What is Cyclothymia and how do we treat it? Mental Health with Kati Morton

Author: Kati Morton

Hey, everybody. Today, we’re gonna talk about cyclothymia. What is this weird word? What does it mean? So like I said, today, we’re gonna talk about cyclothymia. What is cyclothymia? Why is that such a strange word? Well, once I get talking to you about it, you’ll understand why it sounds like “cycle”, “cyclothymia” . So, cyclothymia falls under the bipolar disorder— or falls into the bipolar-disorder bucket.

I like a bucket. That sounds better. So it falls into that category. And I’ve heard from many of you that you struggle with this, and you wanted me to talk about it a little bit more. So what I’m going to go over today is number one, what is cyclothymia? How do we diagnose it? And then, what are the medication and treatment options that we have? And that’s it. We get in and get out.

Are you ready? Are you with me? Let’s get started. Cyclothymia must occur for at least two years in adults, one year in children and adolescents. So, yes, if you’re an adolescent, you can still be diagnosed with cyclothymia. Now, the reason that they call it cyclothymia—if you remember my old video where I talked about bipolar disorder on a whiteboard like a teacher, like follow along as I tell you why this is called this, that will make it— if you haven’t watched that, watch that, ’cause that will make this so much more clear. So, cyclothymia, there must have been numerous periods of hypomanic episodes, meeting the criteria for hypomania. If you wonder what hypomania is, come watch my bipolar II video, where I explain what that is. So here is hypomania.

We’re on that whiteboard again. So hypomania is here; mania will be up here. Then, we’re kind of in the middle, like “Hey, just hanging out”, and then, we get into kind of dysthymia. I have a video about that as well.

What is Cyclothymia and how do we treat it? Mental Health with Kati Morton

I have a lot of videos. If you have questions, just search the word I’m talking about, Kati Morton, and it will probably come up. So I have a video about dysthymia, and then down here on the bottom, we have a major depressive episode, which I also explain in my bipolar II video.

So, with cyclothymia, we don’t reach mania: we only reach hypomania. So, we’ve hit it, but we don’t go above. We just stay here. And then depression is all the way down here, MDD. We don’t hit that either. We hit dysthymia, that low-grade depression that can last for a long time, hence, why it says this must last for at least two years. Got it? So we fall in this kind of middle yet still uncomfortable realm of highs and lows. Never major, major highs or major, major lows, we kind of flow in and out.

And that’s also why this goes undiagnosed all the time, because for a lot of people, it’s “somewhat” manageable. And I use quotes because it’s still not good, but we can kind of tolerate it, okay? So that’s how we diagnose it. I think it’s important to note you don’t meet the criteria for MDD but you meet the full criteria for hypomania, okay? So we’re going from hypomania to dysthymia. And I want to also note, and I’m just reading from what I wrote down here, that if you also meet the criteria for borderline personality disorder, that’s fine. You can have both. They can happen simultaneously. And this is often comorbid, meaning happening at the same time, with drug and alcohol abuse, because like I said, people “tolerate” it okay. They do “okay”, but they usually self-medicate.

And so it’s often that we find people with cyclothymia struggle also with alcohol and drug abuse, okay? So that’s what it is. That’s how long it has to last. And that’s kind of what it feels like. What are our options? So, okay, we have this. So, as all bipolar-disorder things, I’ve talked about medication. [hissing], I know.

I already feel your anger and frustation that you’ll probably leave in the comments about, like, “Why do you always say medication?” Medication can be so incredibly helpful. It’s not for everybody, but it’s definitely something for people who struggle with this can be really, really beneficial. And the medications that they recommend— obviously, I’m not a doctor.

You have to see a doctor for this. But they recommend mood stabilizers. Wow, say that five times fast. Mood stabilizers or antipsychotic medication.

Now, the reason that they give you these is because obviously, we’re floating in between. We’re all over. We feel up and down and all around. And mood stabilizers does just that; it works to stabilize our mood.

And antipsychotic medications also help with that as well, and so talk to your doctor if medication is something that you’re looking into. And also, they recommend psychotherapy. That’s me. Hey. We do therapy. And CBT, they find, to be the best because there are a lot of behavioral things that you can do to help yourself better manage the symptoms.

They obviously recommend psychotherapy and medication together. It’s like, with our powers combined, we can rule the world. You remember like heart—no one wanted to heart—but it was like water, air— Anyway, those are best combined. So, see a therapist, and see a psychiatrist so you can get all the help you need. And like I said, CBT is the best. They also recommend—and this is something I don’t do, so don’t ask me to do a video on it ’cause this isn’t a type of therapy I do.

But it’s called IPSRT, interpersonal and social rhythm therapy. They say this helps us get into a more-consistent schedule, like a rhythm, of sleep, wake, eating, et cetera. And that helps better manage your symptoms as well. I hope you found this helpful. And that’s what cyclothymia is. And if you haven’t checked out my other videos about bipolar disorder, that will definitely help this make even more sense. You’ll have an even-bigger picture of what’s going on. And don’t forget to subscribe to this video.

And if you like these kinds of structured, what-is-it, how-can-we-help-ourselves, give us a thumbs up. And leave your comments below. If you have experience with this— we’re a community.

We work together. We share our comments and our experiences. And that’s wonderful and helpful and amazing. And I will see y’all next time. —Cut Go right here with your hands. How far is the box? I actually have to think about it.

It’s actually very difficult. [laughs] And I don’t want to mess up my hair. That’s why the pat goes on top, so you have to think about it again to — [inaudible] No, no, it’s too much. I gotta focus on cyclothymia. Stop trying to trick me. [whispers] tricky, tricky.

Subtitles by the Amara.org community.

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