Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hypergraphia - An intriguing brain anomaly

It is a condition in which an individual feels the driving compulsion to write; the overwhelming urge to write.

Hypergraphia has also been called 'midnight disease'.
Well based on how we perceive it, the "disease" could either be all about writing or writer's block.

This unstoppable drive to write can be triggered by temporal lobe epilepsy(hippocampus and Wernicke's area in specific), intolerant mood disorders or dopamine.

What is very fascinating about this condition is that there are NO other vicious symptoms (other than a little irritability-which is quiet expected) and the fact that the patient can go on writing on anything from toilet papers to wall to even roads.

And what is more fascinating to know is that many famous authors and poets like Sylvia Plath, Stephen King and Leo Tolstoy (that's how the world got "War and Peace") suffered from hypergraphia.

Ingenious result from a brain defect.

Now a question might arise..if the quality of writing in these patients is any good?
To answer this, it is important to know that patient with hypergraphia exhibit wide variety of writing style and content.  To elucidate this statement, let's go through few accounts:

1. Alice Flaherty (Harvard Medical school neurologist) gets episodes of hypergraphia following any grief incidences that have grave affect on her brain.
She has started her 4th book and is doing research to help explain how the muse comes and goes.

2. Mendez- He felt the unreasonable compulsion to write poetry even though the patient had no previous history of being a poet.

3. Patient who wrote everything backwards!

4. Patients writing same word over and over again but with differing calligraphy.

5. Patients' writing consists of sheer scribbling and frantic random thoughts.

 Therefore on a lighter note, if you have the wrong brain defect but fall under the right category...then voilĂ ...YOU shall be famous!

Shivani Mangalgi
Medicowesome 2017


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