Cyclothymia Disorder: Recognize the Symptoms, How to Treat It?

Cyclothymia Disorder is a form of Bipolar Disorder. It is treated like Bipolar Disorder with medications, including mood stabilizers, and psychotherapy.

Cyclothymia Disorder, what is it

Cyclothymia Disorder, what is it?

Cyclothymia Disorder or Cyclothymic Personality is a (milder) form of Bipolar Disorder. It corresponds to the existence for at least two years at least half the time of numerous periods of a few days or weeks during which hypomanic symptoms (excessive mood but attenuated compared to the manic symptoms) are present and numerous periods during which Depressive symptoms are present in the criteria for major depression. It causes suffering or problems of professional, social or family behavior.
Namely: 15 to 50% of Cyclothymic Disorders progress to Bipolar Disorders of type I or II.

Causes of Cyclothymia Disorder

The causes of Cyclothymia Disorder and Bipolar Disorder in general are not well known. What is known is that bipolar disorder is due to an interaction between biological factors (abnormalities in the production and transmission of neurotransmitters and hormonal abnormalities) and the environment (trauma in childhood, stress, etc.).
There is a familial predisposition to Bipolar Disorder.
Diagnostic of Cyclothymia Disorder


The diagnosis of Cyclothymia Disorder is made by a psychiatrist if a person has had hypomanic periods and periods of depression for at least two years, but without the criteria for Bipolar Disorder (at least one year in children and adolescents), if these disorders are not due to the taking of a drug (cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine) or a medication or to a disease (hyperthyroidism or nutritional deficiencies for example).

The people concerned

Cyclothymic Disorders affect 3 to 6% of the population. The onset of Cyclothymic Disorder is detected in adolescents or young adults. In comparison, Type I Bipolar Disorder affects 1% of the population.

Risk factors

Having people with bipolar disorder in your family is a risk factor for developing Cyclothymia. The other risk factors for developing Bipolar Disorders including Cyclothymia Disorder are drug or alcohol abuse, sad or happy stressful events (divorce, death of a loved one, birth, etc.) or even a lifestyle unbalanced (disturbed sleep, night work …)
Cyclothymia Disorder: Recognize the Symptoms, How to Treat It?

Symptoms of Cyclothymia Disorder

Symptoms of Cyclothymia Disorder are those of bipolar disorder but less severe. The disease is characterized by an alternation of depressive episodes and manic episodes.

Depressive episodes …

Depressive episodes in the Cyclothymic person are characterized by loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, and loss of interest in things that normally provide pleasure (cooking, sex, work, friends, hobbies). Some people with Cyclothymia Disorder think about death and suicide.

… alternating with manic episodes

Hypomanic episodes are characterized by an unusual feeling of euphoria, irritability, hyperactivity, talkativeness, racing thoughts, an exaggerated sense of self-worth, lack of introspection, lack of judgment, impulsiveness and the desire to spend extravagantly.
These mood disorders cause discomfort and difficulties in professional and family life.
Cyclothymia Disorder: Recognize the Symptoms, How to Treat It?

Treatments for Cyclothymia Disorder

Cyclothymia Disorder, like other Bipolar Disorders, is treated with medications: mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and anti-convulsants.
Psychotherapy (psychoanalysis, behavioral and cognitive therapies-CBT, family-centered therapy -TCF, completes the drug management. This aims to help better manage his condition, to react positively to the triggers to support the patient.
Psychoeducation sessions aim to make patients better understand and know their disease and treatment (recognize the triggers of manic and depressive episodes, know the drugs, how to manage stress, establish a regular lifestyle …) this to reduce their symptoms and frequency.
Prevention of Cyclothymia Disorder

Prevention of Cyclothymia Disorder

It is possible to optimize the prevention of relapses of manic or depressive episodes.
The first step is to avoid stressful situations and learn to relax (by practicing meditation or yoga, for example).
Sleeping well is essential. Not getting enough sleep is indeed a trigger for a manic episode.
It is advisable to stop drinking or limit alcohol consumption because too much alcohol can be a trigger for manic or depressive episodes. Drug use is strongly discouraged as any drug can lead to bipolar episodes.
Keeping a mood diary can help you warn of an episode of hypomania or depression and take preventative measures.

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