Grandiosity in Bipolar Disorder: Definition and Stories

Cavan Images / Stone / Getty Images

Grandiosity is a symptom of bipolar mania and hypomania. The term describes the larger-than-life feelings of superiority often experienced during manic and hypomanic episodes.

In the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the presence of grandiosity is used in combination with several other symptoms to confirm a diagnosis of bipolar. 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 or hypomanic episode.

Pronunciation: GRAN-dee-AH-sih-tee; GRAN-dee-OHSS

Examples 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.

  • Once when I was hypomanic and feeling grandiose, I found myself alone in a run-down neighborhood at night. I was totally unafraid and felt that as long as I kept my head up and my back straight, nothing could happen to me. (Fortunately, nothing did!)


    Grandiose (adj.): From French grandiose, from Italian grandioso, from Latin grandis (big). Thus grandiosity (noun), the state of feeling grandiose.

    Continue Reading