Cyclothymic Disorder Treatment
Cyclothymic disorder, a mild form of bipolar disorder, is characterized by mood swings ranging from manic highs to depressive lows.
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The mood swings associated with cyclothymic disorder are not as severe as in bipolar disorder and hence, the sufferer often tends to ignore them. However, if left undiagnosed, the disorder can disrupt the daily functioning of an individual’s life and can give way to a full-blown bipolar disorder.
A person suffering from cyclothymic disorder may sometimes feel elated, while at other times, he/she might feel very low. However, between such phases, the patient can have periods of “normal mood” as well. The pattern of the mood swing is unpredictable and can occur without any warning.
Symptoms of Cyclothymic Disorder
A person suffering from a cyclothymic disorder can experience hypomanic (feelings of elation) symptoms and depressive symptoms that do not usually meet the criteria for a major depressive episode. The symptoms of a hypomanic episode include:
- feelings of elation and excitement
- increased energy levels
- racing thoughts
- irritability and restlessness
- aggressiveness and lack of concentration power
- increased sexual tendencies
Other symptoms involving depressive episodes are:
- constant blues
- feelings of helplessness and guilt
- low self-esteem
- distancing oneself from others
- lack of concentration and decision-making capability
- lack of sleep or excessive sleeping
The symptoms of cyclothymic disorder can periodically prevail for a period of two years for adults and one year for children and adolescents. In fact, the symptoms are not absent for more than two consecutive months.
Diagnosing Cyclothymic Disorder
Symptoms of cyclothymic disorder can often be confusing, thus, there are chances that the disorder can be misdiagnosed as bipolar II or borderline personality disorder. The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) published by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013 highlighted certain diagnostic criteria for the disorder:
- The episodes of elevated moods i.e. hypomanic symptoms and episodes of depressive symptoms should occur for at least two years in case of adults and one year in case of children and adolescents.
- These symptoms should be prevalent for at least two months at a time.
- During the first two years of the disorder, the individual should not show any signs of major depressive episodes or any other manic or mixed episodes.
- The symptoms should not superimpose the occurrence of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.
- The symptoms should not be caused by substance abuse or some other medical condition.
- The daily life, both personal and professional, is significantly impacted by the disorder.
The diagnosis can be made by a medical consultant specializing in cyclothymic disorder treatment. Some of the methods followed during the diagnosis of the disorder are:
- Physical examination through laboratory tests that can identify any other underlying medical condition responsible for the disorder.
- Psychological assessment of mental state through different psychological evaluations that helps understand the patient better. Friends and family members can also be urged to be a part of the diagnosis so that the patterns and frequency of hypomanic and depressive symptoms can be observed.
- Monitoring the moods of the patient will help in charting out the right treatment plan according to the needs and severity of the condition.
Treating cyclothymic disorder
Though the symptoms may be milder than bipolar disorder, a proper treatment plan is mandatory to get rid of the disease. Ignoring them will only make things worse. The right combination is to administer psychotherapies and medications. There is no solo treatment that can help a person with cyclothymic disorder get back to normal self.
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Medication: No specific medicine has been approved to treat cyclothymic disorder. However, to support psychotherapies and ease the symptoms, doctors can prescribe medicines according to the need. Mood stabilizers like lithium are prescribed to tackle mood changes in an individual. Antidepressants are recommended only when it is specially required because the depressive symptoms are not major.
Psychotherapies: Psychotherapies can help a patient with cyclothymic disorder to a considerable extent. A psycho-educational approach helps understand the unpredictable mood swings and cope better at times of crisis. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and interpersonal social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) are administered to people with the disorder. IPSRT helps a patient manage his/her relationships with friends and family and follow a healthy lifestyle.
Apart from psychotherapies, some self-help techniques can also help a person cope with the problem. Moreover, prominent rehabilitation centers also provide access to support groups that help share feelings and experiences of sufferers that can act as motivation for others as well.
Finding right treatment plan
There is no exclusive treatment for the disorder. A combination of psychotherapies and medications can help a person embrace a better life. Moods are extremely unpredictable in cyclothymic disorder. As a result, the doctor prescribes the treatment plan accordingly. These treatments can be availed at an inpatient or an outpatient treatment center, depending on the severity of the condition and the preference of the patient.
An inpatient treatment program offers round-the-clock care to a patient under well-trained nurses and doctors who monitor the mood swings as well as response to the given treatment on a continuous basis. On the other hand, an outpatient treatment program provides the liberty to a patient to return home and visit the therapists on designated days till the treatment ends. It is always recommended to enroll in an inpatient facility to receive 24/7 care, especially for people with adverse symptoms. Moreover, it is important to monitor the fluctuation of the hypomanic symptoms as well as the depressive episodes so that the disorder does not transform into a full-blown bipolar disorder.
Treatment services are also available in luxury and executive facilities that provide a patient some add-ons to make his/her stay comfortable. Luxury facilities provide state-of-the-art
amenities like comfortable and extravagant stays, gourmet foods, spas, gyms, golf course, etc. Executive facilities can help professionals who need access to mobiles, laptops and internet to carry out their professional commitments while seeking treatments.
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Treatment, today, is not traditional anymore. It is customized and tailored according to the needs of an individual. Since symptoms of cyclothymic disorder can vary from person to person, the treatment plan is devised according to an individual’s needs and the severity of the condition. Patients can also choose their treatment rehab on the basis of location, facilities provided, financial status or comfort.
But, all this is possible to avail, only when one desires to seek treatment. Cyclothymic disorder can be deceptive. So, it is very important to seek professional help if a person or his/her loved one notices any irregularity in the mood pattern. If unnoticed or ignored, the risks of developing bipolar disorder increases.
If your or your loved one is unable to understand the instability of your moods, consult our mental health specialists immediately. The Recover Mental Health has the expertise in handling those mental health conditions that can be invariably confusing. Our experts can connect you to the best diagnostic and treatment facilities that specialize in treating this disorder. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 593-2339 or chat online to know more about the treatment process. Remember, we can help you only when you choose to help yourself.