Cyclothymic disorder, also known as cyclothymia, is a relatively mild form of bipolar II disorder characterized by mood swings that may appear to be almost within the normal range of emotions. These mood swings range from mild depression, or dysthymia, to mania of low intensity, or hypomania. It is possible for cyclothymia to go undiagnosed, and for individuals with the disorder to be unaware that they have a treatable disease. Individuals with cyclothymia may experience episodes of low-level depression, known as dysthymia; periods of intense energy, creativity, and/or irritability, known as hypomania; or they may alternate between both mood states. Like other bipolar disorders, cyclothymia is a chronic illness
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In clinical settings, women with Cyclothymic Disorder may be more likely to present for treatment than men (Mental Health Today). The hypomanic, or 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 might last for four or more days, and then alternate with periods of mildly depressive symptoms such as sadness, pessimism, fatigue, feeling guilty, trouble concentrating and changes in sleep or appetite. For a person to be diagnosed with the disorder, this alternation persists for at least two years (Colino, 2005). Although cyclothymic and chronic hypomanic dispositions contribute to success in business, leadership, achievement, and artistic creativity in some persons, they more often have serious detrimental interpersonal and social sequelae. Cyclothymic instability is particularly likely to be manifested in an uneven work and schooling history; impulsive, frequent changes of residence; repeated romantic or marital breakups; and an episodic pattern of alcohol and drug abuse (Merck.com).
Patients with cyclothymic disorder are estimated to constitute from 310% of all psychiatric outpatients. They may be particularly well represented among those with complaints about marital and interpersonal difficulties. In the general