Hypomania-How Affects Functioning?
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Q:  Hypomania-How Affects Functioning?


I am a third year psychology student from Ireland, and am attempting to do an assignment on Bipolar II Disorder.  I am having some difficulty finding out how hypomanic episodes afects a persons everyday level of functioning.  Also, I was curious to know if the biological characteristics of the disorder e.g. some psychomotor agitation has severe effects on their everyday life.  I fully appreciate that you cannot give me reems of information in your answer but any help or guidence would be greatly appreciated.  Your site has already helped me a great deal, thanks!

Dear Martin -- 
I love the idea that somebody is writing an assignment on this topic.  Re: how hypomanic episodes affect a person's everyday level of functioning:  it's a spectrum thing, just like what you read about the spectrum from plain depression to full bipolar I.  Some people with very mild symptoms actually get a lot of stuff done (e.g. people catching up for weeks of missed classes or papers, from when they were in the depressed phase -- that's pretty common).  As it gets more dramatic, people accelerate in their thinking to the point where they can't really control it, and beyond that, function falls apart.  My favorite quote on the subject is that one you read by Jamison: 

"The clinical reality of manic-depressive illness is far more lethal and infinitely more complex than the current psychiatric nomenclature, bipolar disorder, would suggest. Cycles of fluctuating moods and energy levels serve as a background to constantly changing thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. The illness encompasses the extremes of human experience. Thinking can range from florid psychosis, or "madness," to patterns of unusually clear, fast and creative associations, to retardation so profound that no meaningful mental activity can occur. Behavior can be frenzied, expansive, bizarre, and seductive, or it can be seclusive, sluggish, and dangerously suicidal. Moods may swing erratically between euphoria and despair or irritability and desperation. The rapid oscillations and combinations of such extremes result in an intricately textured clinical picture." (Kay Jamison, Ph.D.)

Good luck and spread the work, Martin. 

Dr. Phelps

 
Published October, 2001
 

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