What Is Cyclothymic Disorder?

a person sits on a couch in therapy possibly asking what is cyclothymic disorder

Cyclothymic disorder, otherwise known as cyclothymia, is a relative of bipolar disorder that appears in up to one percent of the world’s population. Like bipolar disorder, those with cyclothymia suffer from emotional instability with extreme highs and lows but with shorter duration and lesser intensity. That comes with the trade-off of more frequent episodes, with little to no stability in between. As a result, having cyclothymia can feel erratic, overwhelming, and disruptive, not only to those who have it but to the people around them. Finding cyclothymic disorder treatment could help to relieve symptoms of the disorder, making life feel more manageable.

Cyclothymic Disorder Symptoms

The nature of cyclothymic disorder is more easily thought of as an interaction between two conditions. As a result, those with cyclothymia suffer from both mania and depression, which can have mental and physical tolls from switching between the two for extended periods.

Signs of a manic episode are:

  • Euphoric happiness
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Increased motivation
  • Poor risk consideration
  • Poor impulse control
  • Insufficient sleep
  • Lack of focus
  • Agitation
  • Lack of concentration

Depressive episodes often display symptoms like:

  • Chronic sadness
  • Disinterest or apathy
  • Irritability
  • Overly lethargic
  • Fatigue
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Sense of hopelessness
  • Intense feelings of guilt and shame
  • Low self-esteem

Trying to cope with the fall from mania to depression is often where many people begin to abuse drugs. Several types of drugs seemingly recapture the overly-inflated feelings of self-worth and euphoria but come at the cost of withdrawal, addiction, and the significant health risks of recreational drug use. The elevating transition from a depressed state to a manic one can induce a false sense of recovery and accomplishment. This sense can reduce the urgency of treatment and, as a result, may allow for the development of other mental and substance use disorders.

Cyclothymic Disorder and Addiction

Addiction tends to feed off of cognitive bias toward positive rewards. Breaking free from addiction is already a huge undertaking, so individuals with cyclothymic disorder often find the challenge even more significant. People with cyclothymia have a reduced sense of risk awareness during manic episodes and are more vulnerable to substance use disorders.

Cyclothymia is not the only affective disorder that can worsen addiction. Still, its tendency to go undiagnosed means it can have wide-ranging and damaging side effects beyond the usual symptoms. People living with cyclothymic disorder can often go their whole lives without a diagnosis due to how their symptoms may fall short of the typical signs of bipolar disorder. Many people eventually self-medicate with alcohol or other depressants, leading to a cascade of other mental and physical health issues.

Treatment for Cyclothymic Disorder

Fortunately, cyclothymic disorder treatment is available. The main treatments for cyclothymia are medications and psychotherapy. These therapies should help ease relapses, reduce extreme emotional swings, and address any substance use issues a person may have. Cyclothymia can worsen addictive tendencies, so dual diagnostic treatment for both cyclothymia and addiction may be the best course of action.

Treatment is often a lifelong commitment, involving initial discussions with a physician about thoughts, feelings, and behaviors at regular check-ins and assessments. Dual diagnosis treatment for alcohol or other substance use problems is essential since they can worsen cyclothymia symptoms.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Northpoint Washington

You can find dual diagnosis treatment for cyclothymic and substance use disorders at Northpoint Washington. Our approach to dual diagnosis treatment addresses both the addiction and the mental wellness components with medication and psychotherapy programs.

If you or a loved one needs help dealing with cyclothymic disorder, contact us to learn more about how our specialized treatment can make a difference on the road to recovery. Don’t hesitate to call our team at Northpoint Washington today at 888.450.2153 or complete our simple web form for more information.