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Cyclothymia Related Questions

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with cyclothymia? What are the causes and possible treatments for cyclothymia? Each of us experience our share of high and low points in our daily life but a persistent cycle should raise warning flags of an inherent mental illness which can become difficult to discern. Therefore, to know more about these symptoms and recourse, professional opinions from mental health Experts can be useful.

Read below where Experts have answered a few questions regarding cyclothymia.  

What is cyclothymia?

Cyclothymia is considered a less severe case of Bipolar Spectrum or Bipolar 2 disorder. Therefore, similar to bipolar disorder, a person suffering from cyclothymia can experience mild to moderate depression, anxiety, hyperactivity and mood swings. Sometimes with cyclothymia, few people may have some criteria of a hypomanic episode without feeling the full impact of hypomania (high self-esteem and energy).  A person is diagnosed with cyclothymia if they have displayed a combination of symptoms over a period of two years. Without medication or treatment, cyclothymia can worsen.

Why does one develop cyclothymia?

Cyclothymia is typically brought on by internal bio-physiochemical events in the body. Therefore, it is not situational. Major life events, traumas may trigger episodes but depressive episodes based on situational issues are more a behavioral problem and not cyclothymia.

What medication can be used to treat cyclothymia?

Medication for cyclothymia is debatable and can vary based on the individual. Some medication which can help is anti-psychotics such as Seroquel at night and anti-depressent such as Cymbalta during the day. Cymbalta is also a Serotonic Norepinephrine Reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) which helps with anxiety. Typically, mood stabilizers such as Depakote, Epilim and Zyprexa are suitable as it helps regulate the mood and help one function better. The use of Lamotrigine or Lamictal is helpful too.

Are there alternate, natural methods to deal with cyclothymia?

Natural options, to help treat cyclothymia, work towards neurotransmitter health to correct the brain chemistry. The mood swings should try to be managed by consciously being aware or mindful. At the onset of a mood swing, one should try and remove themselves from the situation or the factor causing stress. Deep abdominal breathing helps reduce anxiety. One needs to make the effort to change the perspective of their thoughts. Try to alter negative internal dialog to positive or neutral thoughts. This is similar to behaving as your own cognitive behavioral therapist until you notice positive changes in your mood. Stress levels would also need to be managed effectively by doing things which you find worthy and pleasurable such as meditation, exercise, hobbies, spending time with others, and so on.

What is the treatment for cyclothymia?

Cyclothymia responds to a combination of therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy conducted by mental health professionals and medication that is administered to restore balance to the neurotransmitters. This disorder requires to be treated with mood stabilizers and medications which are considered effective but with a low rate of side effects.

How is cyclothymia related to bipolar disorder?

Cyclothymia is considered a milder version of bipolar disorder. A person with bipolar disorder experiences drastic or severe mood swings. A person initially diagnosed with cyclothymia has a higher chance of developing a bipolar disorder if the mood swings progressively worsen and drug/alcohol abuse is present.

Is there a connection between cyclothymia and OCD?

There are some studies which speak about a connection between cyclothymia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and of high comorbidity rates between the two. The intensity of OCD can vary and sometimes be described as ‘cycles’ of intensity. OCD is a type of anxiety disorder and anxiety is also a symptom of cyclothymia. Moreover, for a person suffering from OCD and cyclothymia, treating and managing cyclothymia will also reduce the severity of the OCD as well.

Is it normal for a person suffering from cyclothymia to hurt their loved ones during one of their episodes?

As mentioned earlier, cyclothymics can face bouts of hypomanic states marked by elevated energy levels and moods. This can often take the form of irritation and anger outbursts which is normal. Each person experiencing cyclothymia will have a behavioral pattern. Therefore, to treat these symptoms, the person needs to understand or learn their patterns to be able to differentiate the hypomanic anger outbursts especially when they know it is imminent. Once he/she is aware, they need to learn how to control themselves in these states with the help of behavioral tools or medication and try to return to normal state without reaching a complete hypomanic anger state.

For many of us, mental illness is a problem we do not want to deal with unless something overwhelming or major occurs but by then it may be far too complicated or difficult to return to normal. Cyclothymia is one such illness which when left undetected can lead to a more severe problem of bipolar disorder. Therefore, the key is to recognize and acknowledge the problem and work towards recovery. To get the support and information you need, verified mental health Experts are available online for your assistance. You can get quick and economical answers to your questions, anonymously from the privacy of your home. 

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