Is a chronic bipolar disorder consisting of short
periods of mild depression and short periods of hypomania (lasting a few days to a few
weeks), separated by short periods of normal mood. Individuals with Cyclothymia (thymia:
from the Greek word for the mind) are never free of symptoms of either depression or
hypomania for more than two months at a time. Diagnostic criteria is as follows:
For at least 2 years,* the patient has had many periods of
hypomanic symptoms and many
periods of low mood that don't fulfill criteria for Major
The longest the patient has been free of mood swings during this
period is 2 months.
During the first 2 years of this disorder, the patient has not
fulfilled criteria for Manic, Mixed,
or Major Depressive Episode.
Schizoaffective disorder doesn't explain the disorder better, and
it isn't superimposed
on Schizophrenia, Schizophreniform Disorder, Delusional
Disorder or Psychotic Disorder
Not Otherwise Specified.
The symptoms are not directly caused by a general medical
condition or the use of
substances, including prescription medications.
These symptoms cause clinically important distress or impair work,
social or personal
Somatic or Sexual Dysfunction
Odd or Eccentric or Suspicious Personality
Dramatic or Erratic or Antisocial Personality
Some disorders have similar or even the same symptom. The
clinician, therefore, in his diagnostic attempt has to differentiate against the following
disorders which he needs to rule out to establish a precise diagnosis.
Mood Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition;
Substance-Induced Mood Disorder; Bipolar I Disorder, With Rapid Cycling; Bipolar II
Disorder, With Rapid Cycling; Borderline Personality Disorder.
Organic Mood Syndromes caused by: Acquired Immune
Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Cushing's Disease, Epilepsy, Fahr's Syndrome, Huntington's
Disease, Hyperthyroidism, Premenstrual Syndrome, Migraines, Multiple Sclerosis, Neoplasm,
Postpartum, Stroke, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Trauma, Uremia, Vitamin Deficiency,
Amphetamines, Antidepressants (treatment or withdrawal),
Baclofen, Bromide, Bromocriptine, Captopril, Cimetidine, Cocaine, Corticosteroids
(including ACTH), Cyclosporin, Disulfiram, Hallucinogens (intoxication and flashbacks),
Hydralazine, Isoniazid, Levodopa, Methylphenidate, Metrizamide (following myelography),
Opiates, Procarbazine, Procyclidine, Yohimbine.
Mood Disorder Episodes: | Major | Manic | Mixed | Hypomanic |
Genetic factors appear to be causative in Cyclothymia as
they do in the Bipolar Disorders. Many of those
affected have a family history of major depression, bipolar disorder, suicide or
In some cases individuals may prefer no treatment or
supportive psychotherapy alone. Lithium, a mood stabilizer used commonly in the treatment
of Bipolar Disorder, has been proven to help a substantial number of people with
Counseling and Psychotherapy [ See Therapy Section
or Family therapy is often sought to help with the problems in relationships brought on by
Pharmacotherapy [ See
Psychopharmacology Section ] :
Biomedical treatment of cyclothymic disorder should be empirically derived and should be
offered only if the individual's functioning is significantly adversely affected.
Valproic Acid (Depakene, Depakote)
In children and adolescents, the time required is only one
After the required 2 years (1 for children), a Manic, Mixed
or Major Depressive Episode may be superimposed on the Cyclothymia. Then, a Bipolar I or
II diagnosis may be made concomitant with Cyclothymic Disorder.
See our Mood Disorders Page for links