Cyclothymia (or cyclothymic disorder) is a mood disorder similar to Bipolar Disorder, and is characterized by mild phases of depression and hypomania.

Adults are diagnosed with this condition after persisting symptoms for at least two years. In children and adolescents, it is diagnosed if the symptoms have been present for at least one year.

Characteristics of Cyclothymia

Cyclothymia is characterized by a
persistent mood instability . This means that the person suffering from this disorder shows periods of mild depression and euphoria. It usually appears in adulthood and follows a chronic course. Although it is common that for several months, the person suffering from cyclothymia shows a normal mood.

The cyclothymic is not aware of its mood swings, as they are relatively mild. In addition, the
euphoric periods are usually perceived as pleasant and therefore it is common for them not to seek psychological help.

About 30% of people with cyclothymic disorder may end up with bipolar disorder type I or type II. Frequently, cyclothymia progresses to type II and less frequently, to type I. The prevalence of cyclothymia is between 0.4 and 1% of cases and affects men and women equally.

What is hypomania?

hypomania is a mild mania. The hypomanic phase of cyclothymia is characterised by a high mood, euphoria, excitement and hyperactivity . During the state of hypomania, the cyclothymic subject has less need for sleep and rest, and shows himself to be full of energy. Although the symptoms of hypomania are milder than those of mania, they are also very destructive, causing conflicts and breakdowns in love relationships and friendships, affecting work, causing financial difficulties, etc.

Symptoms of Cyclothymia

The person with cyclothymia shows ups and downs in his or her mood. The following are the characteristic symptoms of the phases of depression and hypomania.

Symptoms of Hypomania

  • Mild euphoria
  • Agitation
  • Excessive physical activity
  • Risk behaviours
  • Endless energy
  • Verborragia
  • Desire and drive for success
  • High self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Thought acceleration
  • Attention deficit
  • An exaggerated feeling of happiness or well-being and extreme optimism
  • Lack of judgment
  • Aggressive or hostile behavior
  • Overspending
  • Increased sexual activity
  • Less need for sleep

Symptoms of mild depression

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Melancholy
  • Anxiety
  • Guilt feelings
  • Fatigue and lack of motivation
  • Lack of appetite or excessive intake
  • Loss of interest in activities previously considered enjoyable
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Concentration problems
  • Irritability

Treatment of cyclotimia

Cyclothymia causes many problems for the person suffering from this disorder. Therefore,
it is necessary to seek psychological help as soon as possible , as cyclothymia usually does not improve on its own and may progress to a more severe form of bipolar disorder.

Psychotherapy in Cyclothymia Intervention

If you know someone with cyclothymia, you need to talk openly and honestly with them. Although you cannot force an individual to
to go to therapy, it is possible to give you support and help you in difficult times.

psychological therapy is indicated to stabilize daily habits and seek the maximum possible regularity in the patient’s life.

Finally, people who live with the cyclothymic on a daily basis can also benefit from psychotherapy to better manage the situation, as living with an individual suffering from this disorder can be complex.

Pharmacological treatment of cyclotimia

In addition, drug treatment is also often used to treat cyclothymia and to alleviate its symptoms and signs in the short term. Among the most commonly used types of psychiatric drugs in this form of intervention based on a more psychiatric perspective, the drugs that have been shown to be most useful are mood stabilizers and sleep aids (in low doses).

In the case of combining pharmacological intervention in the treatment of cyclothymia with the psychotherapeutic approach, it is good that the latter addresses not only how to manage the way in which the disorder is experienced, but also how the patient can adapt to the use and effects of the psychothymic drugs.