Bipolar Disorder Community
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589461 tn?1286436465

Cyclothemia? any info gratefully accepted

hi, am new on this forum i had my 1st psychiatrist appointment on wednesday and have been told i may have cyclothemia.
i know this is like a mild version of bi-polar, but i would really like a bit more information. Can anyone help???
8 Responses
607502 tn?1288251140
Welcome aboard then.

Basically once upon a time there was a catch all term for mood disorders called Manic Depression -- this has now split thanks to research into 3 core diagnostic silo's if you like - the actual symptoms of the silo's can vary but there are generally a number of core ones which are used in diagnosis - these are most commonly referred to as diagnostic criteria in a book known as DSM-IV - this stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders nd the IV is because its in its 4th revision - V is due in 2012 apparently.

The three silo's are Bipolar Type I, Bipolar Type 2 and Cyclothymia - 1 being the most severe and Cyclothymia being the most moderate - though all 3 can be crippling and serious in their own phases.

DSM-IV defines Cyclothymia thus - "The essential feature of Cyclothymic Disorder is a chronic, fluctuating mood disturbance involving numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms (see Hypomanic Episode) and numerous periods of depressive symptoms"

The hypomanic and depressive episodes all tend to be less severe than those of Bipolar patients but more common - less pronounced more common mood swings is a quick way of saying it I guess, from what I know and have read it tends to be mood swings rather than full state changes but that may or may not be true.  Cyclothymia is considered the least severe because those with the disorder do not suffer from the deep depressive phases and the manic or acute manic phases - hallucinations, delusions, psychoses and dysphoria are not part of their progressions nor are sucidial thoughts normally - its more feeling high and then feeling depressed.

What I can do is point you at some reading resources and then hope someone who suffers from this from our membership can give you some more info.

(in each case add http:// to links if needed)
For some general info start with wikipedia here : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclothymia
Black Dog institute has some great resources on bipolar in general here : www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/public/bipolardisorder/bipolardisorderexplained/index.cfm
Beyond Blue in Australia has a whole pile of factsheets on a variety of depression and other related stuff here : http://www.beyondblue.org.au/index.aspx?link_id=7.980

Those are some starters - if you want to find out more on criteria most libraries carry copies of DSM-IV or you can buy one (they are expensive around $80US but you can find them second hand especially if you live near a University) if you are so interested - I picked mine up second hand for about $40 AU a few years ago).

Hope there's some helpful info in there for you.
539694 tn?1434569547
Im just heading out the door sorry. Add me later i have some information on it.
Avatar universal
What medication did the Doctor say would work best?
589461 tn?1286436465
i am being kept on Citalopram, although my dosage may be upped, but they are looking at mood stabilisers in about 6 weeks after i have spent some time tracking my mood changes
Avatar universal
Hi skram!
That was my basic diagnosis as well, though, you can though not often get suicidal. SSRI's only helped the situation temporarily. I was on citalopram for a year, and it cause me anxiety at higher levels. Personally, mood stabilzers help a heck of a lot more. I was told one of the key things is that the ssri's poop out after a while with cyclothemia, and I am a text book example of that. I went on for 15 years switching. The mood tracker on this site is great, I print mine when I take it to my pdoc! I can have a few mood swings a day, including anxiety.. The most important things to keep you healthy include getting a regular sleep pattern going and I find eating 3 meals a day. Stay away from stimulants such as coffee or caffeinated sodas. Watch for things that trigger you and have an action plan on how to deal with them. You are your best advocate. Though meds will help, expect to still have mood swings, it's part of BP that won't go away but YOU can moderate them with self care.  I hope this helps and best of luck, Jane
636562 tn?1223671045
Hello! I was also diagnosed with Cyclothymia, but I have wondered if my diagnosis would more appropriately be Bipolar II.  I constantly cycle with no normal periods (or normal periods lasting 1-2 days), it is BEYOND aggravating!

There is a very good, little known book called "Soft Bipolar: Vivid Thoughts, Mood Shifts and Swings, Depression, and Anxiety of the Mild Mood Disorders" by Dr. Charles K. Bunch.

As monkeyc said, Cyclothymia is the mildest of the 3 Bipolar disorders, it is characterized by more frequent, but less mild, mood fluctuations.  There is some excellent information on the web if you want to google "Cyclothymia", "Soft Bipolar", or "Bipolar Spectrum".  

A little about my personal experience :  I had a few mood problems as a teenager, particularly in high school and college.  I had a violent temper, but would only have outbursts every 2-3 months or so.  After college, in my early 20's is when my depression really started and when I first sought help.  At first the therapist diagnosed me only with depression, I wasn't aware that I was "cycling" at the time.  

I knew something was wrong with me but could never put my finger on it, I never knew how I was going to feel from day to day or week to week.  I never wanted to make plans or make new friends because I never knew what kind of mood I would be in when it was time to go out.  I had mild hypomanic periods where I would spend a little more, get a flood of ideas about various things, starting my own business, picking up a new art medium, getting involved in volunteer work, taking on new responsibilities, making new friends....etc.   But inevitably the "high" wore off and I sunk into a mild depression....I would ignore the new friends, feel guilty about the new things I bought, abandon my multiple projects, box up new hobbies, etc.

This went on and on and on......finally I went to a different therapist about 5 years ago who diagnosed me with Cyclothymia.  Suddenly everything (well ALMOST everything) in my life fell into place.  I did a lot of research and learned to understand and recognize my symptoms.  I can't say that I manage my disorder very well.....I'm still working it all out......but educating yourself is the very first step! And it's a very important step!

People with Cyclothymia can manage their symptoms pretty well with medication and talk-therapy.  I can't tell you how important it was for me to research and educate myself on my disorder.....just reading the explanations and descriptions for my symptoms made me feel more sane!

I hope your doctor's visit goes well! There are several checklists on the web that you can print out and take with you to the doctors office, you may want to google "Cyclothymia Checklist" and see if you can find one.  These help give the doctor an idea of how severe and extensive your symptoms are.

Hope this information helps!
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