Mania and hypomania

Professor James Potash likens mania to volume on a stereo. When people are hypomanic, everything is turned up a little, there is more energy. If volume is too high, it becomes painful.

One way that I like to think of depression and mania is that I like to use the metaphor of listening to music on your stereo; if you are listening and you hear something that you like, if the music were to get turned way down you would be sort of disappointed and it wouldn’t sound terribly good at a very low volume. That’s a little bit like what depression is – everything is turned down, whereas mania is just the opposite and everything is turned up. And if you turn the volume up a little bit it’s analogous to hypomania, where everything sounds a whole lot better. When people are hypomanic everything is turned up a little, there is more energy, thoughts are going faster, they are happier and they feel good. If the volume gets turned all the way up, often it’s a painful and uncomfortable experience, and in mania the volume of everything gets turned way, way up. People’s minds start going so fast that they can no longer control their thoughts, and it’s very distressing because the thoughts just go flying out in all kinds of directions.

bipolar disorder, mania, hypomania, depression, stereo volume, james, potash

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