A less extreme form of bipolar disorder, cyclothymic disorder – also known as cyclothymia – is a mood disorder that is characterized by obvious and pronounced mood swings or shifts that seem to come out of nowhere, according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
If you would like to get help for cyclothymic disorder, we have counselors standing by at the phone number above who are waiting to help you get treatment. Call now.
Causes of Cyclothymic Disorder
There is no known cause of cyclothymia but possible contributing factors include:
- Biochemical issues
- Environmental factors
Cyclothymic Disorder Symptoms
The symptoms of cyclothymia vary depending upon which extreme defines your mood. For example, the hypomanic or “high” phase of cyclothymic disorder can be characterized by:
- Extreme cheerfulness and optimism
- Exaggerated self-esteem
- Risk-taking behavior and bad decisions
- Irritability, hostility or aggression
- High energy and activity
- Fast speech and racing thoughts
- Increased drive to accomplish things
- Higher sex drive
- Inability to focus
On the opposite end of the spectrum, depressive or “low” phase symptoms include:
- Extreme sadness
- Anxiety or irritability
- Sleep disruption (e.g., sleeping too much or too little)
- Eating issues (e.g., eating too much or too little)
- Lack of sex drive
- Lack of energy and interest in carrying daily tasks
- Difficulty concentrating
- Unexplained pains or aches
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
Cyclothymic Disorder Quick Facts
- Cyclothymia is rarely diagnosed.
- The disorder is often misdiagnosed as a mood disorder or depression.
- Symptoms of cyclothymia often start during adolescence.
- Cyclothymic disorder is equally prevalent in men and women.
DSM Diagnostic Criteria for Cyclothymic Disorder
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is published by the American Psychiatric Association and used for the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders. It says that those living with cyclothymia will:
- Experience numerous cyclic and extreme mood episodes for at least two years
- Experience stable mood periods that last for less than two months
- Not be diagnosed with another mental health disorder
- Not be living with a drug or alcohol abuse issue or a medical ailment
- Have issues at home, at work, and in social situations due to the symptoms of cyclothymia
Medications Often Prescribed in the Treatment of Cyclothymia
- Mood stabilizers (e.g., lithium)
- Anti-seizure medications (e.g., valproic acid, divalproex sodium, lamotrigine)
- Anti-psychotic medications (e.g., olanzapine, risperidone)
- Anti-anxiety medications (e.g., benzodiazepines)
- Antidepressants (uncommon, but may be used in combination with a mood stabilizer)
Treatment for Cyclothymia
Without treatment in private inpatient or outpatient rehab, cyclothymic disorder will continue to cause you instability for the rest of your life and could turn into bipolar disorder. Because it is such a serious issue, treatment is a lifelong commitment – even when you feel fine.
A more balanced life comes when you immerse yourself in treatment and find a mental health treatment program that can provide you with the medication and psychotherapy you need to experience real healing.