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Hyperactivity and Exhilaration in Children

ROGER REGER, MA
Am J Dis Child. 1964;107(6):590-592. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1964.02080060592007.
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In discussing psychoses in children, Bradley (1945) makes an observation about hyperactivity which apparently has gone unquestioned for over 15 years. He says:

In children sustained elevation of mood and exhilaration are not encountered except in response to reasonably appropriate stimuli. Hyperactivity is a frequent symptom of conflict in children, but it is not observed in attacks that are reminiscent of adult mania. Hyperactivity resulting from emotional conflict is usually accompanied by irritability and negativism in children, and to observe it as a pathological symptom in conjunction with exhilarated emotional responses would be a most unusual experience and well worth reporting (p 152).

While irritability often is associated with hyperactivity, this by no means always is true. A survey of the literature as well as personal observations suggest that hyperactivity in children frequently is accompanied by exhilarated emotional responses.

Kasanin (1931) reports case material on ten children, six boys and

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