Cyclothymia

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Cyclothymia (pronounced /ˌsaɪklɵˈθaɪmiə/ or /ˌsɪklɵˈθaɪmiə/) is a mood disorder that causes hypomanic and mild depressive episodes. It is defined in the bipolar spectrum. Specifically, this disorder is a milder form of bipolar II disorder consisting of recurrent mood disturbances between hypomania and dysthymic mood. A single episode of hypomania is sufficient to diagnose cyclothymic disorder; however, most individuals also have dysthymic periods. The diagnosis of cyclothymic disorder is not made when there is a history of mania or major depressive episode or mixed episode. The lifetime prevalence of cyclothymic disorder is 0.4-1%. The rate appears equal in men and women, though women more often seek treatment. Unlike some forms of bipolar disorder (specifically, bipolar I disorder), people with cyclothymia are almost always fully functioning; sometimes even hyper-productive.

Cyclothymia is similar to bipolar II disorder in that it presents itself in signature hypomanic episodes. Because hypomania is often associated with exceptionally creative, outgoing, and high-functioning behavior, both conditions are often undiagnosed. Typically, like most of the disorders in the bipolar spectrum, it is the depressive phase that leads most sufferers to get help.

Contents

Differential diagnosis

This disorder is common in the relatives of patients with bipolar disorder and some individuals with cyclothymia eventually develop bipolar disorder themselves. It may persist throughout adult life, cease temporarily or permanently, or develop into more severe mood swings meeting the criteria for bipolar disorder or recurrent depressive disorder in rare cases.

Symptoms

Dysthymic phase

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