March 2, 2009
Mania Drives Unrealistic Ambitions For Fame, Fortune
The desire for fame and notoriety could be stronger among people who suffer from depression and mania, researchers from the University of California Berkley have found.
"Manic episodes are characterized by elevated mood as well as increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, decreased need for sleep and extreme distractibility," said Dr. Sheri L. Johnson, whose study appears in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology on Monday.
"Mania has already been linked to a belief in the importance of achievement and so we wanted to discover whether it is also linked with higher expectations for the future."
Researchers studied the levels of manic depression among 103 people, including 27 who had been previously diagnosed with manic depression, or bipolar disorder.
Participants were instructed to fill out questionnaires about their ambitions, in order to gauge their hunger for fame and financial success.
Participants were asked to rate the likelihood of certain events occurring in their lives, including appearing regularly on television, or having more than 20 million dollars.
"We found that the people who had experienced episodes of mania during their lives had the highest expectations of achieving popular success and financial success," Johnson said.
"This pattern suggests that people with manic or bipolar tendencies are drawn to focus on success, money and popular fame," she added.
"In some cases they achieve them, giving us a glimpse into the advantages that can accompany this highly painful disorder."
"These results suggest that mania, along with all of its costs, may also drive people to set higher goals. In some cases they achieve them, giving us a glimpse into the advantages that can accompany this highly painful disorder."
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