Cyclothymia is a mood disorder similar to bipolar disorder but with less severe extremes. Sufferers alternate between episodes of depression and mania, without meeting the full criteria for either manic or major depressive episodes. Cyclothymic mood swings interfere with but do not prevent overall functioning. Mood instability affects all relationships in a person’s life as well as their ability to perform general responsibilities at work. Cyclothymia is also able to lead to substance abuse, compounding the problem and making the need for treatment that much more urgent.
Symptoms of Mania
- Mood swings that do not prevent functioning
- Extreme optimism
- Racing thoughts
- Engaging in risky behavior
- Increased sexual drive
Symptoms of Depression
- Trouble concentrating
- Decreased appetite
- Suicidal thoughts
Mood swings that are associated with Cyclothymia are most likely a result of a person’s brain chemistry. Heredity plays an important role and medical history should be seriously consulted. A patient’s environment may also affect their mood swings by causing excess stress.
Because the cause of Cyclothymia is thought to be in the brain, medication is the most likely treatment. Anytime medication is being taken a patient should be seeing a therapist regularly to monitor for significant changes. Therapy is used in conjunction with medication to enable a patient to reach the best possible outcomes.
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