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Q:  What is Dysphoria?


What is dsyphoirc mania and how do you know if you have it?  Or what is  dsyphoria?  Please let me know, saw on my chart from doctor but wouldn't explain


Dear Ms. S' -- 
You've got this mostly figured out, I think, in that you ask "what is dysphoria?".  Once you know that, you'll know about dysphoric mania, as it's just another adjective.  That is, dysphoric mania is not an officially separate diagnosis.  Rather it is a state, including manic symptoms, that has the quality of dysphoria. 

So what is "dysphoria?"  As you probably also figured out, it's technically the opposite of "euphoria", especially at the level of the Greek roots of these terms, but also at the level of its meaning to doctors.  We use it to label the common phenomenon of a manic state that is not euphoric but instead a very negative experience.  In most cases this includes accelerated thought that is so fast, people can't function very well:  they can't think about one thing long enough to focus on something and get it taken care of.  It usually includes decreased sleep with lots of lying there trying to sleep but an inability to do so, instead just thinking -- fast -- and usually a lot of very negative thoughts, which in many cases means negative thoughts about oneself.  In some cases, particularly in women, this state is associated with self-harm behaviors like cutting (here's a great website on self-harm that helps explain and cope with such behavior; not that I'd presume you do that, but in case that's so).  

Usually you'll see the term associated with symptoms like irritability and anxiety.  The term dates back at least as far as a 1989 article on the subject by one of the original gurus of bipolar disorder, Dr. Robert Post at the NIMH. 

Dr. Phelps

 

Published January, 2005
 

 

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