‘Flight of Ideas’

Hole Ousia

One of the current clinical definitions of “flight of ideas” is: “a rapid flow of thought, manifested by accelerated speech with abrupt changes from topic to topic: a symptom of some mental illnesses, especially manic disorder.”

I have never experienced mania and reckon that I never will. I am naturally of a quiet temperament and may be inclined to think a little more negatively than positively.  However I have found that “flight of ideas”, as a psychiatric concept, can be misapplied and misused. I have two personal examples.

First example:

In the early days of my writing on mental health I wrote a reply to a paper on the renaming of “schizophrenia”. I shared my reply with a psychiatrist colleague who sent me his perspective on it:

“There are two types of comments I want to make, one relating to the theme, and one to the way you put your…

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