What is Cyclothymia

What is Cyclothymia and is it Treatable?

“Mental illness: People assume you aren’t sick unless they see the sickness on your skin like scars forming a map of all the ways you’re hurting.” – Emm Roy, The First Step

The umbrella term “mental illness” still has the ability to strike fear into the hearts of our modern civilisation. In some cultures, and civilisations, there is still as much as a stigma attached to being mentally ill as has been historically observed.

In plain terms, people who have been diagnosed with disorders of the psyche and brain are not seen in the same vein as people with physical ailments like cancer, influenza, broken limbs, or even amputations.

Modern science has a minimal grasp of the magnitude of the impact of mental health disorders on our society and individuals. However, scientists are continually striving to improve their knowledge on the structure of the brain, how it functions, how psychiatric disorders develop, and their diagnosis and treatment.

The good news is that current research is continuing to provide medical specialists like psychiatrists and psychologists with evidence-based outcomes to be able to diagnose and treat sufferers more accurately. Thereby; improving the quality of life for many people diagnosed with one or more of these disorders and their comorbid conditions.

Cyclothymia: Definitions and treatments

As noted above, there are many different types of psychiatric disorders; however, this article is only concerned with Cyclothymic Disorder (or Cyclothymia): its definition, diagnosis, and treatment.


According to www.psychologytoday.com, Cyclothymia is defined as a “form of bipolar disorder characterized by distinct episodes of hypomanic symptoms (elevated mood and euphoria) and depressive symptoms over… at least two years.”

Succinctly stated, bipolar disorder is a psychiatric illness that is characterised by extreme episodes of manic and depressive moods. These episodes, especially the manic episode disconnects the diagnosed person from reality. The term “bipolar” relates to two polar opposites.

Cyclothymia is a type of bipolar disorder; however, the moods swings do not develop into full blown episodes, and they do not disconnect the sufferer from reality. They are also not severe enough to prevent the sufferer from being able to fulfil his/her daily functions.


Most psychiatric illnesses are diagnosed using a combination of bloodwork, psychiatric examination, and physical exam. The challenge facing psychiatrists or mental health specialists is that there are very few biological markers that can be set to determine the boundaries between different disorders.

Each illness has a number of listed symptoms [n], and, in order for a patient to be diagnosed with a particular condition, s(he) has to meet certain criterion [x] within [n]. Therefore, it stands to reason that it might take a number of sessions with a medical expert before a final diagnosis can be made.


Equally importantly, Cyclothymia can be managed and treated. It might not be curable, but there are various treatments according to Karen Doll that will improve the diagnosee’s quality of life and allow for optimal daily functioning.

It is vital to understand that being diagnosed with a mental health challenge or psychiatric illness like Cyclothymia is not a death sentence. The diagnosis is a starting point or reference point to improve the quality of your life. By seeking treatment for this condition, you will more than likely be prescribed a combination of psychotherapy and medication to help you manage and control Cyclothymia.

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