Cyclothymic disorder is just one of many different types of mood disorders. People with these disorders generally experience extreme fluctuations in emotions that are inconsistent with their circumstances. For instance, they may feel very sad, happy, depressed, or any combination of these plus other moods, which interfere with the ability to function or carry out daily activities.
Cyclothymic disorder, also known as cyclothymia, is a mood disorder similar to bipolar disorder where people experience highs and lows that can become increasingly disruptive. Without proper treatment, it may develop into a more serious condition known as bipolar disorder. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mood disorder such as cyclothymia, we encourage you to contact Blair Wellness Group to make an appointment with a highly experienced and dedicated psychotherapist in Beverly Hills.
Understanding Cyclothymic Disorder
Cyclothymic disorder is often referred to as the third type of bipolar disorder. It affects up to one percent of the population and often appears in adolescence or early adulthood. People with this mood disorder experience the trademark highs and lows that are common with bipolar disorder, however, their emotional swings are not as severe or prolonged. Even so, it is estimated that up to fifty percent of those who struggle with cyclothymia will go on to develop a more serious form of bipolar disorder.
People with cyclothymia usually experience many weeks of low-level depression followed by an episode of mild hypomania that lasts several days. Although most can function with their symptoms, the unpredictability of them can pose a challenge to everyday life.
The following are examples of some of the depressive symptoms that one may experience:
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Feelings of sadness
- Trouble sleeping
- Changes in eating habits
- Excess fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of motivation
- Social withdrawal
When someone is experiencing high or manic symptoms, they may look like this:
- Excessive talking or speaking very quickly
- Euphoria or feelings of profound happiness
- Increased anxiety
- Lack of focus
- Inflated self-esteem
- Decreased need for sleep
- Racing thoughts
- Excessive physical activity
- Reckless thrill-seeking
Hypomanic and depressive symptoms are also commonly associated with other mood disorders as well as various health conditions, medications, and substance abuse. Because of this, and because many people are still able to function despite their disorder, it can be difficult to determine how many people actually suffer from cyclothymia.
Complications Related to Cyclothymia
Although cyclothymia is considered to be a less severe form of bipolar disorder, that doesn’t mean that it can’t affect every area of your life. Many people who struggle with this disorder never receive treatment, but choosing to just deal with the symptoms on your own can result in greater complications including problems with relationships, substance abuse, and an increased risk for developing bipolar disorder or another type of mental health condition.
Like many mental health disorders, the development of cyclothymia can be influenced by a variety of biological and environmental factors. There is a strong correlation to genetics as it has been found that people tend to have a higher risk of developing the disorder if one or more of their family members also had a mood disorder. Even if someone has no prior family history of the disorder, each person’s unique brain chemistry can play a part in its development.
Environmental factors — specifically situations that cause significant stress — are also thought to influence mental health disorders, and Cyclothymia is no exception. As with the other forms of bipolar disorder, experiencing one or more traumatic events either as a child or in adulthood can increase your risk of developing it.
Diagnosing Cyclothymic Disorder
Because many of the symptoms associated with cyclothymia overlap with other types of mental health disorders, it can be challenging to diagnose. In general, those with cyclothymic disorder will have several periods of hypomania and depression that significantly affect daily life. Symptoms should be present for at least two years with stable moods not lasting for more than two months at a time. In addition to this, it must also be determined that a person’s symptoms are not caused by another mental health condition or substance misuse.
Even though all of these conditions must be met in order to make a clinical diagnosis of cyclothymia, each person is different and may have varying degrees of the disorder, or a combination of several disorders. If you feel as though your moods control you instead of the other way around, it’s important to know that psychotherapy is considered to be one of the most effective treatments for cyclothymia as well as other mood disorders such as Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2. The worst thing you can do is to ignore your symptoms or just assume “that’s just the way you are.”
Treatment for Cyclothymic Disorder
Mood disorders rarely go away on their own, and in fact, they often get worse over time. Like many other mental health conditions, mood disorders are easier to treat early on before symptoms become more severe or you develop additional complications. That’s why, if you feel like your moods are interfering with your relationships, work, or other areas of your life, or you’re finding that you’re turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drugs or alcohol, it’s important to seek the help you need as soon as possible.
At Blair Wellness Group, we specialize in treating all types of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and addiction. Under the expert care of renowned Licensed Clinical Psychologist Dr. Cassidy Blair, clients can benefit from her unique and personalized approach to treatment in a caring environment that nurtures resilience and positive mental health.
If you’re looking for a psychotherapist in Beverly Hills who can provide you with the support and guidance you need to overcome your personal and mental health challenges so you can live a more satisfying life, we encourage you to give us a call. We offer lunchtime, evening, and weekend appointments, seven days a week and service clients in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Brentwood, and the surrounding area.
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