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High Blood Pressure > Related Conditions > Cyclothymic Disorder
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Cyclothymic Disorder

(Cyclothymia)


In this condition factsheet:


The Facts on Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder, also called cyclothymia, is a type of mood disorder where people experience numerous periods of mood "highs" and "lows" that are unrelated to life circumstances. The mood instability - mild elation or mild depression - is related to bipolar disorder (which was formerly known as manic depression) and is in fact considered to be a milder form of bipolar disorder.

Though less severe, cyclothymia can have great impact on a person's life, where unexpected and extreme mood changes disrupt the ability to function normally.

Both men and women are equally likely to suffer from cyclothymia, affecting up to 1% of the population. Cyclothymic disorder generally starts appearing during young adulthood, though it may also first occur at a later age.

Causes of Cyclothymic Disorder

The exact causes of cyclothymia are not known, but it is often a result of the same genetic factors that cause bipolar disorder. In fact, there is an estimated 15% to 50% risk that people with cyclothymia will eventually be diagnosed with bipolar disorder following a full-blown manic episode or major depression.

People with cyclothymic disorder usually have a family history of major depression, bipolar disorder, suicide, or alcohol or drug dependence.

Symptoms and Complications of Cyclothymic Disorder

Radical changes in mood and behaviour (alternating between highs and lows) are typical signs of cyclothymia.

During a mood "high," the person may feel very optimistic and cheerful and may have an increased drive to reach their goals. Unfortunately, this is often coupled with poor judgment, racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, and sometimes even aggressive behaviour. The "highs" of cyclothymia are similar to those of bipolar disorder but are less severe.

During a mood "low," the person has symptoms similar to depression: feeling sad and hopeless, losing interest in things they used to enjoy, feeling guilty or worthless, having trouble concentrating, thinking of suicide, and having problems with eating or sleeping. The "lows" of cyclothymia are similar to those seen in mild-to-moderate depression.

This continual - and unpredictable - mood cycling often takes its toll on an individual's life, even though altered mood episodes aren't as extreme as with bipolar disorder. Mood changes make it difficult to sustain enthusiasm for new projects or for work. Personal relationships tend to suffer from the "warm-cool" ups and downs of the person's mood. Over time, mood cycling can lead to repeated loss of employment and may become destructive to personal relationships.



 

Depression Symptom Checker Tool

The Depression Symptom Checker tool can help you learn about depression. Use this tool to create a list of your symptoms and rate how much the symptoms impact your life on a daily basis. The checklist is divided into 6 symptom categories that are associated with depression. You can also learn more about symptoms of depression here.

For each statement choose a number from 0 to 4 that describes the impact on your daily life, where 4 has the highest impact and 0 has no impact:

  • 0 = no impact on daily life/no symptoms
  • 1 = mild impact on daily life
  • 2 = moderate impact on daily life
  • 3 = severe impact on daily life
  • 4 = debilitating impact on daily life

It is important to remember that this is not a “score” but a way to help you communicate how much you feel the symptom impacts your daily life. When you finish you will be able to print out your symptoms and share this information with your doctor. Use the Doctor Discussion Guide to prepare for your doctor’s visit.

Rate how much the following symptoms apply to you.

1. Emotions

Depression can affect anyone at any age, although it most commonly appears between 15 and 45 years of age.

0 1 2 3 4
0 1 2 3 4
0 1 2 3 4
0 1 2 3 4

Visit your doctor with these results, when booking your appointment inform your doctor that you may need extra time to discuss these matters. Getting help for your depression can change your life. Don’t wait- depression is an illness that can, and should be treated.

Thoughts about death or suicide are common in depression, and it’s important to take such thoughts seriously. If you feel like giving up or as if you might hurt yourself, get help immediately: call your doctor, go to the emergency room or call 911.

This tool is adapted with permission from similar content found on www.depressionhurts.ca.

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