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Medical Is hypomania really a bad thing?

  1. Sep 18, 2007 #1
    I'm trying to figure out why hypomania is considered a negative behavior

    If no one is being adversely affected who does it ultimately hurt?

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 22, 2007 #2


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    In and of itself, no, it's not really a bad thing...and can be very difficult to distinguish from simply being a happy person. The negative thing about it is that it is a component of bipolar disorder, and can progress into a full manic state, or cycle into depression. So, the primary reason to be concerned about it is because of its association with the more complex mood swings in bipolar disorder.
  4. Sep 26, 2007 #3
    Good conclusion
  5. Sep 26, 2007 #4
    No, hypomania stands out as being outside the person's control and there's a definite extreme quality to it. What prevents it from being mania is merely degree: a hypomanic won't get themselves into the kind of serious trouble that a manic person will, but they call attention to themselves with behavior that hovers on the edge of being unacceptable under the circumstances. A "happy person", on the other hand, is generally easy going and non-offensive - very pleasant company. A hypomanic person will always have you on edge about what they might say or do next. They are erratic and they can flip, for example, from being highly humorous and entertaining to being irritated and hostile very quickly. The grandiose component of the elevated mood gives them an illusion of superiority that results in manipulative behavior, and the frequent impulse to shock and surprise people. The net effect of being around a hypomanic person for very long is fatigue or distress.
  6. Sep 26, 2007 #5
    That is a magnificient answer.

    Now how do you convince a cyclothymic person the next step is not going to be as "fun as the last" without a full transition into manic?
  7. Sep 27, 2007 #6
    I don't know what you mean, exactly. You are dealing with a hypomanic person who you think is becoming manic?
  8. Sep 27, 2007 #7
  9. Sep 27, 2007 #8
    In general, (not knowing specifics) I'd say the best course of argument is to remind and assure them that manic people have to pay back all credit card bills they rack up when manic, they have to deal with any sexually transmitted diseases they catch or with the people they might spread them to, they have to deal, in the real world, with any pregnancies that result, and, they have to deal with any arrests and legal prosecution that might result from their manic actions. In other words, a general reminder that all the normal, everyday rules and laws are absolutely still going to apply to them regardless of them feeling above these rules and that they're absolutely still going to have to deal with the consequences despite any deluded notion they can get around them.
  10. Sep 27, 2007 #9
    Thanks for the insight
  11. Oct 17, 2007 #10
    Zoobyshoe has probably the best description of hypomania I've seen. So I'm guessing he's hypomanic as usually you'd have to have a personal experience with it to know it that well. Unless he is just very well read.

    I was diagnosed bipolar I, which is the strongest grade of bipolar, 8 years ago. Prior to that I had taken Prozac for one year, two years before my "breakdown." And at one time many years earlier I had one panic attack which I was Rx'd Xanax for, for a short term duration.

    My cousin, who is on the French side of the family, killed himself, and it is reported that he had bipolar also. He suffered a divorce by his wife, and was a baseball pitcher but didn't make it off the farm team to the major league team, I guess would be his disappointments in life which triggered his suicide.

    But stress triggered the breakdown for me which I experienced as full blown mania for one week, followed by months of strong depression. It was so bad when I crashed into the depression (what goes up must come down, and in equal strength - except with hypomania in some cases which I will illustrate later,) that I could not drive myself to the psychiatrist to find out what was wrong and to get an Rx. My wife had to drive me. I believe that was a strong grade mixed state - half manic, half depressed. I had experienced auditory hallucinations upon waking up in the morning of leprechauns or fairies. Which were so realistic I was afraid of statues of these types of things for a few months afterwards. The pychiatrist told me it is normal to have auditory hallucinations upon waking up (before being fully awake,) but I have read that hallucinations can accompany full blown mania. In fact I think there might have been others that I just didn't know until later - like the phone ringing 3 times and the number 3 appearing in time/date stamps and what not. The time/date stamps might have been real, but the phone ringing 3 times then stopping, was probably an auditory hallucination while I was awake.

    To make a long story short - I got better. Which is not the usual course for BP I don't believe. Where I just experienced BP mainly as a low level depression. Only a few upward swings into hypomania now and then - triggered by something. And then less and less of those swings to just being more of a unipolar depressed and lightly depressed. So much so I did go one year without any anti depressant. While I had quit my mood stabilizer Depakote a few years before as I wasn't going into mania so I didn't need it. (I quit the anti depressant as I had to cut out my HMO bill of $450 per month for myself and my wife, being self employed.)

    I have been on another anti depressant for over a year, Wellbutrin XL. The interesting thing about this medication is it puts me into *permanent hypomania,* but a pretty light hypomania. I tried Lithium, and I have a bottle in case I go too high, but it makes me sleepy. So I am back to just taking the one pill of Wellbutrin XL per day. And back to feeling like I am younger again.

    Which is how you feel with any amount of mania - younger. It is as if the Wellbutrin is a fountain of youth for me. I have lost 20 lbs in one year without changing diet or excercise, and as a result I am dieting and excercising now and losing more. I can run again as I am lighter and feel younger. Wellbutrin boosts Dopamine and Norapenephrine, while the Celexa I took a few years before boosts Serotonin. So perhaps aging has in part to do with Dopamine and/or Norapenephrine. Obviously I'm still aging. But it makes me wonder if old folks should all be taking Wellbutrin, not to live forever which is impossible, but to delay the overall atrophy of aging, as the brain controls everything if I'm not mistaken and saying it I'm sure as an oversimplification.

    My predicament is I agree with much of what Zoobyshoe says. But that I feel more alive being hypo. The main problem I have is with the increased sex drive. And I have experienced, working as a substitute teacher (and coincidentally half way through a math teaching credential - I came to the site googling hypomania forum,) a double edged sword. I have more energy and creativity and humor while only on the Wellbutrin. But I probably have pushed the envelope a few times in appropriateness as well. For example, I was subbing an English class a few weeks ago, and I made the poor judgement to be humorous regarding a vocabulary word in the list of words from a reading, hoe, explaining it to the students (freshman I think, possibly sophomores in high school,) as the other type of hoe, the type you garden with. They didn't laugh so they probably were too surprised to laugh. Or maybe some of them have not been exposed to the slang word hoe. At any rate, that is a joke that would be fine in a comedy club with an adult audience, but not in a high school setting with minors.

    However - the point I wanted to make after the lengthy introduction - is that I believe I *can* control the cons if I give it an honest effort. While Zoobyshoe states that hypomanics are still out of control. What I plan to do is consciously remember to relax each day, possibly even meditate, on the idea to remember to be appropriate and calm and acting with good judgement. Zoobyshoe also states that fatigue or distress is a result of being around a hypomanic. However, I have found that high school students are on a similar wavelength, and that I can bring more humor and fun to their learning experience. I think when teaching, I will need to remember to go slow, as that could lead to frustration.

    Some people criticize organized religion to be "opium for the masses." I think one of the communist leaders made that quotation. I am a Catholic dropout, but I think sometimes that getting back into an organized religion might be a natural antidote to the disadvantages of hypomania. One book I read was entitled Rabbi Jesus, and, in fact, the author, who wrote a historical, not biblical, hypothesis of Jesus, postulated Jesus to have bipolar disorder. (As many if not most people who experience full blown mania experience a religious component to the grandiosity and mania, as I did in my case.) This makes me wonder if religion might have been necessary if there were a lot of bipolar genes running around Israel at the time. And it also makes me wonder if bipolars would be attracted to the grandiosity of a self proclaimed messiah. It's worth a try anyways. I dabble in a religious science church and I could try that weekly as well. Although I think the traditional religions would work better to put keep someone out of trouble regarding pushing the envelope while hypomanic.

    I have bought the book "The Hypomanic Edge, The Link Between a Little Craziness and a Lot of Success" by John Gartner, which I think someone has mentioned in this thread. It is very good - I've only read the intro and the first chapter on Christopher Columbus (who the author thinks was full blown manic at least for part of the time, while hypo the rest of the time.)

    Oddly enough, Tedd Turner was always a hero to me, for his business and sailing success, long before I learned he was bipolar and that I too was bipolar. We probably have a light amount of bipolar for many years and don't know it nor does the light amount get diagnosed. It is interesting to google "famous bipolars." Although the diagnosis of bipolar was not known during the times of most of those listed, so I think such historical assumptions have to be taken skeptically. I think Einstein is listed on one such list, or maybe in the book I'm reading, I can't remember where I read that. Again how do we know if he was never diagnosed and never took medication?

    In the case of Winston Churchill - it is probably true, as we know a lot about him - his cat naps during WWII, staying up all night with only cat naps, and his mention of his black dog, his drinking and smoking, etc. Although on his web site they only mention depression.

    I don't go on spending sprees. I havn't cheated on my wife (although I have thought about it often enough,) and I don't believe I am manipulative, although I can lose my temper. You certainly won't be reading about me in the newspaper along the same lines as the female high school teachers who dated their students - that was just plain poor judgement on top of bipolar. Very poor judgement. And there is a stigmatization that all people with bipolar, no matter what level of the disorder they have or how they experience it, that we all get lumped into.

    Wish me luck with my planned use of a "natural mood stabilizer(s)" -- meditation and/or prayer, lots of excercise, perhaps organized religion or do it yourself religious reading, etc.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2007
  12. Oct 18, 2007 #11
    No, I have temporal lobe seizures and from that a case of Geschwind's Syndrome. The Geschwind's predisposes me to meticulous attention to detail. My research on seizures lead me to study the apparent seizure/bipolar overlap, so I learned a lot about bipolar disorder, both from reading and picking the brains of bipolar people, both in real life and on bipolar web forums.

    On the other hand, having temporal lobe seizures frequently alters the person's personality between seizures making them more emotionally intense. If the actual seizures go undetected this can be misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder since the interictal personality effects can present as hypomania and depression.
  13. Oct 18, 2007 #12
    Got it, thanks Zoobyzhoe.

    I too have learned a lot from participating in online bipolar support forums. Giving more support than getting, since I have a "light" case and now particularly with my being on the manic rather than depressive side of "normal" mood.

    Perhaps related: A side effect of Wellbutrin is seizures. I do not get them, which is fortunate. I don't take a strong dose of Wellbutrin. And some people must be more predisposed to get that side effect.

    I have left a comment on the author of "Hypomanic Edge" 's blog (it is not an updated blog, and it has mostly spam comments,) to the effect that I think his book is brilliant (from what I've read so far,) but that I take exception to what I perceived to be his stating that the famous people he writes about have "relatives" with bipolar. I think it would be more accurate to say they have bipolar themselves (just that they have a fortunate case of being hypomanic most if not all of the time, rather than swinging up and down, with mostly down, or being only down.)
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