Is hypomania always a bad thing? Hypomania is a critical concept to understand and deal with as best as possible for those with Manic Depression – now called “Bipolar 1 Disorder“. But is it always a bad thing?
Have doctors gone overboard in their attention to it and is it being misused as a way to prescribe greater amounts of psychotropic ‘mood stabilizing’ drugs?
I think the answer is yes, though of course the big picture is complicated. When hypomania is connected to someone who clearly is BP-1 and in treatment or living with the illness independently like I am then it goes without saying it is critical to understand and deal with when it begins to present itself in your life.
I wrote about a recent experience of mine here: I Was Hypomanic and all is Fine.
But in all cases is hypomania bad? Something to fear and ‘have to recognize’ and deal with?
Have Psych Docs Criminalized Hypomania?
Have psych docs – and their pharmaceutical handlers – criminalized hypomania?
No, they are not arresting people who have a period of heightened mood… but they have made it an experience to be wary of. Something to jump at the slightest hint of in your life and something you then have to go to a doctor to get help with and possibly take medication.
That is what I mean by my sarcastic ‘criminalized’ comment – they’ve turned something that is fairly common and normal into something scary and wrong. It is neither.
And Big Pharma, of course, profits hugely from this ‘new take’ on hypomania. That’s why I sarcastically call them the shrink’s handlers. Big Pharma’s agenda and the pharmaceutical reps who work for them and go knocking on doctor’s doors selling their wares (psychotropic medications) are controlling a field of medicine in significant ways.
There is no valid argument against that… it’s fact. It is how our medical system currently works. Do you want to be controlled in this way? Or would you rather learn and make educated decisions about your life and your mental health care?
Hypomania Can Be a Spice of Life
Maybe experiencing the state of hypomania is not the spice of life… but it is a positive thing in general and usually enjoyable.
Have you ever been in love? Been a teenager? Then most likely you’ve had a bit of ‘hypomania’ in your life.
Got engaged and are planning your dream wedding? Or maybe you have been given a raise and over-the-top performance review at a job you worked years to land, then took your significant other out for a special night on the town. You felt so good that day. Maybe even felt a little ‘high’, no?
Hypomania is not always a bad thing. To feel good in life and have some natural high times is one of life’s hightlights, not something to be diagnosed and medicated away.
This can be when someone gets diagnosed with ‘Bipolar II Disorder‘ (BP-2) instead of Major Depressive Disorder. Or, quite possibly a person is in treatment for depression, the doctor prescribes an antidepressant and the person has an elevated mood as a side effect of the drug.
The doctor then – rather than have to take responsibility for a known side effect of the drug and possibly lower a dose or stop the drug to go through more trials of other medications – changes a diagnosis of depression to ‘bipolar’.
Have you ever been prescribed Cymbalta – the most prescribed antidepressant in America (2014)? Did you know a common side effect of the med is “abnormal excitement”. Another is “acting without thinking”.
Hmmm. What does that make you think of? A drug induced temporary state of hypomania that has nothing to do with bipolar? That’s what I think of.
The patient who then gets a BP-2 diagnosis feels better. The depression felt like a life sentence as was not being treated successfully… now they have a new diagnosis and new (false) sense of hope.
So what’s wrong with that you may ask? The problem is – psychotropic medications are toxic and all have serious side effects. Not to mention the fact a period of elevated mood does not equate to the devastating condition of Manic Depression. It is a normal part of life.
The big exemption to this type of thinking and where the ‘big picture is complicated’ comes in is in cases of severe depression that may include actual mood swings – not heightened feel good moods from a prescription drug reaction or from self-medicating with recreational drugs (cocaine, pot, alcohol, etc.).
If you are Manic Depressive then hypomania is a mood state that has to be carefully monitored and thought of as possibly needing medication as it may lead to an actual period of serious illness i.e. mania.
If you are not, then don’t let a doctor convince you it is abnormal. Psychiatrists get a huge payout for prescribing psychotropic medications… the more the better.
Know this reality and try and protect yourself from being a victim of misdiagnosis leading to the pressure to take large amounts of brain damaging psychotropic medications.
In peace, Molly