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What is Grandiosity?

By Kimberly Read

Updated May 16, 2014

Question: What is Grandiosity?
Answer: Grandiosity is a symptom of mania or hypomania in bipolar disorder (aka manic depression). In the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (DSM-IV), it is used in combination with several other symptoms to confirm a diagnosis of this disorder. This symptom also occurs in children with early onset bipolar disorder.

Roget's II: Thesaurus defines grandiosity as "boastful self-importance or display" and offers the words "ostentation," "pomposity" and "pretension" to further illustrate this definition. In short, it is an exaggerated sense of one's importance, power, knowledge or identity. It often has religious overtones. The term "grandiosity" is used to describe the larger-than-life feelings of superiority often experienced by those in a manic episode.

An Example of Grandiosity from our Community:

  • I am a committed mother and wife. Yet I found myself embroiled in an affair that I thought was the equal to Abelard and Heloise, Lancelot and Guinevere ... I'm so embarrassed and ashamed of myself now.

    I am a reasonably good writer and poet ... I thought I was an amazingly talented poet and writer. I composed music, wrote songs, wrote poems, etc. I thought I could do ANYTHING.

    I thought God was talking to me in visions. I felt I had a special connection to the universe. I thought maybe I was becoming a Buddha.

    --Pendulumgirl on our Main Forum

    1. About.com
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    3. Bipolar Disorder
    4. Bipolar for Beginners
    5. Frequently Asked Questions
    6. Grandiosity in Bipolar Disorder: Definition and Stories

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