Health26 Nov 2009 04:29 pm
Hypomania is a mood state characterized by a persistent and pervasive euphoric or irritable mood, which is manifested by thoughts and behaviors consistent with this state. Unlike mania, which involves psychotic symptoms and seriously impacts the everyday lives of the sufferer, hypomanics are usually fully functioning.
According to the DSM-IV-TR, a hypomanic episode is characterized by either marked euphoric or irritated mood lasting at least four days, plus three of the following symptoms (elevated mood) or four of the following symptoms (irritable mood):
pressured speech; rapid talking;
inflated self-esteem or grandiosity;
decreased need for sleep;
flight of ideas or the subjective experience that thoughts are racing;
easy distractibility and attention-deficit (superficially similar to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder);
increase in psychomotor agitation; and
involvement in pleasurable activities that may have a high potential for negative psycho-social or physical consequences (e.g., the person engages in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments).
Hypomania is a defining feature of bipolar II disorder and cyclothymia, but can also occur in schizoaffective disorder. However, many people who experience hypomanic episodes credit it with helping them achieve success and boosting their creativity. In support of these assertions, some research even suggests that hypomania may have evolutionary advantages. People with hypomania are generally well-liked and perceived as charismatic, energetic and creative. People experiencing hypomania are typically considered the “life of the party” and have little social inhibition.
The Hypomanic Edge, written by John Gartner, goes so far as to claim that a number of historical figures had hypomania, including Christopher Columbus, Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Carnegie, Howard Zinn and Louis B. Mayer. He argues that their exceptional drive and creativity could largely be attributed to hypomania, which imbued them with an almost preternatural energy and focus. The irrepressible musician Iggy Pop was diagnosed with hypomania in the mid-1970s (which helps explain his almost superhuman energy).
Because hypomanic episodes lack the severity and disabling qualities of mania, the condition is often difficult to diagnose. However, a hypomanic state can rarely be maintained indefinitely, and may signal the beginning of a more severe manic or depressive episode. Thus, hypomania is usually only diagnosed when the condition escalates into a manic state, or slides into a depressive one.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.