love in #MeToo India