Throughout literary history, love has been described as a form of madness, which
bears a likeness to a manic state in its simultaneous mix of euphoria and dysphoria.
The aim of this study is to explore empirically the similarities and differences
between the states of love and mania. It is hypothesised that "passionate" love is part
of the spectrum of mania in terms of symptomatology, equivalent to hypomania in
level of psychological disruption. It is proposed that emotion regulation plays a
mediating role in the expression of manic symptoms in either state.
Data relating to symptoms reported in mania by 121 adults with bipolar disorder
were compared to symptoms reported by a control group relating to recalled episodes
of love. A sub-group of 18 individuals with bipolar disorder completed
questionnaires relating to episodes of love. Comparisons were made between
symptoms of love and mania between and within groups.
The profile of manic and depressive symptoms in love and mania were found to
share striking similarity and were significantly correlated. Emotion regulation
strategies were found to correlate with the degree of severity of symptoms reported.
The finding that love and mania share such similar profiles is discussed in terms of
implications for diagnosis and classification of spectrum disorders. The mediating
role of emotion regulation in the manifestation of psychopathology in love and mania
is explored. Attachment theory is proposed as a useful framework for
conceptualising the underlying system shared by both states. The role of cognitive
appraisal of emotional states in the severity of psychological and functional
disruption in love and in mania is discussed and proposed as an appropriate level for