Cyclothymic Disorder is a condition on the spectrum of behaviors identified as Bipolar Disorder. It is characterized by rapid changes between manic “up” periods and depressive “down” periods.
Most people with Cyclothimic Disorder, unlike some other bipolar sufferers, are highly functioning individuals. Typically sufferers seek help during depressive cycles, as the extreme productivity of the manic cycle is not regarded as a problem. Down-cycle symptoms that lead to seeking treatment may include things such as difficulty making decisions, problems with concentration, lack of recall, guilt, self-criticism, low self-esteem, pessimism, self-destructive thinking, apathy, hopelessness, helplessness, irritability, quick temper, lack of motivation, social withdrawal, appetite change, self-neglect, fatigue, and insomnia.
As with other issues on the spectrum of bipolar disorder, treatment for Cyclothymic Disorder is primarily therapy based, with medication normally not a major part of the protocol. Among the different types of treatment that have been used with some measure of success are cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy. In some cases anti-seizure medications have been used. Patients with cyclothymic symptoms may also find their condition improved through institution of an exercise regimen, although not all doctors accept this as a useful form of treatment. Left untreated, symptoms usually worsen, and can lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors during depressive cycles.
Cyclothymic Disorder is typically diagnosed only in adults, although as with bipolar disorder, symptoms may begin appearing during adolescence and should be taken seriously. The manic phases of cyclothymism are often linked to extreme periods of creativity. Early recognition and treatment of some of the underlying symptoms, particularly of the depressive cycle may prove to be effective in reducing future impact of the condition.
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