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Cyclothymia Disorder

What is Cyclothymia Disorder?

According to the DSM-V, Cyclothymia Disorder is considered to be one of the several mood disorders that has similar characteristics to that of Bipolar Disorder. However, individuals who have Cyclothymia Disorder tend to have more mild and chronic forms of such characteristics. Individuals who suffer from such disorder experience mood swings between short periods of mild depression and hypomania. Furthermore, it is believed that between 0.4% and 1% of the population is affected by such disorder and that it is equally prevalent in both men and women.

What are the symptoms of Cyclothymia Disorder?

Although the pattern is irregular, and one may never know when an episode may occur, such episode can last for days or even weeks. However, it is important to note that the individual must present the following symptoms for a period of at least 2 years (1 year for children and adolescents):

  • Symptoms of hypomania, but not full blown manic episodes
    • There is an increased in energy and activity
    • The individual has an excessively “high,” euphoric mood
    • Irritable
    • The individual may experience racing thoughts (i.e. they may jump from one idea to another)
    • An individual has a hard time concentrating
    • An individual tends to be more talkative than usual
    • The individual may feel the need that they do not need sleep
    • An individual may have unrealistic beliefs (i.e. may have the belief that they have powers)
    • An individual may have an increased sex drive
    • An individual will deny that anything is wrong
    • An individual may engage in provocative, aggressive, or intrusive behavior
  • Symptoms for Depressive episodes
    • An individual has persistent sadness
    • An individual experiences constant fatigue
    • The individual either has an excessive need for sleep OR does not need to sleep
    • An individual begins to lose weight, has a loss of appetite OR is overeating and gaining weight
    • An individual has a low self-esteem
    • An individual may have feelings of worthlessness
    • An individual may have persistent thoughts of death
    • An individual may begin to withdraw from activities that they once enjoyed or may withdraw from friends

What causes Cyclothymia Disorder?

Although there is not one known cause, experts believe that genetics play a big role in the development of such disorder. In other words, if an individual has a close relative (i.e. parent or sibling), they are more likely to develop such disorder.

How is Cyclothymia treated?

  • Medication
    • Mood stabilizers
      • Lithium
    • Anticonvulsant
  • Psychotherapy
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
      • Focuses on identifying the negative and unhealthy beliefs/behaviors and then replaces them with positive ones
    • Well-Being Therapy
      • Focuses on improving the overall quality of life rather than fixing the symptoms

How can I cope with Cyclothymia Disorder?

  • Stick to your treatment plan
    • Take medication as prescribed and attend all therapies
  • Know your triggers and warning signs
  • Keep a record of your treatments and behaviors
  • Have regular check-ups
  • Make sure you get plenty of sleep
    • Set a schedule and stick to it
  • Educate yourself and your loved ones