Cyclothymic disorder resembles bipolar disorder Bipolar Disorder In bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive disorder), episodes of depression alternate with episodes of mania (or a less severe form of mania called hypomania). Mania is characterized... read more but is less severe. The episodes of elation and sadness are less intense, typically last for only a few days, and recur fairly often at irregular intervals. This disorder may develop into bipolar disorder or may continue as extreme moodiness.
For people with cyclothymic disorder, the energy during episodes of elation may contribute to success in business, leadership, achievement, and artistic creativity. However, excessive elation or depression or the fluctuation of moods may also result in uneven work and school records, frequent changes of residence, repeated romantic breakups or marital failure, and alcohol use Alcohol Use Alcohol (ethanol) is a depressant (it slows down brain and nervous system functioning). Consuming large amounts rapidly or regularly can cause health problems, including organ damage, coma,... read more and other substance use disorders Substance Use Disorders Substance use disorders generally involve behavior patterns in which people continue to use a substance (for example, a recreational drug) despite having problems caused by its use. The substances... read more .
Doctors diagnose cyclothymic disorder based on the distinctive pattern of mental health symptoms.
(See also Overview of Mood Disorders Overview of Mood Disorders Mood disorders are mental health conditions that involve long periods of excessive sadness (depression), excessive elation (mania), or both. Depression and mania represent the 2 emotional extremes... read more .)
Treatment of Cyclothymic Disorder
Education and support
Sometimes medications that stabilize mood
People with cyclothymic disorder need to learn how to live with the extremes of their temperamental inclinations. However, living with cyclothymic disorder is not easy because interpersonal relationships are often stormy. Getting a job with flexible hours or, for people with artistic inclinations, pursuing a career in the arts may make it easier.
A medication that stabilizes mood (such as lithium Lithium In bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive disorder), episodes of depression alternate with episodes of mania (or a less severe form of mania called hypomania). Mania is characterized... read more or an antiseizure medication Antiseizure medications In bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive disorder), episodes of depression alternate with episodes of mania (or a less severe form of mania called hypomania). Mania is characterized... read more ) may be used if cyclothymic disorder makes functioning difficult. People may tolerate the antiseizure medication divalproex better than lithium. Antidepressants are not used for cyclothymic disorder unless depression is severe and has lasted a long time because they can cause rapid switching from one mood to the other (rapid cycling).
Support groups can help by providing a forum to share common experiences and feelings.
The following English-language resource may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of this resource.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), Cyclothymic Disorder: General information about how the diagnosis of cyclothymic disorder relates to bipolar disorder
Drugs Mentioned In This Article
|Select Brand Names
|Eskalith, Eskalith CR, Lithobid