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Category: Bipolar Disorder

What is Cyclothymic Disorder? (Cyclothymic Disorder vs Bipolar)

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “An estimated 4.4% of U.S. adults experience bipolar disorder at some time in their lives.” Furthermore, there are different types of bipolar disorders: cyclothymic disorder, bipolar I, and bipolar II. The differences between cyclothymic disorder vs. bipolar I and II make it more challenging to identify.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health offers treatment for all types of bipolar disorder as well as several other mental health disorders. Visit our admissions page today to get started.

What Is Cyclothymic Disorder?

Cyclothymic disorder (cyclothymia) is a rare form of bipolar disorder with mixed episodes of hypomania and depression.

Although cyclothymia is a type of bipolar disorder, it is much milder than other types of the disorder. It’s characterized by noticeable up-and-down shifts from your baseline mood.

Everyone has ups and downs in life. Stress and challenging life events can trigger periods of low energy that differ from your baseline mood. Conversely, positive life changes can boost your mood for a period of time.

However, if you have cyclothymic disorder, your mood will shift seemingly out of nowhere. And you’ll only experience a stable, baseline mood for a short time between cycles of low and high moods. These frequent shifts in mood can create significant challenges in your life.

What Are the Symptoms of Cyclothymia?

Symptoms of cyclothymia include hypomanic and depressive symptoms.

People with cyclothymic disorder experience changes in mood that deviate up and down from their baseline. Hypomania occurs during the “ups” whereas depression characterizes the “downs.” Furthermore, you’ll have brief periods of your baseline mood between these episodes.

Hypomanic Symptoms

Hypomanic symptoms of cyclothymia include the following:

  • Exaggerated feeling of happiness
  • Euphoria
  • Restlessness
  • Needing less sleep than usual
  • Impulsive and reckless behaviors
  • Elevated self-esteem
  • Agitation and aggression
  • More talkative than usual
  • Increased motivation and energy

Depressive Symptoms

Depressive symptoms of cyclothymia include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Low levels of energy
  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Irritability
  • Changes in weight
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Cyclothymic Disorder Vs. Bipolar I & II (What Are the Differences?)

There are significant differences between cyclothymic disorder vs. bipolar I and II.

The main differences between cyclothymia and bipolar I & II are the severity of symptoms and the cycles of shifting moods. Mood shifts among those with bipolar I or bipolar II last for days or even weeks.

However, among those with cyclothymia, changes in mood are much more rapid—sometimes going from low to high within a single day.

In addition, mood swings from cyclothymic disorder vs bipolar I and II occur more often. In fact, with cyclothymia, you’ll likely have more days with symptoms than without.

Furthermore, because cyclothymia is milder than other types of bipolar disorder, many people don’t get treatment for their symptoms. Oftentimes, people with this disorder are considered “moody” by others.

By contrast, symptoms of bipolar I and II can be severe, leading to significant mood swings, insomnia, hallucinations, delusions, and suicidality.

In summation, cyclothymic disorder causes subtle but noticeable shifts in mood, resulting in rapid cycles that occur frequently. Conversely, bipolar I & bipolar II disorders cause longer-lasting mood changes with more severe symptoms. However, unlike cyclothymia, people with bipolar I and II have more days at their baseline mood than not.

Dual-Diagnosis Disorders: Cyclothymia & Addiction

Having cyclothymia—or any mental health disorder—puts you at a higher risk of developing a co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD).

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “7.7 million adults have co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.” Mental health disorders and addiction have similar causes and risk factors, which is why these disorders tend to overlap. However, it can be difficult to tell which disorder occurred first.

A person with cyclothymia, for instance, might abuse drugs or alcohol to self-medicate for their mood shifts. On the other hand, long-term substance abuse can alter the way your brain functions—leading to mental health disorders.

If you have cyclothymia with a co-occurring addiction, you need dual-diagnosis treatment to address both disorders at the same time.

How Is Cyclothymic Disorder Treated?

Cyclothymic disorder is treated with psychotherapy, medication, and holistic approaches.

The most effective way to treat cyclothymic disorder is with a comprehensive treatment plan addressing multiple areas of health and well-being. That is why North Atlanta Behavioral Health offers a range of services and outpatient levels of care to meet your treatment needs.

Treatment plans for cyclothymia include the following:

  • Psychotherapy: Individual, group, and family therapy are all effective ways of treating cyclothymic disorder. During therapy, you’ll learn healthy ways to cope with stressors and symptoms.
  • Medications: Psychiatric prescription drugs help to stabilize your mood when you have cyclothymia. Typically, mood stabilizers work better than antidepressants, even for depressive symptoms of cyclothymia.
  • Holistic Approaches: It’s critical to find multiple pathways through holistic approaches to health and well-being. This is because cyclothymia affects your physical, emotional, and spiritual health as well as your mental health.

Cyclothymic Disorder and Bipolar Treatment in Atlanta, GA

Treatment programs for cyclothymic disorder vs bipolar I and II are similar and include comprehensive approaches. If you have cyclothymia or other types of bipolar disorder, we can help you achieve mental health and well-being. North Atlanta Behavioral Health provides outpatient mental health treatment in Atlanta, Georgia.

Contact us today to begin treatment for cyclothymia and bipolar disorder.

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What is the Difference Between Bipolar 1 and 2?

The main difference between bipolar 1 and 2 is the severity and duration of manic symptoms. Both disorders can negatively impact your quality of life when left untreated. However, understanding the differences can help you get effective treatment for your symptoms.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), 2.8% of US adults have bipolar disorder. North Atlanta Behavioral Health offers outpatient mental health treatment for bipolar and other mental health disorders. Visit our admissions page today to get started.

The Differences Between Bipolar 1 and 2 (Symptoms + Duration)

Bipolar 1 and 2 differ primarily in the severity as well as the duration of manic symptoms.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by phases of manic and depressive symptoms:

  • Manic symptoms make you feel energized, alert, self-important, and impulsive.
  • Depressive symptoms make you feel sluggish, tired, hopeless, and irritable.

Whether you have bipolar 1 or 2—or a rare, third type called “cyclothymic disorder“—depends on how manic vs depressive cycles present themselves. However, when diagnosing bipolar 1 versus bipolar 2, a psychiatrist will consider the way you experience mania.

Manic Symptoms

Manic symptoms of both bipolar 1 and 2 include the following:

  • Abnormally upbeat and elated
  • High levels of energy
  • Increased activity
  • Inflated sense of self-importance
  • Exaggerated self-confidence
  • Racing thoughts
  • Rapid or pressured speech
  • Easily distracted
  • Impulsive and poor decision-making
  • Decreased need for sleep

With bipolar 1 disorder, you’ll have more severe symptoms of mania. But, if you have bipolar 2, you’ll have a less severe form of mania called “hypomania.”

Hypomania vs Mania (What Is the Difference?)

Hypomania is the type of mania experienced by those with bipolar 2 disorder.

It is less severe than the manic cycle of bipolar 1 disorder. Therefore, if you have bipolar 2, you’ll have hypomania instead of full mania.

While hypomania results in a noticeable change in mood and energy, your behaviors won’t be as out of control. In other words, you and those around you will notice a change, but it won’t disrupt your relationships, job, or schooling. And you won’t engage in reckless behavior leading to negative long-term consequences.

However, manic symptoms from bipolar 1 can lead to significant problems in life. You could even struggle with psychosis—or a loss of touch with reality. Many people with bipolar 1 have delusions of grandeur while some have hallucinations during their manic phase.

Duration of Symptoms

Another defining characteristic of bipolar 1 and 2 is the duration of symptoms.

The manic symptoms of bipolar 1 disorder last at least one week for a diagnosis. However, hypomanic symptoms of bipolar 2 disorder last at least 4 days for a diagnosis.

Furthermore, a manic or hypomanic phase can last several weeks or even months.

Depressive Symptoms

Depressive symptoms also appear differently among those with bipolar 1 and 2.

If you have bipolar 1 disorder, you might not even have a depressive phase. Instead, your mood typically shifts from manic to hypomanic states. Still, some people with bipolar 1 do have depressive symptoms, but it is not a requirement for a diagnosis.

On the other hand, if you have bipolar 2 disorder, you’ll have phases of depression between hypomanic episodes. Depressive symptoms during bipolar 2 disorder are similar to those of major depressive disorder (MDD). In addition, at least one depressive episode mixed with at least one hypomanic episode is a requirement for getting a bipolar 2 diagnosis.

Impact of Symptoms on Everyday Life

The differences between bipolar 1 and 2 also relate to how your symptoms impact your everyday life.

The manic symptoms of bipolar 1 disorder can lead to severe dysfunction in your everyday life. You could engage in impulsive and reckless behaviors that cause long-term harm. For example, you might shop excessively—spending all of your savings and cash on hand or racking up massive amounts of credit card debt within a few days.

In addition, manic symptoms can lead to psychosis—meaning that you lose touch with reality. This can lead to erratic behavior and a 1013 involuntary admission to a psychiatric unit.

However, bipolar 2 disorder can also impact your daily life. While hypomanic states aren’t as disruptive and most people function well throughout them, the depressive states of bipolar 2 disorder can be debilitating. For instance, your performance at work and interest in relationships with loved ones can diminish.

Depressive symptoms can also be life-threatening. Suicidal thoughts and actions can occur during a depressive phase of bipolar 2 disorder.

How Are Bipolar 1 and 2 Treated?

While each person’s treatment plan will differ, both types of bipolar disorders are treated with a combination of medications, therapy, and holistic approaches.

Psychiatric medications called mood stabilizers help with manic and hypomanic states characteristic of both disorders. These medications help keep your mood even so you can engage in treatment and function in daily life.

Furthermore, antipsychotic medications reduce psychosis and can also act as mood stabilizers for those with bipolar 1 disorder.

With bipolar 2 disorder, however, you might also need an antidepressant for depressive cycles. Still, mood stabilizers alone might work to even out both hypomanic and depressive phases. However, medications work differently for everyone, so it’s best to talk to your psychiatrist about adding an antidepressant if your depressive states are severe.

Therapy—whether as an individual, in a group, or with your family—is critical to treating bipolar 1 and 2. Oftentimes, medications only help so much. Therefore, you still need to address the psychological symptoms that occur along with bipolar disorders.

Lastly, holistic therapies can add additional coping skills to treat bipolar 1 and 2. These approaches can include red light therapy, yoga, mindfulness, and nutritional counseling.

Bipolar 1 and 2 Treatment in Atlanta, GA

Bipolar disorders differ among three types—bipolar 1, bipolar 2, and cyclothymic disorder. However, bipolar 1 and 2 are the most common and severe types. At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we offer outpatient treatment programs for all types of bipolar disorders.

Contact us today to begin bipolar disorder treatment in Atlanta, Georgia.

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