Yoram Yasur Blume: What is Cyclothymia?

Cyclothymia, also known as cyclothymic disorder, must be correctly differentiated from bipolarity. Cyclothymia describes a chronic fluctuation of mood that refers to periods of mild depression (symptoms not as severe as major depression) and hypomania (phases of mild euphoria). This instability will also be accompanied by months in which there can be a normal state of mind.

Yoram Yasur Blume: The cyclothymic person is not aware of this fluctuation, and the fact that the state of euphoria is pleasant implies that it is often difficult for them to seek psychological help.

How is the Cyclothymia different from Bipolarity?

Before continuing and theoretically answering the question, it is fundamental and important not to forget that only a health professional specialized in the area of ​​mental health will be the only one who can truly determine whether or not there is a mental disorder, and in this case, who can diagnose cyclothymia or bipolarity.

Yoram Yasur Blume: Cyclothymia has been classified as a mild bipolar disorder. Both are characterized by such intense changes in mood, ranging from mania to depression, including phases of emotional stability. However, the difference between both diagnoses or disorders lies in the intensity of the symptoms. In cyclothymia it is a mild depressive symptomatology and hypomania, while in bipolarity it is a state of major depression and mania. That is, the intensity of the symptoms of bipolar disorder implies that there is greater severity, discomfort and harm -without forgetting that we are talking about generalizations- in the person’s life.

Emphasizing this idea, the symptoms associated with cyclothymia are shorter in duration and less dramatic, sometimes they can even go unnoticed or normalize as something else from day to day or from one’s personality.

Symptoms of the Cyclothymia

As we have previously described, cyclothymia is characterized by three phases: a “normal” state of mind, a mild depressive phase and a hypomania phase. Next, we will describe the symptoms of these last two phases:

Symptoms of hypomania

Yoram Yasur Blume: The first thing we have to understand is mania. Mania is completely the opposite of depression, which is why it is usually described as an excessive state of euphoria or exaltation. Regarding hypomania, it refers to it being a mild manic state, so the symptoms are less than in the manic phase (associated with bipolarity).

Other characteristics of hypomania are:

  • Decreases the need for sleep
  • Increased sexual activity
  • Increased physical activity
  • Agitation
  • Grandiosity (such as very high self-esteem)
  • Lack of judgment when making decisions
  • Impulsiveness
  • Exacerbated optimism
  • Risk behaviors
  • Verbiage
  • Acceleration of thought
  • Irritability

Symptoms of mild depression

As we have discussed in other articles, it is important to differentiate depression from sadness. In this case, we are going to talk about a mild depression that indicates that the symptoms associated with this phase do not reach the severity of a major depression, although they can be distressing.

Some of the symptoms are:

  • Deep sadness
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Hopelessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feeling like crying or crying
  • Anhedonia or loss of interest
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Decreased appetite
  • Sleeping problems
  • Autolytic ideas (not so frequent)

If you suffer from these symptoms, even if they are not all, it is important that you consult a professional.

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