Complications of the hyperthymic temperament History

Although well described by classical German psychiatrists (e.g. Schneider(20)), the hyperthymic type appears neither in DSM-IV nor in ICD-10. A lifelong disposition, hyperthymia must be distinguished from short-lived hypomanic episodes. Alternatively, this disposition can be characterized as trait hypomania. It derives from the ancient Graeco-Roman sanguine temperament, believed to represent the optimal mixture of behavioural traits. They are full of zest, fun-loving, and prone to lechery: their habitual disposition is one of buoyant action-orientation, extraverted people-seeking, overconfidence, and swift thinking. Typically short sleepers, they possess boundless energy to invest in sundry causes and projects, which often earn them leadership positions in the various professions and politics, yet their carefree attitudes and propensity for risk-taking can bring them to the brink of ruin; this is particularly true for their finances and sexual life, which can be marred by scandalA05) A hyperthymic lifestyle is so reinforcing that some resort to 'augmenting' it with stimulants such as amphetamines or cocaine. In brief, while a hyperthymic temperament per se does not constitute affective pathology—indeed, it represents a constellation of adaptive traits—in excess it could lead to undesirable complications. The latter will be our main focus here.

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