184. Cyclothymia

Just as there is a milder cousin of depression called dysthymia, so too there is a milder occurrence of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia.

Like bipolar disorder, cyclothymia has high and low phases, though the highs are not as high and the lows not as low as full-blown bipolar.

The upbeat phase features symptoms such as elevated mood, increased self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, an increase in goal-directed activity, and excessive involvement in pleasurable activities. These symptoms may last 4 or 5 days and are followed by an alternate phase of mild depression symptoms such as sadness, pessimism, fatigue, feeling guilty, trouble concentrating and changes in sleep or appetite.

Though these symptoms may be manageable, if they persist for two years or more, intervention should be taken because 50% of those with cyclothymia end up with bipolar disorder, and major depression is also a higher risk.

The American Psychiatric Association estimates that 2.2 million U.S. adults have cyclothymia, about half as many as those with bipolar disorder. But as bipolar disorders have gained visibility in the clinical community and popular culture, cyclothymia is being identified and treated more often.

About Patrick Day

In 2010, I escaped from four long years of deep, dark depression. This blog shares lessons I learned from those years as depicted in my autobiography - How I Escaped from Depression - as well as other insights about depression and anxiety that only come from someone who has gone through it. When you have a heart attack, you become an expert in heart attacks. When you have diabetes, you become an expert in that condition. As such, I am an expert in depression, with a four-year experiential degree and graduate studies in how to live a life going forward that keeps the ever-lurking Depression at a healthy distance.
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