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Cyclothymic disorder is a mood disorder that is similar in many ways to bipolar disorder, yet symptoms are often not as intense. It is not as common as bipolar disorder and seems to affect men and women at the same rate. Left untreated, however, cyclothymic disorder can increase an individual’s risk of developing a more serious mood disorder. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this condition.
What Are Mood Disorders?
Everybody has their own varying emotional states that they experience internally. These feelings are deep-rooted in our personalities and affect everything from our personalities to our behavior. While we will all experience different mood swings throughout our lives, our baseline of emotions should remain relatively stable.
Mood disorders, sometimes called affective disorders, are characterized by significant disruption to a person’s normal baseline. A person struggling with a mood disorder often experiences a cycle of intense highs and extreme lows. Extreme highs are synonymously referred to as mania, manic episodes, or hypomania (a more mild form of typical mania). On the other hand, extreme lows are known as depression or depressive episodes.
When a person is experiencing a manic episode, they experience a period of high energy and an unusually elevated emotional state. People often experience racing thoughts, an exaggerated sense of ego, and restlessness. Additionally, during manic states, a person might be a lot more irritable or productive than usual. They may also seem cavalier in their personal relationships.
During a depressive episode, a person will experience the opposite symptoms of a manic episode. They will have extremely low energy and experience disruptions to their sleep and eating habits. Feelings of hopelessness and a variety of other negative emotions are also common. Because of the symptoms of depression, a person will often have trouble functioning normally in their daily lives.
Characteristics of Cyclothymic Disorder
If a person is struggling with symptoms of cyclothymic disorder, they will experience noticeable shifts between manic states and depressive states. Sometimes they will feel confident, happy, and seem totally on top of everything in their lives. At other times, they will feel particularly low and depressed. In between these highs and lows, they will also have times when they maintain a stable emotional state.
The highs and lows of cyclothymic disorder are usually much less intense than the highs and lows of bipolar disorder. People who are struggling with cyclothymic disorder can still function pretty normally in their daily lives. This does not necessarily mean that they are functioning well, as they will likely experience difficulty completing tasks and fulfilling responsibilities. Additionally, a person experiencing cyclothymic disorder will often feel unsettled and anxious because they are unsure of how they will feel day to day.
Obtaining a Diagnosis of Cyclothymic Disorder
In order to determine whether a person is experiencing cylothymic disorder, they would need to see a medical professional. Reaching out to a primary healthcare provider is often the first step toward proper diagnosis and treatment. The sooner an individual can start seeking professional support, the sooner they can being to recover.
A medical professional will likely do a physical examination first. As with any mental health issue, it is important to first rule out any physical cause of symptoms. The next step might be to work with a mental health professional to undergo a psychological evaluation and logging a written record of changes in mood. This will help everyone obtain a clearer picture of what is going on.
Treatment of Cyclothymic Disorder
Cyclothymic disorder is something that will require lifelong treatment. Generally, it is treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. There is no medication specifically designed for the treatment of cyclothymic disorder. Instead, doctors may use medication designed for other mental health issues that can help with symptom management.
One of the more common psychotherapies used for cyclothymic disorder is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a popular, evidenced-based therapy that has been effective in the treatment of many different mental health challenges. It focuses on the relationship between a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior. CBT helps people recognize harmful patterns in their thoughts and behaviors and helps them develop healthier coping strategies.
The aim of treatment is to reduce the severity of symptoms first and foremost so that the individual can begin to feel better and function well in their lives. It is also important to reduce the risk of cyclothymic disorder developing into a more serious mood disorder, such as bipolar disorder. The scope of treatment should also address any co-occurring disorders that may develop.
Where to Find Support and Services
For those experiencing troubling thoughts or behaviors that are affecting their ability to function well in your life, there is help available for you. Reach out to someone you love if you are nervous to seek help from a medical professional. Moral support can make all the difference when it comes to mental health. Together you can decide what your next step should be.
Alter Wellness Care is committed to helping people conquer their mental health challenges. We want to make sure that every one of our clients feels safe, comfortable, and respected. From the receptionist to the primary care professionals our excellent team will make sure that you feel like you are in good hands.
Experiencing extreme mood swings can be confusing and overwhelming. If you have concerns for yourself or a loved one that is experiencing disruptive emotional states, it can be essential to seek support from a mental health professional. It is important to address mental health challenges because if they are left untreated they often worsen over time. Alter Wellness Care can help you in every aspect of mental health treatment, from diagnostic services to individualized treatment plans. We offer a variety of services and resources that can help you with any mental health challenges. Call us at (866) 311-3510 today for more information on our unique approach to mental health treatment.