Cyclothymia (A complete guide)

Cyclothymia:

This guide provides a complete overview of Cyclothymia. It contains valuable insights into the causes, symptoms, and treatment of this disease. It also sheds light on the diagnostic process behind Cyclothymia as well as how you can manage this disease. You’ll also find helpful resources that may assist you in the management of this disorder. 

Cyclothymia (A complete guide)

Cyclothymia is a mental disorder that causes mild mood swings. It is also called Bipolar II disorder. People with Cyclothymia may experience mood swings in which they may become overly excited or go into periods of depression. These are often uncontrolled and do not need any external stimuli to be activated. 

What is Cyclothymia?

Cyclothymia is a mental disorder that affects your mood. It is very similar to bipolar disorder. However, the only difference between the two is that Cyclothymia has milder symptoms than Cyclothymia. People with Cyclothymia may experience periods of depression, as well. However, this will not reach the state of a severe mental illness. 

Cyclothymia is different from other mental illnesses as it can occur for specific periods, and then you may feel normal after a while. However, these mood swings are recurring. Many people with Cyclothymia may feel that their mood swings are under control during the periods when they feel normal. As a result, many people may refuse to acknowledge that they have a disorder. This reduces the chances of a proper recovery. 

People with Cyclothymia may have difficulty in adjusting to society as they are often unpredictable. This causes people to be wary of them and could lead to social isolation. If you have Cyclothymia, there is a chance that you often say things that may hurt other people’s feelings even though you may later regret it. 

While many people may view Cyclothymia as a part of bipolar disorder due to the similar symptoms associated with both illnesses, the DSM-5 has categorized it as a separate disorder. The main difference between Cyclothymia and bipolar disorder is that Cyclothymia is not severe enough to disrupt the patient’s daily life. It cannot be categorized as a complete mental illness. 

People with Cyclothymia have to experience the symptoms for a prolonged period for it to be categorized as a disorder. Depending on their personality and different environmental factors, many normal people may experience mood swings. However, these are usually isolated and do not follow a pattern — people with Cyclothymia experience these mood swings for a prolonged period. 

Cyclothymia is challenging to diagnose because of its mild nature. Many people may not even feel as if they require treatment. In addition to this, it cannot be diagnosed when the patient is in a normal state. Unlike other mental disorders, Cyclothymia is often not noticeable in a patient’s social life. 

Possible Causes of Cyclothymia

The exact cause of Cyclothymia is not yet known. Just as with many other mental disorders, Cyclothymia does not have any visible external cause. However, certain factors could put you at risk of developing this disorder. 

Stress is a major factor in bringing out the effects of Cyclothymia in an individual. Although it does not directly cause, Cyclothymia, stress, and anxiety may trigger periods of depression or hype in the affected person. If your symptoms are mild, then being under stressful situations can lead to bipolar disorder, as well. 

The most probable cause of Cyclothymia is genetic factors. Research has shown that many people who are affected with Cyclothymia or bipolar disorder also have a close relative who is affected with a similar disorder. As a result, Cyclothymia may be referred to as a trait. However, there is not sufficient research available to prove this claim. 

Cyclothymia (A complete guide)

Symptoms

If you are worried that you may have Cyclothymia just because you sometimes have a bad mood, then there’s no need to worry. Cyclothymia is more than just a change of mood. It causes people to experience many symptoms ranging from mild to severe symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of Cyclothymia are:

  • Extremely low self-esteem- the person may feel as if they do not belong in the world. They may regret even their smallest actions, and this results in shame and tension. 
  • Extraordinarily high self-esteem- This symptom may affect the person when they are in an elevated mood. They may forget about their previous feelings of inferiority and move with overconfidence. 
  • Fatigue or hyperactivity- If you affected with Cyclothymia, you might experience periods when you may become clumsy and oversleep. Similarly, there will be periods when you may not be able to sleep at all. You may feel an extra burst of energy, and some people may experience insomnia. 
  • High and low appetite- Depending on which stage you are going through, you may feel an extra urge to eat, or you may not feel hungry at all. This usually coincides with your mood. People who are going through a bad mood may not feel hungry at all. However, if you are experiencing a positive burst of energy, you may feel the need to eat more. 
  • Lack of focus- During periods of mild depression, your thoughts may constantly wander off, and you may not be able to study at all. 
  • Constant weight change- During your different mood changes, your weight may experience constant fluctuations. When your mood is normal, you will likely be able to maintain a normal weight, as well. 

Many of these symptoms are mood-related and can be both psychological and physical. You may experience a change in your physique, along with the mood changes. These symptoms are not as severe as those experienced by people with bipolar disorder. That is why you may ignore them. However, if they constantly happen for two years or more, then you should visit a psychiatrist for diagnosis. 

Treatment of Cyclothymia

Cyclothymia cannot be cured using a single treatment. You may need to use different forms of treatment to maintain a normal lifestyle. Treatment may include both medications as well as therapy. However, most of the treatment for Cyclothymia is long term, and you may have to continue it for the rest of your life. 

Doctors emphasize prolonged treatment for Cyclothymia due to its nature as a chronic illness. There is a risk that Cyclothymia will develop into bipolar disorder. Therefore, it is better to take precautions and treat it before it becomes worse. 

Part of the treatment includes using medications such as anti-anxiety medications or anti-depressants. However, they are seldom used when psychological treatment can cure the symptoms. These medications should only be used with a prescription from your doctor as the wrong medicine could lead to the symptoms increasing. 

Another common method used for treating Cyclothymia is psychotherapy. This includes variables such as behavioral training and mood management sessions. These sessions often help deal with the effects of this illness. 

Psychologists may recommend other forms of treatment, such as counseling or discussing inner triggers. These sessions help the patient become more aware of their illnesses, and they can identify a situation where they are likely to experience mood swings. They are also taught various techniques that can help them deal with these experiences. 

Management of Cyclothymia

It is difficult to live with Cyclothymia. People who have Cyclothymia may experience mood swings, which could lead to doubts about their personality. Sometimes they may be energetic while at other times they may go into depression. This causes an imbalance in their life, and they may not be able to maintain stable relationships. 

It is essential to inform your close relatives and friends about your disorder so that they might understand your behavior in a better way. You may also need to understand the importance of taking proper counseling and treatment to minimize the effects that these symptoms have on your life.

Many people may consider leaving the treatment during periods when their mood returns to normal. However, this may only cause additional problems as the disease is recurring and will return if treatment is stopped. 

Cyclothymia (A complete guide)

Some helpful resources

  1. If you want to learn more about Cyclothymia and how it dominates your life, you should read this book. Not only does it provide information on this disorder, but it also helps you identify possible triggers. “Cyclothymic Disorder and Cyclothymia: Moods and Mood Swings That Control Your Life: Transcend Mediocrity, Book”
  2. If your mood swings vary with the seasons, you may be wondering how to manage them effectively. This book provides specific guidelines that will help you manage your disorder. “Roller Coasters of Summer Mania and Winter Depression of Bipolar Cyclothymia Disorder: Finding Stability with Blue Light Management Adjunct to.” 
  3. If you are not sure whether you have this disorder and want to do more research on it, you should consider reading this book. It provides detailed information on how this disorder affects your mood. “Understanding Cyclothymia and Bipolar Disorder.” 
  4. Another excellent book for understanding Cyclothymia is “The Cyclothymia Workbook: Learn How to Manage Your Mood Swings.” Not only does it provide a detailed summary of the disorder, but it also gives you valuable information on how you can manage your mood swings. This workbook is perfect for those who are trying to bring their mood swings under control. 
  5. COMPLETE GUIDE TO MANAGE BIPOLAR DISORDER: Understanding Bipolar I; II, Cyclothymia, Psychosis, Use and Abuse of Medication, Psychotherapy, Family Guide and Self-Help to Live a Stable Life

Conclusion

Cyclothymia is a disorder that affects one’s mood. It may cause you to experience various mood swings. People who are suffering from cyclothymia, may sometimes experience a positive mood, while at other times, you may go into a mild depression. However, it is not as severe as bipolar disorder and can be treated effectively. With all this information, it must not be taken lightly and psychological therapy must be sought in time. 

FAQS

What is the difference between Cyclothymic disorder and bipolar disorder?

Cyclothymia is a disorder that causes symptoms similar to those found in bipolar disorder. These include mood swings, depression, or hyperactivity. However, Cyclothymia is milder than bipolar disorder and does not fall under mania. 

Can Cyclothymia turn into bipolar?

Without proper treatment, Cyclothymia can turn into a bipolar disorder. Certain external factors, such as stress, can also play a part. 

Can Cyclothymia be cured?

Although Cyclothymia cannot be cured, it can be managed. No medication can cure this disorder. However, it can reduce the symptom for as long as one takes the medication. 

How long do periods of Cyclothymia last?

Cyclothymic periods may last for under a few hours to an extended period of a few years. The severity of the symptoms often determines how long you may experience mood swings. 

Does Cyclothymia worsen with age?

If it remains untreated, Cyclothymia may worsen as you get older. It usually starts appearing in young adults and can become more prominent as they grow older. 

What causes Cyclothymia?

There is no inherent cause of Cyclothymia. However, evidence points to the fact that genetic factors may cause it. If you have someone in your close family with Cyclothymia, then you may be at risk. 

References

Cyclothymia (A complete guide)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.