Medical Definition of Hypergraphia

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Hypergraphia: The driving compulsion to write; the overwhelming urge to write. Hypergraphia may compel someone to keep a voluminous journal, to jot off frequent letters to the editor, to write on toilet paper if nothing else is available, and perhaps even to compile a dictionary. Hypergraphia is the opposite of writer's block.

Temporal lobe epilepsy is associated with hypergraphia. This association has been known at least as early as 1974 (Waxman SG, Geschwind N. Hypergraphia in temporal lobe epilepsy. Neurology. 1974;24:629-36). A number of prolific writer may have had temporal lobe epilepsy, including Byron, Dante, Dostoevsky, Moliere, Petrarch, Poe, and Tennyson.

Hypergraphia has also been called the midnight disease.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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