Cyclothymic disorder is a mood disorder that is similar to bipolar disorder in that it causes mood swings, but these mood swings are of a lesser intensity than in bipolar disorder. Signs of cyclothymic disorder, or cyclothymia, include shifts of high and low  moods, in between which are stable periods of normal moods. These shifts are much less extreme than with bipolar disorder, but they have negative affects on one’s daily life. Having the symptoms of cyclothymic disorder does, however, increase the risk for bipolar disorder.

There are quite a few symptoms of cyclothymic disorder. These symptoms include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts or suicidal attempts, anxiety, guilt, insomnia or hypersomnia (abnormal sleep patterns), fluctuating appetite, low sex drive or hyper-sexuality, trouble concentrating, irritability, and other signs of depression or hypo-mania.

When the symptoms of cyclothymic disorder first start occurring, the mood swings aren’t as frequent or severe. After some time has passed without treatment, the highs and lows will become more noticeable and intense. You may experience severe periods of depression, or hypo-mania. You can also experience a mix of both at the same time. Since cyclothymia isn’t as extreme as bipolar, many people neglect receiving treatment. But the signs or symptoms of cyclothymia will not go away.

The causes of cyclothymia disorder are not yet known. It is believed that some people may have a genetic disposition to having the disorder. Other factors include the brain’s chemical balance and one’s environment. Typically, environmental triggers, such as interpersonal or other kinds of stress, may trigger these symptoms.  In fact, occurrences of cyclothymic disorder are rare, and most people with the disorder are often diagnosed during the depressed phase.  If left untreated, the depression can worse and affect other areas of your life, such as your personal relationships and career.

Even though cyclothymia is less extreme than bipolar disorder, seeking treatment is still very important. It may be difficult to get the courage to seek treatment on your own, but it is important to do so. If you are experiencing the symptoms, seek the help of a loved one, and then seek professional help. It is especially important to seek help if you are having suicidal thoughts.

To treat the disorder, you can take medications such as mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety medications and anti-depressants. Even if one medication doesn’t work, you can always try others. Psychotherapy is also another viable treatment option. You can have family therapy, group therapy, and cognitive behavior therapy. With frequent and continuous treatment, the mood swings can lessen in occurrence and won’t interfere with your daily life. Seeking treatment is important for keeping the disorder under control.

If those treatment modalities do not seem to work, or if your symptoms are getting worse, there is now an Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in six peer reviewed treatment outcome studies.   Our programs provide services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan that can result in recovery.  Treatment for depression and anxiety can be highly successful.  Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.