Cyclothymia also known as cychlothymic disorder and chronic bipolar disorder is a persistent instability of mood characterized with frequent periods of mild elation (hypomania) and mild depression.
Hypomania also known as a hypomanic state is the mildest degree of mania characterized with optimism, euphoria and tireless activity and uninhibited behavior. There are two sides to hypomania. One is exiting and can be positive (bright side) and the other can be exiting but it is usually negative (dark side)
"Bright side" of hypomania: When in this state a person has a lot of energy, many ideas and is able to work without taking a break.
This is why hypomania is sometimes called "an artistic disorder". Aside from being a hard worker a person can also be very charming and entertaining, which makes him or her a perfect date.
"Dark side" of hypomania: Due to the uninhibited behavior, a person in this state can act in impropriate and embarrassing way. They can be mean and offensive to people around them. In addition, a person can be preoccupied with unrealistic schemes and solutions to problems which result is ignoring anything else including job, spouse or children.
Another part of cyclothymia is mild depression. Episodes of mild depression usually follow hypomania and cause an individual to feel and act as if they are different person. For example, when in a hypomanic state Bob is very optimistic and capable of doing anything, however, when Bob is mildly depressed he is pessimistic and has very low self-esteem.
As you can see, even though cyclothymia is not as serious as bipolar disorder or major depression, it can still cause a lot of hardships to a person suffering from it. A man can go from being charming and supportive to being aggressive and moody many times per month throughout the year without an apparent reason.
For people suffering from cyclothymia, self-medicating with alcohol or illegal drugs is common. This is unfortunate because alcohol will only make them more depressed if they are in depressive stage of cyclothymia.
Alcohol is never the solution to any problem in life especially for depression, because alcohol is a depressant. The only thing alcohol is doing for you, is making you more vulnerable and creating more problems. This is why alcohol and depression should never be mixed.
Symptoms of Cyclothymia
• Frequent mood swings from hypomania to mild depression
• Interpersonal problems due to the personality changes
• Self medication with alcohol
• Inability to maintain a job or relationship
• Functional impairment produced by unpredictable mood change
• The essential feature is frequent mood change between hypomania and mild depression.
• Period of hypomania and depression last for a least couple of days and take place many times per year for at least two years.
• Period that the individual has been free of mood swings is no longer that two month.
• Symptoms are not caused by the use of medication or medical illness.
• During the first two years, an individual did not experience manic, mixed or major depressive episode.
• Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorders are excluded.
Cognitive behavioral therapy as well as family therapy can be very helpful in treating cychlothymia. An individual suffering from this disorder can be taught how to live with this disorder if he or she cannot be cured.
Living with cyclothymic disorder is sometimes very difficult despite psychotherapy. When this is the case, mood stabilizers should be used but only under the professional supervision and participation in psychotherapy.
In order for a therapy to be successful, any alcohol or substance abuse must be stopped. If a person is an alcoholic or has problems with alcohol, he or she must be in alcohol counseling. Remember alcohol is never part of solution but a part of a problem.
In the end, for any treatment to be successful, including treatment for cyclothymia, you must be persistent and never lose hope no matter how difficult it may be sometimes. Cyclothymia sabotaged your life long enough. Now it is your turn to sabotage and beat cyclothymia.