Some forms of depression classify as "mood disorders" or mental disorders that involve changes in mood. Often mood disorders are a part of bipolar disorder, a form of depression characterized by major depressive episodes followed by mania or manic highs.
Cyclothymia is a type of mental health disorder similar to bipolar disorder, because it involves periods of depression and a form of high called "hypomania". Like dysthymia, cyclothymia is not as intense as bipolar disorder, but can be very chronic and thus disturb one's health and wellness.
Typically cyclothymia presents in young adults, and often lasts a lifetime. While many forms of depression are more common among women, cyclothymia is one of the few that men and women alike are susceptible to on equal terms. It often involves a hereditary or genetic component. That means if someone in you family has bipolar disorder or a related mood or mental health disorder, you are more at risk for developing cyclothymia during your lifetime.
Signs and Symptoms
Like bipolar disorder, cyclothymia often results in periods of depression and periods where one is slightly higher than usual. This state, called hypomania, is similar to mania but less intense.
Someone who is hypomanic often prefers to stay that way. They may feel better than usual, have more self-esteem than normal, talk very fast and engage in some riskier than normal behaviors. Unfortunately hypomania can also lead to greater irritability or anxiety.
Depression in patients with cyclothymia can be as intense as depression in bipolar disorder. Patients often report feeling overwhelmed, fatigued, sad, and guilty and feel at times suicidal. People with cyclothymia may also be critical of themselves, more so than others, and have a less positive attitude than the people around them.
Cyclothymia can interfere with your ability to focus and concentrate, which can increase your agitation and depression. This is one of many reasons you should seek care from your doctor if you suspect you may have cyclothymia or a related mental health disorder.
Cyclothymia can impact your life in many negative ways. It can destroy your ability to work well because of concentration problems, you may have trouble with your personal relationships and you may find you are not able to sleep well regularly.
Over time, your self-esteem can plummet and you may fall into a deeper depression, one that may prove life-threatening. The good news is you can treat cyclothymia. Like many other mood disorders, most doctors recommend a combination of treatments including medication therapy and psychotherapy.
As with any form of depression, it also helps to maintain a healthy lifestyle if you have cyclothymia, which means you need to eat well and exercise. You may also find joining a local or online support group helpful during times when you need to talk with other people that share your disorder for comfort and advice. Your doctor may be able to recommend a local support group you can attend if you need ongoing support and encouragement to overcome your condition.
Remember, the sooner you seek proper treatment, the more likely you are to feel your best no matter the type of mood disorder you suffer. Help is available, so take advantage of it and be the best you can be!