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What is Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic Disorder, like Dysthymic Disorder, is a chronic disorder of at least 2 years’ duration in which the afflicted person has multiple episodes of hypo- mania interspersed with mild depressive periods. The cycles in cyclothymic patients tend to be neither as ro- bust nor as long as they are in bipolar illness. How- ever, the changes in cycles are often abrupt and dis- ruptive. If the patient ever has a full manic episode or meets criteria for Major Depression along with hypo- manic episodes, the patient would then have an estab- lished bipolar I or II disorder. Cyclothymic Disorder appears to be on a spectrum with bipolar illness. In most cyclothymic patients, the disorder begins gradually in adolescence or early adulthood. Children who go on to be cyclothymic are sometimes described as irritable and moody. As one can imagine, the hy pomanic and depressive periods in cyclothymic disor- der may significantly interfere with interpersonal re- lationships, careers, and general well-being. During hypomanic episodes, the patient’s judgment may be somewhat impaired and irritability may be a signifi- cant problem. On the other hand, the patient may be very productive during the hypomania and achieve significant success in their field. The depressive epi- sodes tend to be disruptive but not disabling. Cyclothymic Disorder tends to be lifelong, and may evolve into bipolar disorder. In some surveys, from 30 to 45% of cyclothymic patients will eventu- ally meet criteria for bipolar disorder

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