Good Moods & Causing Hypomanic States
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Q:  If I am in a great mood, it feels like I can bring on a hypomanic state, complete with rapid thoughts, extreme energy, distractibility, etc.  Is this possible, or do I simply want it so much that when it happens it feels like I helped to cause it.   I want to understand.


Dear Mr. G. --

A recent review article on the subject of what leads to mood episodes concluded that whereas depressed episodes are often preceded by a disappointment or a severe social stress, manic episodes can at least in some cases be preceded by some positive social experience, like a job promotion.

In your case, you might be describing something similar, on a smaller scale. The "good mood" might be associated with some positive social experience, and from there follows the hypomanic state. On the other hand, as I'm sure you have considered, one has to wonder whether the "good mood" might be a spontaneous event that is the beginning of the hypomanic state. In other words, there is no clear precipitating event, but you are just cycling into a hypomania.

For most people, if they are having cycles of hypomania such as you describe, they're also having phases of depression. For most people, the depressions are longer and have a more significant impact on their life. They generally conclude, after a while at least, that a treatment which prevents the depressions is worth it even if it means not having the hypomanic phases. In other people, the hypomania is not a positive experience anyway and they have no hesitation at all about trying to keep it from coming back.

Thank you for your interesting question.

Dr. Phelps



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